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Title: Collection of Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences
Author: Daughters of the American Revolution. Nebraska
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Collection of Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences" ***

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[Illustration: MRS. LAURA B. POUND

Second and Sixth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the
American Revolution. 1896-1897, 1901-1902]










This Book of Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences is issued by the Daughters
of the American Revolution of Nebraska, and dedicated to the daring,
courageous, and intrepid men and women--the advance guard of our
progress--who, carrying the torch of civilization, had a vision of the
possibilities which now have become realities.

To those who answered the call of the unknown we owe the duty of
preserving the record of their adventures upon the vast prairies of
"Nebraska the Mother of States."

    "In her horizons, limitless and vast
    Her plains that storm the senses like the sea."

Reminiscence, recollection, personal experience--simple, true
stories--this is the foundation of History.

Rapidly the pioneer story-tellers are passing beyond recall, and the
real story of the beginning of our great commonwealth must be told now.

The memories of those pioneers, of their deeds of self-sacrifice and
devotion, of their ideals which are our inheritance, will inculcate
patriotism in the children of the future; for they should realize the
courage that subdued the wilderness. And "lest we forget," the heritage
of this past is a sacred trust to the Daughters of the American
Revolution of Nebraska.

The invaluable assistance of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and
the members of this Book Committee, Mrs. C. S. Paine and Mrs. D. S.
Dalby, is most gratefully acknowledged.

                                                LULA CORRELL PERRY
                                                 (Mrs. Warren Perry)



  EARLY EXPERIENCES IN ADAMS COUNTY                             18

  FRONTIER TOWNS                                                22

  HISTORICAL SKETCH OF BOX BUTTE COUNTY                         25

  A BROKEN AXLE                                                 27

  A PIONEER NEBRASKA TEACHER                                    30

  EXPERIENCES OF A PIONEER WOMAN                                32

  RECOLLECTIONS OF WEEPING WATER                                36

  INCIDENTS AT PLATTSMOUTH                                      41

  FIRST THINGS IN CLAY COUNTY                                   43

  REMINISCENCES OF CUSTER COUNTY                                46

  AN EXPERIENCE                                                 50

  LEGEND OF CROW BUTTE                                          51

  LIFE ON THE FRONTIER                                          54

  PLUM CREEK (LEXINGTON)                                        57

  EARLY RECOLLECTIONS                                           62


  EARLY DAYS IN DAWSON COUNTY                                   67

  PIONEER JUSTICE                                               72

  A GOOD INDIAN                                                 74

  FROM MISSOURI TO DAWSON COUNTY                                75

  THE ERICKSON FAMILY                                           76

  THE BEGINNINGS OF FREMONT                                     78

  A GRASSHOPPER STORY                                           82

  EARLY DAYS IN FREMONT                                         84

  PIONEER WOMEN OF OMAHA                                        90

  A PIONEER FAMILY                                              93

  THE BADGER FAMILY                                             97


  PIONEERING IN FILLMORE COUNTY                                107

  FILLMORE COUNTY IN THE SEVENTIES                             109

  EARLY DAYS IN NEBRASKA                                       111

  REMINISCENCES OF GAGE COUNTY                                 112


  EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OF GAGE COUNTY                           127

  BIOGRAPHY OF FORD LEWIS                                      129

  A BUFFALO HUNT                                               131

  A GRASSHOPPER RAID                                           133

  EARLY DAYS IN PAWNEE COUNTY                                  135

  EARLY EVENTS IN JEFFERSON COUNTY                             137



  EXPERIENCES ON THE FRONTIER                                  152

  LOOKING BACKWARD                                             155

  THE EASTER STORM OF 1873                                     158

  BEGINNINGS OF FAIRBURY                                       161

  EARLY EXPERIENCES IN NEBRASKA                                163

  PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS                                       166

  _Statement by Mrs. C. F. Steele_                             168
  _Statement by George W. Hansen_                              169

  EARLY DAYS IN JEFFERSON COUNTY                               175

  LOCATION OF THE CAPITAL AT LINCOLN                           176

  AN INCIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF LINCOLN                        182

  LINCOLN IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES                               184

  A PIONEER BABY SHOW                                          186

    CALHOUN                                                    187

  EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY                              190

  GREY EAGLE, PAWNEE CHIEF                                     194

  LOVERS' LEAP (POEM)                                          196

  EARLY INDIAN HISTORY                                         198

  THE BLIZZARD OF 1888                                         203

  AN ACROSTIC                                                  204

  EARLY DAYS IN NANCE COUNTY                                   206

  THE PAWNEE CHIEF'S FAREWELL (POEM)                           208

  MY TRIP WEST IN 1861                                         211

  STIRRING EVENTS ALONG THE LITTLE BLUE                        214

  MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT                                         219

    WESTERN ESTATE                                             235


  SOME PERSONAL INCIDENTS                                      242

  A BUFFALO HUNT                                               244

  PIONEER LIFE                                                 246

  EARLY DAYS IN POLK COUNTY                                    248

  PERSONAL REMINISCENCES                                       252

  TWO SEWARD COUNTY CELEBRATIONS                               254

  SEWARD COUNTY REMINISCENCES                                  255

  PIONEERING                                                   263

  EARLY DAYS IN STANTON COUNTY                                 266

  FRED E. ROPER, PIONEER                                       268

  THE LURE OF THE PRAIRIES                                     272

  SUFFRAGE IN NEBRASKA                                         275
  _Statement by Mrs. Gertrude M. McDowell_                     275
  _Statement by Lucy L. Correll_                               277

  AN INDIAN RAID                                               279

  REMINISCENCES                                                281

  REMINISCENCES OF FORT CALHOUN                                284

  REMINISCENCES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY                           286


  REMINISCENCES OF DE SOTO                                     289

  REMINISCENCES                                                290

  FORT CALHOUN IN THE LATE FIFTIES                             293

  SOME ITEMS FROM WASHINGTON COUNTY                            295

  COUNTY-SEAT OF WASHINGTON COUNTY                             298

  THE STORY OF THE TOWN OF FONTENELLE                          299

  THOMAS WILKINSON AND FAMILY                                  305

  NIKUMI                                                       307

  THE HEROINE OF THE JULES SLADE TRAGEDY                       322




  MRS. LAURA B. POUND                               _Frontispiece_



  MRS. ANGIE F. NEWMAN                                          22

  KEARNEY, NEBRASKA                                             27

  MRS. ANDREW K. GAULT                                          50


  MRS. CHARLOTTE F. PALMER                                      90

  MRS. FRANCES AVERY HAGGARD                                   127


  MRS. ELIZABETH C. LANGWORTHY                                 155

  MRS. CHARLES B. LETTON                                       168


  MRS. OREAL S. WARD                                           203


  MRS. CHARLES OLIVER NORTON                                   252


  MRS. WARREN PERRY                                            305


  MRS. CHARLES H. AULL                                         333

  TRAIL, RIVERSIDE PARK, OMAHA                                 337




Adams county is named for the first time, in an act of the territorial
legislature approved February 16, 1867, when the south bank of the
Platte river was made its northern boundary. There were no settlers here
at that time although several persons who are mentioned later herein had
established trapping camps within what are now its boundaries. In 1871
it was declared a county by executive proclamation and its present
limits defined as, in short, consisting of government ranges, 9, 10, 11,
and 12 west of the sixth principal meridian, and townships 5, 6, 7, and
8, north of the base line, which corresponds with the south line of the

Mortimer N. Kress, familiarly known to the early settlers as "Wild
Bill," Marion Jerome Fouts, also known as "California Joe," and James
Bainter had made hunting and trapping camps all the way along the Little
Blue river, prior to this time. This stream flows through the south part
of the county and has its source just west of its western boundary in
Kearney county. James Bainter filed on a tract just across its eastern
line in Clay county as his homestead, and so disappears in the history
of Adams county. Mortimer N. Kress is still living and now has his home
in Hastings, a hale, hearty man of seventy-five years and respected by
all. Marion J. Fouts, about seventy years of age, still lives on the
homestead he selected in that early day and is a respected, prominent
man in that locality.

Gordon H. Edgerton, now a resident and prominent business man of
Hastings, when a young man, in 1866, was engaged in freighting across
the plains, over the Oregon trail that entered the county where the
Little Blue crosses its eastern boundary and continued in a
northwesterly direction, leaving its western line a few miles west and a
little north of where Kenesaw now stands, and so is familiar with its
early history. There has already been some who have questioned the
authenticity of the story of an Indian massacre having taken place
where this trail crosses Thirty-two Mile creek, so named because it was
at this point about thirty-two miles east of Fort Kearny. This massacre
took place about the year 1867, and Mr. Edgerton says that it was
universally believed at the time he was passing back and forth along
this trail. He distinctly remembers an old threshing machine that stood
at that place for a long time and that was left there by some of the
members of the party that were killed. The writer of this sketch who
came to the county in 1874, was shown a mound at this place, near the
bank of the creek, which he was told was the heaped up mound of the
grave where the victims were buried, and the story was not questioned so
far as he ever heard until recent years. Certainly those who lived near
the locality at that early day did not question it. This massacre took
place very near the locality where Captain Fremont encamped, the night
of June 25, 1842, as related in the history of his expedition and was
about five or six miles south and a little west of Hastings. I well
remember the appearance of this trail. It consisted of a number of
deeply cut wagon tracks, nearly parallel with each other, but which
would converge to one track where the surface was difficult or where
there was a crossing to be made over a rough place or stream. The
constant tramping of the teams would pulverize the soil and the high
winds would blow out the dust, or if on sloping ground, the water from
heavy rains would wash it out until the track became so deep that a new
one would be followed because the axles of the wagons would drag on the
ground. It was on this trail a few miles west of what is now the site of
Kenesaw, that a lone grave was discovered by the first settlers in the
country, and a story is told of how it came to be there. About midway
from where the trail leaves the Little Blue to the military post at Fort
Kearny on the Platte river a man with a vision of many dollars to be
made from the people going west to the gold-fields over this trail, dug
a well about one hundred feet deep for the purpose of selling water to
the travelers and freighters. Some time later he was killed by the
Indians and the well was poisoned by them. A man by the name of Haile
camped here a few days later and he and his wife used the water for
cooking and drinking. Both were taken sick and the wife died, but he
recovered. He took the boards of his wagon box and made her a coffin
and buried her near the trail. Some time afterwards he returned and
erected a headstone over her grave which was a few years since still
standing and perhaps is to this day, the monument of a true man to his
love for his wife and to her memory.

The first homestead was taken in the county by Francis M. Luey, March 5,
1870, though there were others taken the same day. The facts as I get
them direct from Mr. Kress are that he took his team and wagon, and he
and three other men went to Beatrice, where the government land office
was located, to make their entries. When they arrived at the office,
with his characteristic generosity he said: "Boys, step up and take your
choice; any of it is good enough for me." Luey was the first to make his
entry, and he was followed by the other three. Francis M. Luey took the
southwest quarter of section twelve; Mortimer N. Kress selected the
northeast quarter of section thirteen; Marion Jerome Fouts, the
southeast quarter of eleven; and the fourth person, John Smith, filed on
the southwest quarter of eleven, all in township five north and range
eleven west of the sixth principal meridian. Smith relinquished his
claim later and never made final proof, so his name does not appear on
the records of the county as having made this entry. The others settled
and made improvements on their lands. Mortimer N. Kress built a sod
house that spring, and later in the summer, a hewed log house, and these
were the first buildings in the county. So Kress and Fouts, two old
comrades and trappers, settled down together, and are still citizens of
the county. Other settlers rapidly began to make entry in the
neighborhood, and soon there were enough to be called together in the
first religious service. The first sermon was preached in Mr. Kress'
hewed log house by Rev. J. W. Warwick in the fall of 1871.

The first marriage in the county was solemnized in 1872 between Roderick
Lomas or Loomis and "Lila" or Eliza Warwick, the ceremony being
performed by the bride's father, Rev. J. W. Warwick. Prior to this,
however, on October 18, 1871, Eben Wright and Susan Gates, a young
couple who had settled in the county, were taken by Mr. Kress in his
two-horse farm wagon to Grand Island, where they were married by the
probate judge.

The first deaths that occurred in the county were of two young men who
came into the new settlement to make homes for themselves in 1870,
selected their claims and went to work, and a few days later were
killed in their camp at night. It was believed that a disreputable
character who came along with a small herd of horses committed the
murder, but no one knew what the motive was. He was arrested and his
name given as Jake Haynes, but as no positive proof could be obtained he
was cleared at the preliminary examination, and left the country. A
story became current a short time afterward that he was hanged in Kansas
for stealing a mule.

The first murder that occurred in the county that was proven was that of
Henry Stutzman, who was killed by William John McElroy, February 8,
1879, about four miles south of Hastings. He was arrested a few hours
afterward, and on his trial was convicted and sent to the penitentiary.

The first child born in the county was born to Francis M. Luey and wife
in the spring of 1871. These parents were the first married couple to
settle in this county. The child lived only a short time and was buried
near the home, there being no graveyard yet established. A few years ago
the K. C. & O. R. R. in grading its roadbed through that farm disturbed
the grave and uncovered its bones.

In the spring and summer of 1870 Mr. Kress broke about fifty acres of
prairie on his claim and this constituted the first improvement of that
nature in the county.

J. R. Carter and wife settled in this neighborhood about 1870, and the
two young men, mentioned above as having been murdered, stopped at their
house over night, their first visitors. It was a disputed point for a
long time whether Mrs. Carter, Mrs. W. S. Moote, or Mrs. Francis M. Luey
was the first white woman to settle permanently in the county; but Mr.
Kress is positive that the last named was the first and is entitled to
that distinction. Mrs. Moote, with her husband, came next and camped on
their claim, then both left and made their entries of the land. In the
meantime, before the return of the Mootes, Mr. and Mrs. Carter made
permanent settlement on their land, so the honors were pretty evenly

The first white settler in the county to die a natural death and receive
Christian burial was William H. Akers, who had taken a homestead in
section 10-5-9. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. J. W.

In the summer of 1871 a colony of settlers from Michigan settled on
land on which the townsite of Juniata was afterward located, and
October 1, 1871, the first deed that was placed on record in the county
was executed by John and Margaret Stark to Col. Charles P. Morse before
P. F. Barr, a notary public at Crete, Nebraska, and was filed for record
March 9, 1872, and recorded on page 1, volume 1, of deed records of
Adams county. The grantee was general superintendent of the Burlington &
Missouri River Railroad Company which was then approaching the eastern
edge of the county, and opened its first office at Hastings in April,
1873, with agent Horace S. Wiggins in charge. Mr. Wiggins is now a
well-known public accountant and insurance actuary residing in Lincoln.
The land conveyed by this deed and some other tracts for which deeds
were soon after executed was in section 12, township 7, range 11, and on
which the town of Juniata was platted. The Stark patent was dated June
5, 1872, and signed by U. S. Grant as president. The town plat was filed
for record March 9, 1872.

The first church organized in the county was by Rev. John F. Clarkson,
chaplain of a colony of English Congregationalists who settled near the
present location of Hastings in 1871. He preached the first sermon while
they were still camped in their covered wagons at a point near the
present intersection of Second street and Burlington avenue, the first
Sunday after their arrival. A short time afterward, in a sod house on
the claim of John G. Moore, at or near the present site of the Lepin
hotel, the church was organized with nine members uniting by letter, and
a few Sundays later four more by confession of their faith. This data I
have from Peter Fowlie and S. B. Binfield, two of the persons composing
the first organization.

The first Sunday school organized in the county was organized in a small
residence then under construction on lot 3 in block 4 of Moore's
addition to Hastings. The frame was up, the roof on, siding and floor in
place, but that was all. Nail kegs and plank formed the seats, and a
store box the desk. The building still stands and constitutes the main
part of the present residence of my family at 219 North Burlington
avenue. It was a union school and was the nucleus of the present
Presbyterian and Congregational Sunday schools. I am not able to give
the date of its organization but it was probably in the winter of
1872-73. I got this information from Mr. A. L. Wigton, who was
influential in bringing about the organization and was its first

The first school in the county was opened about a mile south of Juniata
early in 1872, by Miss Emma Leonard, and that fall Miss Lizzie Scott was
employed to teach one in Juniata. So rapidly did the county settle that
by October 1, 1873, thirty-eight school districts were reported

The acting governor, W. H. James, on November 7, 1871, ordered the
organization of the county for political and judicial purposes, and
fixed the day of the first election to be held, on December 12
following. Twenty-nine votes were cast and the following persons were
elected as county officers:

    Clerk, Russell D. Babcock.
    Treasurer, John S. Chandler.
    Sheriff, Isaac W. Stark.
    Probate Judge, Titus Babcock.
    Surveyor, George Henderson.
    Superintendent of Schools, Adna H. Bowen.
    Coroner, Isaiah Sluyter.
    Assessor, William M. Camp.
    County Commissioners: Samuel L. Brass, Edwin M. Allen, and
    Wellington W. Selleck.

The first assessment of personal property produced a tax of $5,500, on
an assessed valuation of $20,003, and the total valuation of personal
and real property amounted to $957,183, mostly on railroad lands of
which the Burlington road was found to own 105,423 acres and the Union
Pacific, 72,207. Very few of the settlers had at that time made final
proof. This assessment was made in the spring of 1872.

The first building for county uses was ordered constructed on January
17, 1872, and was 16x20 feet on the ground with an eight-foot story,
shingle roof, four windows and one door, matched floor, and ceiled
overhead with building paper. The county commissioners were to furnish
all material except the door and windows and the contract for the work
was let to Joseph Stuhl for $30.00. S. L. Brass was to superintend the
construction, and the building was to be ready for occupancy in ten

The salary of the county clerk was fixed by the board at $300, that of
the probate judge at $75 for the year.

It is claimed that the law making every section line a county road, in
the state of Nebraska, originated with this board in a resolution passed
by it, requesting their representatives in the senate and house of the
legislature then in session to introduce a bill to that effect and work
for its passage. Their work must have been effective for we find that in
July following, the Burlington railroad company asked damages by reason
of loss sustained through the act of the legislature taking about eight
acres of each section of their land, for these public roads.

The first poorhouse was built in the fall of 1872. It was 16x24 feet,
one and one-half stories high, and was constructed by Ira G. Dillon for
$1,400, and Peter Fowlie was appointed poormaster at a salary of $25 per
month. And on November 1 of that year he reported six poor persons as
charges on the county, but his administration must have been effective
for on December 5, following, he reported none then in his charge.

The first agricultural society was organized at Kingston and the first
agricultural fair of which there is any record was held October 11 and
12, 1873. The fair grounds were on the southeast corner of the northwest
quarter of section 32-5-9 on land owned by G. H. Edgerton, and quite a
creditable list of premiums were awarded.

The first Grand Army post was organized at Hastings under a charter
issued May 13, 1878, and T. D. Scofield was elected commander.

The first newspaper published in the county was the _Adams County
Gazette_, issued at Juniata by R. D. and C. C. Babcock in January, 1872.
This was soon followed by the _Hastings Journal_ published by M. K.
Lewis and A. L. Wigton. These were in time consolidated and in January,
1880, the first daily was issued by A. L. and J. W. Wigton and called
the _Daily Gazette-Journal_.



I was a young business man in Michigan in 1871, about which time many
civil war veterans were moving from Michigan and other states to Kansas
and Nebraska, where they could secure free homesteads. I received
circulars advertising Juniata. They called it a village but at that time
there were only four houses, all occupied by agents of the Burlington
railroad who had been employed to preëmpt a section of land for the
purpose of locating a townsite. In October, 1871, I started for Juniata,
passing through Chicago at the time of the great fire. With a comrade I
crossed the Missouri river at Plattsmouth on a flatboat. The Burlington
was running mixed trains as far west as School Creek, now Sutton. We
rode to that point, then started to walk to Juniata, arriving at Harvard
in the evening. Harvard also had four houses placed for the same purpose
as those in Juniata. Frank M. Davis, who was elected commissioner of
public lands and buildings in 1876, lived in one house with his family;
the other three were supposed to be occupied by bachelors.

We arranged with Mr. Davis for a bed in an upper room of one of the
vacant houses. We were tenderfeet from the East and therefore rather
suspicious of the surroundings, there being no lock on the lower door.
To avoid being surprised we piled everything we could find against the
door. About midnight we were awakened by a terrible noise; our
fortifications had fallen and we heard the tramp of feet below. Some of
the preëmptors had been out on section 37 for wood and the lower room
was where they kept the horse feed.

The next morning we paid our lodging and resumed the journey west.
Twelve miles from Harvard we found four more houses placed by the
Burlington. The village was called Inland and was on the east line of
Adams county but has since been moved east into Clay county. Just before
reaching Inland we met a man coming from the west with a load of buffalo
meat and at Inland we found C. S. Jaynes, one of the preëmptors,
sitting outside his shanty cutting up some of the meat. It was twelve
miles farther to Juniata, the railroad grade being our guide. The
section where Hastings now stands was on the line but there was no town,
not a tree or living thing in sight, just burnt prairie. I did not think
when we passed over that black and desolate section that a city like
Hastings would be builded there. The buffalo and the antelope had gone
in search of greener pastures; even the wolf and the coyote were unable
to live there at that time.


Erected by the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution of Nebraska
and Wyoming. Dedicated April 4, 1913. Cost $200]


Seven miles south of Hastings. Erected by Niobrara Chapter, Daughters of
the American Revolution at a cost of $100]

Six miles farther on we arrived at Juniata and the first thing we did
was to drink from the well in the center of the section between the four
houses. This was the only well in the district and that first drink of
water in Adams county was indeed refreshing. The first man we met was
Judson Buswell, a civil war veteran, who had a homestead a mile away and
was watering his mule team at the well. Although forty-four years have
passed, I shall never forget those mules; one had a crooked leg, but
they were the best Mr. Buswell could afford. Now at the age of
seventy-three he spends his winters in California and rides in his
automobile, but still retains his original homestead.

Juniata had in addition to the four houses a small frame building used
as a hotel kept by John Jacobson. It was a frail structure, a story and
a half, and when the Nebraska wind blew it would shake on its
foundation. There was one room upstairs with a bed in each corner.
During the night there came up a northwest wind and every bed was on the
floor the next morning. Later another hotel was built called the Juniata
House. Land seekers poured into Adams county after the Burlington was
completed in July, 1872, and there was quite a strife between the
Jacobson House and the Juniata House. Finally a runner for the latter
hotel advertised it as the only hotel in town with a cook stove.

Adams county was organized December 12, 1871. Twenty-nine voters took
part in the first election and Juniata was made the county-seat.

We started out the next morning after our arrival to find a quarter
section of land. About a mile north we came to the dugout of Mr.
Chandler. He lived in the back end of his house and kept his horses in
the front part. Mr. Chandler went with us to locate our claims. We
preëmpted land on section twenty-eight north of range ten west, in what
is now Highland township. I turned the first sod in that township and
put down the first bored well, which was 117 feet deep and cost $82.70.
Our first shanty was 10x12 feet in size, boarded up and down and papered
on the inside with tar paper. Our bed was made of soft-pine lumber with
slats but no springs. The table was a flat-top trunk.

In the spring of 1872 my wife's brother, George Crane, came from
Michigan and took 80 acres near me. We began our spring work by breaking
the virgin sod. We each bought a yoke of oxen and a Fish Brothers wagon,
in Crete, eighty miles away, and then with garden tools and provisions
in the wagon we started home, being four days on the way. A few miles
west of Fairmont we met the Gaylord brothers, who had been to Grand
Island and bought a printing press. They were going to publish a paper
in Fairmont. They were stuck in a deep draw of mud, so deeply imbedded
that our oxen could not pull their wagon out, so we hitched onto the
press and pulled it out on dry land. It was not in very good condition
when we left it but the boys printed a very clean paper on it for a
number of years.

In August Mrs. Cole came out and joined me. I had broken 30 acres and
planted corn, harvesting a fair crop which I fed to my oxen and cows.
Mrs. Cole made butter, our first churn being a wash bowl in which she
stirred the cream with a spoon, but the butter was sweet and we were
happy, except that Mrs. Cole was very homesick. She was only nineteen
years old and a thousand miles from her people, never before having been
separated from her mother. I had never had a home, my parents having
died when I was very small, and I had been pushed around from pillar to
post. Now I had a home of my own and was delighted with the wildness of
Nebraska, yet my heart went out to Mrs. Cole. The wind blew more
fiercely than now and she made me promise that if our house ever blew
down I would take her back to Michigan. That time very nearly came on
April 13, 1873. The storm raged three days and nights and the snow flew
so it could not be faced. I have experienced colder blizzards but never
such a storm as this Easter one. I had built an addition of two rooms on
my shanty and it was fortunate we had that much room before the storm
for it was the means of saving the lives of four friends who were caught
without shelter. Two of them, a man and wife, were building a house on
their claim one-half mile east, the others were a young couple who had
been taking a ride on that beautiful Sunday afternoon. The storm came
suddenly about four in the afternoon; not a breath of air was stirring
and it became very dark. The storm burst, black dirt filled the air, and
the house rocked. Mrs. Cole almost prayed that the house would go down
so she could go back East. But it weathered the blast; if it had not I
know we would all have perished. The young man's team had to have
shelter and my board stable was only large enough for my oxen and cow so
we took his horses to the sod house on the girl's claim a mile away.
Rain and hail were falling but the snow did not come until we got home
or we would not have found our way. There were six grown people and one
child to camp in our house three days and only one bed. The three women
and the child occupied the bed, the men slept on the floor in another
room. Monday morning the snow was drifted around and over the house and
had packed in the cellar through a hole where I intended to put in a
window some day. To get the potatoes from the cellar for breakfast I had
to tunnel through the snow from the trap door in the kitchen. It was
impossible to get to the well so we lifted the trap door and melted
fresh snow when water was needed.

The shack that sheltered my live stock was 125 feet from the house and
it took three of us to get to the shack to feed. Number two would keep
within hearing of number one and the third man kept in touch with number
two until he reached the stable. Wednesday evening we went for the
horses in the sod house and found one dead. They had gnawed the wall of
the house so that it afterwards fell down.

I could tell many other incidents of a homesteader's life, of trials and
short rations, of the grasshoppers in 1874-75-76, of hail storms and hot
winds; yet all who remained through those days of hardship are driving
automobiles instead of oxen and their land is worth, not $2.50 an acre,
but $150.



With the first rush of settlers into northwest Nebraska, preceding the
advent of railroads, numerous villages sprang up on the prairies like
mushrooms during a night. All gave promise, at least on paper, of
becoming great cities, and woe to the citizen unloyal to that sentiment
or disloyal to his town. It is sufficient to recount experiences in but
one of these villages for customs were similar in all of them, as
evidence of the freedom common to early pioneer life.

In a central portion of the plains, that gave promise of future
settlement, a man named Buchanan came out with a wagonload of boards and
several boxes of whiskey and tobacco and in a short space of time had
erected a building of not very imposing appearance. Over the door of
this building a board was nailed, on which was printed the word "SALOON"
and, thus prepared for business, this man claimed the distinction of
starting the first town in that section. His first customers were a band
of cowboys who proceeded to drink up all of the stock and then to see
which one could shoot the largest number of holes through the building.
This gave the town quite a boom and new settlers as far away as
Valentine began hearing of the new town of Buchanan. Soon after another
venturesome settler brought in a general merchandise store and then the
rush began, all fearing they might be too late to secure choice
locations. The next public necessity was a newspaper, which soon came,
and the town was given the name of Nonpareil. It was regularly platted
into streets and alleys, and a town well sunk in the public square.
Efforts to organize a civil government met with a frost, everyone
preferring to be his own governor. A two-story hotel built of rough
native pine boards furnished lodging and meals for the homeless, three
saloons furnished drinks for the thirsty twenty-four hours in the day
and seven days in the week; two drug stores supplied drugs in case of
sickness and booze from necessity for payment of expenses. These with a
blacksmith shop and several stores constituted the town for the first
year and by reason of continuous boosting it grew to a pretentious size.
The second year some of the good citizens, believing it had advanced far
enough to warrant the establishment of a church, sent for a Methodist
minister. This good soul, believing his mission in life was to drive out
sin from the community, set about to do it in the usual manner, but soon
bowed to the inevitable and, recognizing prevailing customs, became
popular in the town. Boys, seeing him pass the door of saloons, would
hail him and in a good-natured manner give him the contents of a jackpot
in a poker game until, with these contributions and sums given him from
more religious motives, he had accumulated enough to build a small

[Illustration: MRS. ANGIE F. NEWMAN

Second Vice-President General from Nebraska, National Society, Daughters
of the American Revolution. Elected 1898]

After the organization of the county, the place was voted the
county-seat, and a courthouse was built. The court room when not in use
by the court was used for various public gatherings and frequently for

Everybody had plenty of money and spent it with a prodigal hand. The
"save-for-rainy-days" fellows had not yet arrived on the scene. They
never do until after higher civilization steps in. Old Dan, the hotel
keeper, was considered one of the best wealth distributors in the
village. His wife, a little woman of wonderful energy, would do all the
work in a most cheerful manner while Dan kept office, collected the
money and distributed it to the pleasure of the boys and profit to the
saloons, and both husband and wife were happy in knowing that they were
among the most popular people of the village. It did no harm and
afforded the little lady great satisfaction to tell about her noble
French ancestry for it raised the family to a much higher dignity than
that of the surrounding plebeian stock of English, Irish, and Dutch, and
nobody cared so long as everything was cheerful around the place.
Cheerfulness is a great asset in any line of business. The lawyer of the
village, being a man of great expectations, attempted to lend dignity to
the profession, until, finding that board bills are not paid by dignity
and becoming disgusted with the lack of appreciation of legal talent, he
proceeded to beat the poker games for an amount sufficient to enable him
to leave for some place where legal talent was more highly appreciated.

These good old days might have continued had the railroads kept out,
but railroads follow settlement just as naturally as day follows night.
They built into the country and with them came a different order of

Many experiences of a similar character might be told concerning other
towns in this section, namely, Gordon, where old Hank Ditto, who ran the
roadhouse, never turned down a needy person for meals and lodging, but
compelled the ones with money to pay for them. Then there was Rushville,
the supply station for vast stores of goods for the Indian agency and
reservation near by; Hay Springs, the terminal point for settlers coming
into the then unsettled south country. Chadron was a town of unsurpassed
natural beauty in the Pine Ridge country, where Billy Carter, the Dick
Turpin of western romance, held forth in all his glory and at whose
shrine the sporting fraternity performed daily ablutions in the
bountiful supply of booze water. Crawford was the nesting place for all
crooks that were ever attracted to a country by an army post.

These affairs incident to the pioneer life of northwestern Nebraska are
now but reminiscences, supplanted by a civilization inspired by all of
the modern and higher ideals of life.



Box Butte county, Nebraska, owes its existence to the discovery of gold
in the Black Hills in 1876. When this important event occurred, the
nearest railroad point to the discovery in Deadwood Gulch was Sidney,
Nebraska, 275 miles to the south. To this place the gold seekers rushed
from every point of the compass. Parties were organized to make the
overland trip to the new El Dorado with ox teams, mule teams, and by
every primitive mode of conveyance. Freighters from Colorado and the
great Southwest, whose occupation was threatened by the rapid building
of railroads, miners from all the Rocky Mountain regions of the West,
and thousands of tenderfeet from the East, all flocked to Sidney as the
initial starting point. To this heterogeneous mass was added the
gambler, the bandit, the road agent, the dive keeper, and other
undesirable citizens. This flood of humanity made the "Old Sidney Trail"
to the Black Hills. Then followed the stage coach, Wells-Fargo express,
and later the United States mail. The big freighting outfits conveyed
mining machinery, provisions, and other commodities, among which were
barrels and barrels of poor whiskey, to the toiling miners in the Hills.
Indians infested the trail, murdered the freighters and miners, and ran
off their stock, while road agents robbed stages and looted the express
company's strong boxes. Bandits murdered returning miners and robbed
them of their nuggets and gold dust. There was no semblance of law and
order. When things got too rank, a few of the worst offenders were
lynched, and the great, seething, hurrying mass of humanity pressed on
urged by its lust for gold.

This noted trail traversed what is now Box Butte county from north to
south, and there were three important stopping places within the
boundaries of the county. These were the Hart ranch at the crossing of
Snake creek, Mayfield's, and later the Hughes ranch at the crossing of
the Niobrara, and Halfway Hollow, on the high tableland between. The
deep ruts worn by the heavily loaded wagons and other traffic passing
over the route are still plainly visible, after the lapse of forty
years. This trail was used for a period of about nine years, or until
the Northwestern railroad was extended to Deadwood, when it gave way to
modern civilization.

Traveling over this trail were men of affairs, alert men who had noted
the rich grasses and wide ranges that bordered the route, and marked it
down as the cattle raiser's and ranchman's future paradise. Then came
the great range herds of the Ogallalla Cattle Company, Swan Brothers,
Bosler Brothers, the Bay State and other large cow outfits, followed by
the hard-riding cowboy and the chuck wagon. These gave names to
prominent landmarks. A unique elevation in the eastern part of the
county they named Box Butte. Butte means hill or elevation less than a
mountain, Box because it was roughly square or box-shaped. Hence the
surrounding plains were designated in cowman's parlance "the Box Butte
country," and as such it was known far and wide.

Later, in 1886 and 1887, a swarm of homeseekers swept in from the East,
took up the land, and began to build houses of sod and to break up the
virgin soil. The cowman saw that he was doomed, and so rounded up his
herds of longhorns and drove on westward into Wyoming and Montana. These
new settlers soon realized that they needed a unit of government to meet
the requirements of a more refined civilization. They were drawn
together by a common need, and rode over dim trails circulating
petitions calling for an organic convention. They met and provided for
the formation of a new county, to be known as "Box Butte" county.

This name was officially adopted, and is directly traceable to the
discovery of gold in the Black Hills. The lure of gold led the hardy
miner and adventurer across its fertile plains, opened the way for the
cattleman who named the landmark from which the county takes its name,
and the sturdy settler who followed in his wake adopted the name and
wrote it in the archives of the state and nation.


Left to right: Mrs. Ashton C. Shallenberger, Governor Shallenberger,
Mrs. Oreal S. Ward, State Regent Nebraska Society, Daughters of the
American Revolution; Mrs. Andrew K. Gault, Vice-President General,
National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution; Mrs. Charles O.
Norton, Regent Ft. Kearney Chapter, Daughters of the American
Revolution; John W. Patterson, Mayor of Kearney; John Lee Webster,
President Nebraska State Historical Society; Rev. R. P. Hammons, E. B.
Finch, assisting with the flag rope]



In 1860, Edward Oliver, Sr., his wife and seven children, converts to
the Mormon faith, left their home in England for Salt Lake City, Utah.
At Florence, Nebraska, on the Missouri river a few miles above the city
of Omaha, they purchased a traveling outfit for emigrants, which
consisted of two yoke of oxen, a prairie-schooner wagon, and two cows;
and with numerous other families having the same destination took the
overland Mormon trail up the valley of the Platte on the north side of
the river.

When near a point known as Wood River Centre, 175 miles west of the
Missouri river, the front axle of their wagon gave way, compelling a
halt for repairs, their immediate companions in the emigrant train
continuing the journey, for nothing avoidable, not even the burial of a
member of the train, was allowed to interfere with the prescribed
schedule of travel. The Oliver family camped beside the trail and the
broken wagon was taken to the ranch of Joseph E. Johnson, who combined
in his person and business that of postmaster, merchant, blacksmith,
wagon-maker, editor, and publisher of a newspaper (_The Huntsman's
Echo_). Johnson was a Mormon with two wives, a man passionately fond of
flowers which he cultivated to a considerable extent in a fenced
enclosure. While buffalo broke down his fence and destroyed his garden
and flowers, he could not bring himself to kill them. He was a
philosopher and, it must be conceded, a most useful person at a point so
far distant from other sources of supplies.

The wagon shop of Mr. Johnson contained no seasoned wood suitable for an
axle and so from the trees along Wood river was cut an ash from which
was hewn and fitted an axle to the wagon and the family again took the
trail, but ere ten miles had been traveled the green axle began to bend
under the load, the wheels ceased to track, and the party could not
proceed. In the family council which succeeded the father urged that
they try to arrange with other emigrants to carry their movables
(double teams) and thus continue their journey.

The mother suggested that they return to the vicinity of Wood River
Centre and arrange to spend the winter. To the suggestion of the mother
all the children added their entreaties. The mother urged that it was a
beautiful country, with an abundance of wood and water, grass for
pasture, and hay in plenty could be made for their cattle, and she was
sure crops could be raised. The wishes of the mother prevailed, the
family returned to a point about a mile west of Wood River Centre, and
on the banks of the river constructed a log hut with a sod roof in which
they spent the winter. When springtime came, the father, zealous in the
Mormon faith, urged that they continue their journey; to this neither
the mother nor any of the children could be induced to consent and in
the end the father journeyed to Utah, where he made his home and married
a younger woman who had accompanied the family from England, which
doubtless was the determining factor in the mother refusing to go.

The mother, Sarah Oliver, proved to be a woman of force and character.
With her children she engaged in the raising of corn and vegetables, the
surplus being sold to emigrants passing over the trail and at Fort
Kearny, some twenty miles distant.

In those days there were many without means who traveled the trail and
Sarah Oliver never turned a hungry emigrant from her door, and often
divided with such the scanty store needed for her own family. When
rumors came of Indians on the warpath the children took turns on the
housetop as lookout for the dread savages. In 1863 two settlers were
killed by Indians a few miles east of her home. In the year 1864
occurred the memorable raid of the Cheyenne Indians in which horrible
atrocities were committed and scores of settlers were massacred by these
Indians only a few miles to the south. In 1865 William Storer, a near
neighbor, was killed by the Indians.

Sarah Oliver had no framed diploma from a medical college which would
entitle her to the prefix "Dr." to her name, possibly she was not
entitled to be called a trained nurse, but she is entitled to be long
remembered as one who ministered to the sick, to early travelers hungry
and footsore along the trail, and to many families whose habitations
were miles distant.

Sarah Oliver and her family endured all the toil and privation common
to early settlers, without means, in a new country, far removed from
access to what are deemed the barest necessities of life in more settled

She endured all the terrors incident to settlement in a sparsely settled
locality, in which year after year Indian atrocities were committed and
in which the coming of such savages was hourly expected and dreaded. She
saw the building and completion of the Union Pacific railroad near her
home in 1866; she saw Nebraska become a state in the year 1867. In 1870
when Buffalo county was organized her youngest son, John, was appointed
sheriff, and was elected to that office at the first election
thereafter. Her eldest son, James, was the first assessor in the county,
and her son Edward was a member of the first board of county
commissioners and later was elected and served with credit and fidelity
as county treasurer.

When, in the year 1871, Sarah Oliver died, her son Robert inherited the
claim whereon she first made a home for her family and which, in this
year, 1915, is one of the most beautiful, fertile farm homes in the
county and state.


    Dreaming, I pictured a wonderful valley,
      A home-making valley few known could compare;
    When lo! from the bluffs to the north of Wood river
      I saw my dream-picture--my valley lies there.

    Miles long, east and west, stretch this wonderful valley:
      Broad fields of alfalfa, of corn, and of wheat;
    'Mid orchards and groves the homes of its people;
      The vale of Wood river, a dream-land complete.

    Nebraska, our mother, we love and adore thee;
      Within thy fair borders our lot has been cast.
    When done with life's labors and trials and pleasures,
      Contented we'll rest in thy bosom at last.



In 1865, B. S. Roscoe, twenty-two years of age, returned to his home in
Huron county, Ohio, after two years' service in the civil war. He
assisted his father on the farm until 1867, when he was visited by F. B.
Barber, an army comrade, a homesteader in northwestern Nebraska. His
accounts of the new country were so attractive that Mr. Roscoe, who had
long desired a farm of his own, decided to go west.

He started in March, 1867, was delayed in Chicago by a snow blockade,
but arrived in Omaha in due time. On March 24, 1867, Mr. Roscoe went to
Decatur via the stage route, stopping for dinner at the Lippincott home,
called the half-way house between Omaha and Decatur. He was advised to
remain in Decatur for a day or two for the return of B. W. Everett from
Maple Creek, Iowa, but being told that Logan creek, where he wished to
settle, was only sixteen miles distant, he hired a horse and started
alone. The snow was deep with a crust on top but not hard enough to bear
the horse and rider. After going two miles through the deep snow he
returned to Decatur. On March 26 he started with Mr. Everett, who had a
load of oats and two dressed hogs on his sled, also two cows to drive.
They took turns riding and driving the cows. The trail was hard to
follow and when they reached the divide between Bell creek and the
Blackbird, the wind was high and snow falling. They missed the road and
the situation was serious. There was no house, tree, or landmark nearer
than Josiah Everett's, who lived near the present site of Lyons, and was
the only settler north of what is now Oakland, where John Oak resided.
They abandoned the sled and each rode a horse, Mr. Everett trying to
lead the way, but the horse kept turning around, so at last he let the
animal have its way and they soon arrived at Josiah Everett's homestead
shanty, the cows following.

The next day Mr. Roscoe located his homestead on the bank of Logan
creek. A couple of trappers had a dugout near by which they had made by
digging a hole ten feet square in the side of the creek bank and
covering the opening with brush and grass. Their names were Asa Merritt
and George Kirk.

Mr. Roscoe then returned to Decatur and walked from there to Omaha,
where he filed on his claim April 1, 1867. The ice on the Missouri river
was breaking though drays and busses were still crossing. Mr. Roscoe
walked across the river to Council Bluffs and then proceeded by train to
Bartlett, Iowa, intending to spend the summer near Brownville, Nebraska.
In August he returned to his homestead and erected a claim shanty. The
following winter was spent working in the woods at Tietown. In the
winter of 1869 fifty dollars was appropriated for school purposes in
Everett precinct and Mr. Roscoe taught school for two months in his
shanty and boarded around among the patrons.



On December 31, 1866, in a bleak wind I crossed the Missouri river on
the ice, carrying a nine months' old baby, now Mrs. Jas. Stiles, and my
four and a half year old boy trudging along. My husband's brother,
Josiah Everett, carried three-year-old Eleanor in one arm and drove the
team and my husband was a little in advance with his team and wagon
containing all our possessions. We drove to the town of Decatur, that
place of many hopes and ambitions as yet unfulfilled. We were
entertained by the Herrick family, who said we would probably remain on
Logan creek, our proposed home site, because we would be too poor to
move away.

On January 7, 1867, in threatening weather, we started on the last stage
of our journey in quest of a home. Nestled deep in the prairie hay and
covered with blankets, the babies and I did not suffer. The desolate,
wind-swept prairie looked uninviting but when we came to the Logan
Valley, it was beautiful even in that weather. The trees along the
winding stream, the grove, now known as Fritt's grove, gave a home-like
look and I decided I could be content in that valley.

We lived with our brother until material for our shack could be brought
from Decatur or Onawa, Iowa. Five grown people and seven children,
ranging in ages from ten years down, lived in that small shack for three
months. That our friendship was unimpaired is a lasting monument to our
tact, politeness, and good nature.

The New Year snow was the forerunner of heavier ones, until the
twenty-mile trip to Decatur took a whole day, but finally materials for
the shack were on hand. The last trip extended to Onawa and a sled of
provisions and two patient cows were brought over. In Decatur, B. S.
Roscoe was waiting an opportunity to get to the Logan and was invited to
"jump on." It was late, the load was heavy, and somewhere near Blackbird
creek the team stuck in the drifts. The cows were given their liberty,
the horses unhooked, and with some difficulty the half frozen men
managed to mount and the horses did the rest--the cows keeping close to
their heels; and so they arrived late in the night. Coffee and a hot
supper warmed the men sufficiently to catch a few winks of sleep--on
bedding on the floor. A breakfast before light and they were off to
rescue the load. The two frozen and dressed porkers had not yet
attracted the wolves, and next day they crossed the Logan to the new

A few days more and the snowdrifts were a mighty river. B. W. was a sort
of Crusoe, but as everything but the horses and cows--and the trifling
additional human stock--was strewn around him, he suffered nothing but
anxiety. Josiah drove to Decatur, procured a boat, and with the aid of
two or three trappers who chanced to be here, we were all rowed over the
mile-wide sea, and were at home!

Slowly the water subsided, and Nebraska had emerged from her territorial
obscurity (March 1, 1867) before it was possible for teams to cross the
bottom lands of the Logan.

One Sunday morning I caught sight of two moving figures emerging from
the grove. The dread of Indian callers was ever with me, but as they
came nearer my spirits mounted to the clouds--for I recognized my
sister, Mrs. Andrew Everett, as the rider, and her son Frank leading the
pony. Their claim had been located in March, but owing to the frequent
and heavy rains we were not looking for them so soon. The evening before
we had made out several covered wagons coming over the hills from
Decatur, but we were not aware that they had already arrived at
Josiah's. The wagons we had seen were those of E. R. Libby, Chas.
Morton, Southwell, and Clements.

A boat had brought my sister and her son across the Logan--a pony being
allowed to swim the stream but the teams were obliged to go eight miles
south to Oakland, where John Oak and two or three others had already
settled, and who had thrown a rough bridge across.

Before fall the Andrew Everett house (no shack) was habitable--also a
number of other families had moved in on both sides of the Logan, and it
began to be a real neighborhood.

One late afternoon I started out to make preparations for the night, as
Mr. Everett was absent for a few days. As I opened the door two Indians
stood on the step, one an elderly man, the other a much-bedecked young
buck. I admitted them; the elder seated himself and spoke a few friendly
words, but the smart young man began immediately to inspect the few
furnishings of the room. Though quaking inwardly, I said nothing till he
spied a revolver hanging in its leather case upon the wall and was
reaching for it. I got there first, and taking it from the case I held
it in my hands. At once his manner changed. He protested that he was a
_good_ Indian, and only wanted to _see_ the gun, while the other
immediately rose from his chair. In a voice I never would have
recognized as my own, I informed him that it was time for him to _go_.
The elder man at last escorted him outside with me as rear guard. Fancy
my feelings when right at the door were ten or more husky fellows, who
seemed to propose entering, but by this time the desperate courage of
the arrant coward took possession of me, and I barred the way. It was
plain that the gun in my hand was a surprise, and the earnest entreaties
of my five-year-old boy "not to shoot them" may also have given them
pause. They said they were cold and hungry; I assured them that I had
neither room nor food for them--little enough for my own babies. At last
they all went on to the house of our brother, Andrew Everett. I knew
that they were foraging for a large party which was encamped in the
grove. Soon they came back laden with supplies which they had obtained,
and now they insisted on coming in to _cook them_, and the smell of
spirits was so unmistakable that I could readily see that Andrew had
judged it best to get rid of them as soon as possible, thinking that
they would be back in camp by dark, and the whiskey, which they had
obtained between here and Fremont, would have evaporated. But it only
made them more insistent in their demands and some were looking quite
sullen. At last a young fellow, _not_ an Indian--for he had long dark
curls reaching to his shoulders--with a strategic smile asked in good
English for a "drink of water." Instead of leaving the door, as he
evidently calculated, I called to my little boy to bring it. A giggle
ran through the crowd at the expense of the strategist but it was plain
they were growing ugly. Now the older Indian took the opportunity to
make them an earnest talk, and though it was against their wishes, he at
last started them toward the grove. After a while Frank Everett, my
nephew, who had come down to bolster up my courage, and the children
went to bed and to sleep, but no sleep for me; as the gray dawn was
showing in the east, a terrific pounding upon the door turned my blood
to ice. Again and again it came, and at last I tiptoed to the door and
stooped to look through the crack. A pair of very slim ankles was all
that was visible and as I rose to my feet, the very sweetest music I had
ever heard saluted me, the neigh of my pet colt Bonnie, who had failed
to receive her accustomed drink of milk the previous evening and took
this manner of reminding me.

This was the only time we were ever menaced with actual danger, and many
laughable false alarms at last cured me of my fears of a people among
whom I now have valued friends.



Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Hunter were pioneer settlers of Nebraska and Weeping
Water, coming from Illinois by team. Their first settlement in the state
was near West Point in Cuming county where father staked out a claim in
1857. Things went well aside from the usual hardships of pioneer life,
such as being out of flour and having to pound corn in an iron kettle
with an iron wedge to obtain corn meal for bread. When the bottom of the
kettle gave way as a result of the many thumpings of the wedge, a new
plan was devised--that of chopping a hole in a log and making a crude
wooden kettle which better stood the blows of the wedge. This method of
grinding corn was used until a trip could be made with an ox team, to
the nearest mill, forty miles distant; a long and tedious trip always
but much more so in this particular instance because of the high water
in the streams which were not bridged in those days. These were small
hardships compared to what took place when the home was robbed by
Indians. These treacherous savages stripped the premises of all the live
stock, household and personal effects. Cattle and chickens were killed
and eaten and what could not be disposed of in this way were wantonly
destroyed and driven off. Clothing and household goods were destroyed so
that little was saved except the clothing the members of the family had
on. From the two feather beds that were ripped open, mother succeeded in
gathering up enough feathers to make two pillows and these I now have in
my home. They are more than a half century old. A friendly Indian had
come in advance of the hostile band and warned the little settlement of
the approach of the Indians with paint on their faces. His signs telling
them to flee were speedily obeyed and in all probability this was all
that saved many lives, as the six or seven families had to keep together
and travel all night to keep out of the reach of the Indians until the
people at Omaha could be notified and soldiers sent to the scene. On
the arrival of the soldiers the Indians immediately hoisted a white flag
and insisted that they were "good Indians."

As no one had been killed by the Indians, it was the desire of the
soldiers to merely make the Indians return the stolen property and
stock, but as much property was destroyed, the settlers received very
little. A number of the Indians were arrested and tried for robbing the
postoffice which was at our home. My parents were the principal
witnesses and after the Indians were acquitted, it was feared they might
take revenge, so they were advised to leave the country.

With an ox team and a few ragged articles of clothing they started east.
When he reached Rock Bluffs, one of the early river towns of Cass
county, father succeeded in obtaining work. His wages were seventy-five
cents a day with the privilege of living in a small log cabin. There was
practically no furniture for the cabin, corn husks and the few quilts
that had been given them were placed on the floor in the corner to serve
as a place to sleep. Father worked until after Christmas time without
having a coat. At about this time, he was told to take his team and make
a trip into Iowa. Just as he was about to start, his employer said to
him: "Hunter, where's your coat?" The reply was, "I haven't any." "Well,
that won't do; you can't make that trip without a coat; come with me to
the store." Father came out of the store with a new under coat and
overcoat, the first coat of any kind he had had since his home was
invaded by the red men.

An explanation of the purpose of the trip into Iowa will be of interest.
The man father worked for was a flour and meat freighter with a route to
Denver, Colorado. In the winter he would go over into Iowa, buy hogs and
drive them across the river on the ice, to Rock Bluffs, where they were
slaughtered and salted down in large freight wagons. In the spring, from
eight to ten yoke of oxen would be hitched to the wagon, and the meat,
and often times an accompanying cargo of flour, would be started across
the plains to attractive markets in Denver.

Father made a number of these trips to Denver as ox driver.

The writer was born at Rock Bluffs in 1860. We moved to Weeping Water in
1862 when four or five dwellings and the little old mill that stood near
the falls, comprised what is now our beautiful little city of over 1,000

During the early sixties, many bands of Indians numbering from forty to
seventy-five, visited Weeping Water. It was on one of their visits that
the writer made the best record he has ever made, as a foot racer. The
seven or eight year old boy of today would not think of running from an
Indian, but half a century ago it was different. It was no fun in those
days to be out hunting cattle and run onto a band of Indians all sitting
around in a circle. In the morning the cattle were turned out to roam
about at will except when they attempted to molest a field, and at night
they were brought home if they could be found. If not the search was
continued the next day. Some one was out hunting cattle all the time it
seemed. With such a system of letting cattle run at large, it was really
the fields that were herded and not the cattle. Several times a day some
member of the family would go out around the fields to see if any cattle
were molesting them. One of our neighbors owned two Shepherd dogs which
would stay with the cattle all day, and take them home at night. It was
very interesting to watch the dogs drive the cattle. One would go ahead
to keep the cattle from turning into a field where there might be an
opening in the rail fence, while the other would bring up the rear. They
worked like two men would. But the family that had trained dogs of this
kind was the exception; in most cases it was the boys that had to do the
herding. It was on such a mission one day that the writer watched from
under cover of some bushes, the passing of about seventy-five Indians
all on horseback and traveling single file. They were strung out a
distance of almost a mile. Of course they were supposed to be friendly,
but there were so many things that pointed to their tendency to be
otherwise at times, that we were not at all anxious to meet an Indian no
matter how many times he would repeat the characteristic phrase, "Me
good Injun." We were really afraid of them and moreover the story was
fresh in our minds of the murder of the Hungate family in Colorado, Mrs.
Hungate's parents being residents of our vicinity at that time. Her
sister, Mrs. P. S. Barnes, now resides in Weeping Water.

Thus it will be seen that many Indian experiences and incidents have
been woven into the early history of Weeping Water. In conclusion to
this article it might be fitting to give the Indian legend which
explains how the town received its name of Weeping Water. The poem was
written by my son, Rev. A. V. Hunter, of Boston, and is founded on the
most popular of the Indian legends that have been handed down.


    Long before the white man wandered
      To these rich Nebraska lands,
    Indians in their paint and feathers
      Roamed in savage warlike bands.

    They, the red men, feared no hardships;
      Battles were their chief delights;
    Victory was their great ambition
      In their awful bloody fights.

    Then one day the war cry sounded
      Over valley, hill and plain.
    From the North came dusky warriors,
      From that vast unknown domain.

    When the news had reached the valley
      That the foe was near at hand,
    Every brave was stirred to action
      To defend his home, his land.

    To the hills they quickly hastened
      There to wait the coming foe.
    Each one ready for the conflict
      Each with arrow in his bow.

    Awful was the scene that followed,
      Yells and warwhoops echoed shrill.
    But at last as night descended
      Death had conquered; all was still.

    Then the women in the wigwams
      Hearing rumors of the fight,
    Bearing flaming, flickering torches
      Soon were wandering in the night.

    There they found the loved ones lying
      Calm in everlasting sleep.
    Little wonder that the women,
      Brokenhearted, all should weep.

    Hours and hours they kept on weeping,
      'Til their tears began to flow
    In many trickling streamlets
      To the valley down below.

    These together joined their forces
      To produce a larger stream
    Which has ever since been flowing
      As you see it in this scene.

    Indians christened it Nehawka
      Crying Water means the same.
    In this way the legend tells us
      Weeping Water got its name.



Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Vallery were living in Glenwood, Iowa, in 1855, when
they decided to purchase a store from some Indians in Plattsmouth. Mr.
Vallery went over to transact the business, and Mrs. Vallery was to
follow in a few days. Upon her arrival in Bethlehem, where she was to
take the ferry, she learned that the crossing was unsafe on account of
ice floating in the river. There were two young men there, who were very
anxious to get across and decided to risk the trip. They took a letter
to her husband telling of the trouble. The next day, accompanied by
these two young men, Mr. Vallery came over after her in a rowboat, by
taking a course farther north. The boat was well loaded when they
started on the return trip. Some of the men had long poles, and by
constantly pushing at the ice they kept the boat from being crushed or

Mrs. Vallery's oldest daughter was the third white child born in the
vicinity of Plattsmouth. And this incident happened soon after her
arrival in 1855. Mrs. Vallery had the baby in a cradle and was preparing
dinner when she heard a knock at the door. Before she could reach it, an
Indian had stepped in, and seeing some meat on the table asked for it.
She nodded for him to take it, but he seemed to have misunderstood, and
then asked for a drink of water. While Mrs. Vallery was getting the
drink, he reached for the baby, but she was too quick for him and
succeeded in reaching the baby first. He then departed without further

At one time the Vallerys had a sick cow, and every evening several
Indians would come to find out how she was. She seemed to get no better
and still they watched that cow. In the course of a week she died,
evidently during the night, because the next morning the first thing
they heard was the Indians skinning the cow, out by the shed, and
planning a "big feed" for that night down by the river.

The late Mrs. Thomas Pollock used to tell us how the Indians came
begging for things. Winnebago John, who came each year, couldn't be
satisfied very easily, so my grandmother found an army coat of her
brother's for him. He was perfectly delighted and disappeared with it
behind the wood pile, where he remained for some time. The family
wondered what he was doing, so after he had slipped away, they went out
and hunted around for traces of what had kept him. They soon found the
clue; he had stuffed the coat in under the wood, and when they pulled it
out, they found it was minus all the brass buttons.

Another time one of Mrs. Pollock's children, the late Mrs. Lillian
Parmele, decided to play Indian and frighten her two brothers, who were
going up on the hill to do some gardening. She wrapped up in cloaks,
blankets and everything she could find to make herself look big and
fierce, then went up and hid in the hazel brush, where she knew they
would have to pass. Pretty soon she peeked out and there was a band of
Indians coming. Terrified, she ran down toward her home, dropping pieces
of clothing and blankets as she went. The Indians seeing them, ran after
her, each one anxious to pick up what she was dropping. The child
thinking it was she they were after, let all her belongings go, so she
could run the better and escape them. After that escapade quite a number
of things were missing about the house, some of them being seen later at
an Indian camp near by.



The first settler of Clay county, Nebraska, was John B. Weston, who
located on the Little Blue, built a log hut in 1857 and called the place
Pawnee Ranch. It became a favorite stopping place of St. Joe and Denver
mail carriers.

The first settler of Sutton was Luther French who came in March, 1870,
and homesteaded eighty acres. Mr. French surveyed and laid out the
original townsite which was named after Sutton, Massachusetts. His
dugout and log house was built on the east bank of School creek, east of
the park, and just south of the Kansas City and Omaha railroad bridge.
Traces of the excavation are still visible. The house was lined with
brick and had a tunnel outlet near the creek bottom for use in case of
an Indian attack. Among his early callers were Miss Nellie Henderson and
Capt. Charles White who rode in from the West Blue in pursuit of an
antelope, which they captured.

Mrs. Wils Cumming was the first white woman in Sutton. She resided in
the house now known as the Mrs. May Evans (deceased) place. Part of this
residence is the original Cumming home.

At this time the population of Sutton consisted of thirty-four men and
one woman. In the spring of 1871, F. M. Brown, who was born in Illinois
in 1840, came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in Clay county,
four miles north of the present site of Sutton. At that time Clay county
was unorganized territory, and the B. & M. railroad was being extended
from Lincoln west.

September 11, 1871, Governor James issued a proclamation for the
election of officers and the organization of Clay county fixing the
date, October 14, 1871. The election was held at the home of Alexander
Campbell, two miles east of Harvard, and fifty-four votes were cast.
Sutton was chosen as the county-seat. F. M. Brown was elected county
clerk; A. K. Marsh, P.O. Norman, and A. A. Corey were elected county
commissioners. When it came to organizing and qualifying the officers,
only one freeholder could be found capable of signing official bonds and
as the law required two sureties, R. G. Brown bought a lot of Luther
French and was able to sign with Luther French as surety on all official
bonds. As the county had no money and no assessments had been made all
county business was done on credit. There was no courthouse and county
business was conducted in the office of R. G. Brown, until February,
1873, when a frame building to be used as a courthouse was completed at
a cost of $1,865. This was the first plastered building in the county
and was built by F. M. Brown.

In May, 1873, a petition for an election to relocate the county seat was
filed, but the motion of Commissioner A. K. Marsh that the petition be
"tabled, rejected and stricken from the files" ended the discussion
temporarily. In 1879 the county-seat was removed to Clay Center. Several
buildings were erected during the fall of 1873 and Sutton became the
center of trade in the territory between the Little Blue and the Platte

Melvin Brothers opened the first store in 1873 south of the railroad
tracks, now South Sanders avenue. At that time it was called "Scrabble

In 1874 the town was incorporated and a village government organized,
with F. M. Brown as mayor.

Luther French was the first postmaster.

Thurlow Weed opened the first lumber yard.

William Shirley built and run the first hotel.

L. R. Grimes and J. B. Dinsmore opened the first bank.

Pyle and Eaton built and operated the first elevator.

Isaac N. Clark opened the first hardware store.

Dr. Martin V. B. Clark, a graduate of an Ohio medical college, was the
first physician in the county and opened the first drug store in Sutton.
In 1873, during the first term of district court, he was appointed one
of the commissioners of insanity. In 1877 he was elected coroner.

The Odd Fellows hall was the first brick building erected.

The Congregational church, built in 1875, was the first church building
in the county.

William L. Weed taught the first school, beginning January 20, 1872,
with an enrollment of fourteen scholars.

In 1876 the Evangelical Association of North America sent Rev. W.
Schwerin to Sutton as a missionary.

In the early seventies the Burlington railroad company built and
maintained an immigrant house on the corner south of the present Cottage
hotel. This was a long frame building of one room with a cook stove in
either end. Many of the immigrants were dependent upon a few friends who
were located on the new land in the vicinity. Their food consisted
largely of soup made with flour and water; any vegetables they were able
to get were used. Meat was scarce with the immigrants. They had
considerable milk, mostly sour, brought in by their friends. The
immigrants remained here until they found work; most of them moved on to
farms. The house burned about 1880.

In the early days Sutton was a lively business place with all the
features of a frontier town. Now it is a city enjoying the comforts of
modern improvements and refined society.



In July, 1888, I arrived at Broken Bow, which is situated geographically
about the center of the state. That village looked strange to me with
not a tree in sight excepting a few little cuttings of cottonwood and
box elder here and there upon a lawn. After having lived all my life in
a country where every home was surrounded by groves and ornamental shade
trees, it seemed that I was in a desert.

I had just completed a course of study in a normal school prior to
coming to Nebraska, and was worn out in mind and body, so naturally my
first consideration was the climatic condition of the country and its
corresponding effect upon the vegetation. I wondered how the people
stood the heat of the day but soon discovered that a light gentle breeze
was blowing nearly all the time, so that the heat did not seem intense
as it did at my Iowa home.

After I had been in Broken Bow about two weeks I was offered a position
in the mortgage loan office of Trefren and Hewitt. The latter was the
first county clerk of Custer county. I held this position a few weeks,
then resigned to take charge of the Berwyn school at the request of Mr.
Charles Randall, the county superintendent. Berwyn was a village
situated about ten miles east of Broken Bow. It consisted of one general
merchandise store, a postoffice, depot, and a blacksmith shop. I shall
never forget my first impression on arriving at Berwyn very early on
that September morning. It was not daylight when the train stopped at
the little depot, and what a feeling of loneliness crept over me as I
watched that train speed on its way behind the eastern hills! I found my
way to the home of J. O. Taylor (who was then living in the back end of
his store building) and informed him that I was the teacher who had come
to teach the school and asked him to direct me to my boarding place.
Being a member of the school board, Mr. Taylor gave me the necessary
information and then sent his hired man with a team and buggy to take
me a mile farther east to the home of Ben Talbot, where I was to stay.

The Talbot home was a little sod house consisting of two small rooms. On
entering I found Mrs. Talbot preparing breakfast for the family. I was
given a cordial welcome, and after breakfast started in company with
Mrs. Talbot's little girl for the schoolhouse. The sense of loneliness
which had taken possession of me on my way to this place began to be
dispelled. I found Mrs. Talbot to be a woman of kind heart and generous
impulses. She had two little girls, the older one being of school age. I
could see the schoolhouse up on the side of a hill. It was made of sod
and was about twelve by fifteen feet. The roof was of brush and weeds,
with some sod; but I could see the blue sky by gazing up through the
roof at almost any part of it. I looked out upon the hills and down the
valley and wondered where the pupils were to come from, as I saw no
houses and no evidence of habitation anywhere excepting Mr. Talbot's
home. But by nine o'clock about twelve children had arrived from some
place, I knew not where.

I found in that little, obscure schoolhouse some of the brightest and
best boys and girls it was ever my good fortune to meet. There soon
sprang up between us a bond of sympathy. I sympathized with them in
their almost total isolation from the world, and they in turn
sympathized with me in my loneliness and homesickness.

On opening my school that first morning, great was my surprise to learn
how well those children could sing. I had never been in a school where
there were so many sweet voices. My attention was particularly directed
to the voices of two little girls as they seemed remarkable for children
of their years. I often recall one bright sunny evening after I had
dismissed school and stood watching the pupils starting out in various
directions for their homes, my attention was called to a path that led
down the valley through the tall grass. I heard singing and at once
recognized the voices of these two little girls. The song was a favorite
of mine and I could hear those sweet tones long after the children were
out of sight in the tall grass. I shall never forget how charmingly
sweet that music seemed to me.

I soon loved every pupil in that school and felt a keen regret when the
time came for me to leave them. I have the tenderest memory of my
association with that district, though the school equipment was meager
and primitive. After finishing my work there I returned to Broken Bow
where I soon accepted a position in the office of J. J. Douglass, clerk
of the district court. Mr. Douglass was one of the organizers of Custer
county and was chosen the first clerk of the court, which position he
held for four years. I began my work in this office on November 16,
1888, and held the position till the close of his term.

During this time many noted criminal cases were tried in court, Judge
Francis G. Hamer of Kearney being the judge. One case in which I was
especially interested was the DeMerritt case, in which I listened to the
testimony of several of my pupils from the Berwyn district. Another
far-famed case was the Haunstine case, in which Albert Haunstine
received a death sentence. To hear a judge pronounce a death sentence is
certainly the most solemn thing one can imagine. Perhaps the most trying
ordeal I ever experienced was the day of the execution of Haunstine. It
so happened that the scaffold was erected just beneath one of the
windows of our office on the south side of the courthouse. As the nails
were being driven into that structure how I shuddered as I thought that
a human being was to be suspended from that great beam. Early in the
morning on the day of the execution people from miles away began to
arrive to witness the cruelest event that ever marred the fair name of
our beloved state. Early in the day, in company with several others, I
visited the cell of the condemned man. He was busy distributing little
souvenirs he had made from wood to friends and members of his family. He
was pale but calm and self-composed. My heart ached and my soul was
stirred to its very depth in sympathy for a fellow being and yet I was
utterly helpless so far as extending any aid or consolation. The thought
recurred to me so often, why is it men are so cruel to each
other--wolfish in nature, seeking to destroy their own kind? And now the
thought still comes to me, will the day ever dawn when there will be no
law in Nebraska permitting men to cruelly take the life of each other to
avenge a wrong? I trust that the fair name of Nebraska may never be
blotted again by another so-called _legal_ execution.

It was during the time I was in that office the first commencement of
the Broken Bow high school was held, the class consisting of two
graduates, a boy and a girl. The boy is now Dr. Willis Talbot, a
physician of Broken Bow, and the girl, who was Stella Brown, is now the
wife of W. W. Waters, mayor of Broken Bow.

We moved our office into the new courthouse in January, 1890. Soon after
we saw the completion of the mammoth building extending the entire
length of the block on the south side of the public square called the
Realty block. The Ansley Cornet band was the first band to serenade us
in the new courthouse.

Mr. Douglass completed his term of office as clerk of the district court
on January 7, 1892, and two weeks later we were married and went for a
visit to my old home in Iowa. Soon after returning to Broken Bow we
moved to Callaway. I shall never forget my first view of the little city
of which I had heard so much, the "Queen City of the Seven Valleys."
After moving to Callaway I again taught school and had begun on my
second year's work when I resigned to accept a position in the office of
the state land commissioner, H. C. Russell, at Lincoln, where I remained
for two years. During the time I was in that office Mr. Douglass was
appointed postmaster at Callaway, so I resigned my work in Lincoln and
returned home to work in the postoffice. We were in this office for
seven years, after which I accepted a position in the Seven Valleys
bank. After a year I again took up school work and have been engaged in
that ever since. We have continued to reside at Callaway all these years
and have learned to love the rugged hills and glorious sunshine. The
winds continue to blow and the sands beat upon our pathway, but we would
not exchange our little cottage in the grove for a palace in the far



An experience through which I passed in northwestern Nebraska in the
early days comes to my mind very frequently.

When the railroad first went through that region to Chadron, Mr. Bross
was general missionary for the Northwest, including central Wyoming and
the Black Hills country.

When we first visited Chadron it was a town of white tents, and we
occupied a tent for several days. Then the tent was needed for other
purposes and Mr. Bross suggested that we find lodging in a building in
process of erection for a hotel. The frame was up and enclosed, the
floors laid, but no stairs and no division into rooms. The proprietor
said we could have a bed in the upper room, where there were fifty beds
side by side. He would put a curtain around the bed. As that was the
only thing to do, we accepted the situation and later I climbed a ladder
to the upper floor.

The bed in one corner was enclosed with a calico curtain just the size
of the bed. I climbed on, and prepared the baby boy and myself for
sleep. As I was the only woman in the room, and every bed was occupied
before morning by two men, the situation was somewhat unique. However, I
was soon asleep.

About three o'clock I was awakened by the stealthy footsteps of two men
on the ladder. They came to the bed at the foot of the one we occupied,
and after settling themselves to their satisfaction began discussing the
incidents of the night. As they were gamblers, the conversation was a
trifle strange to a woman.

Soon in the darkness below and close to the side of the building where
we were, rang out several pistol shots with startling distinctness.

One man remarked, in a calm, impersonal tone, "I prefer to be on the
ground floor when the shots fly around like that." The remark was not
especially reassuring for a mother with a sleeping baby by her side.

As no one in the room seemed to be disturbed, and as the tumult below
soon died away, I again slept, and awakened in the morning none the
worse for the experience of the night.

[Illustration: MRS. ANDREW K. GAULT

Third Vice-President General from Nebraska, National Society, Daughters
of the American Revolution. Elected 1913]



The early history of Crawford and its environment is replete with tales
of Indian scares; the pioneer settlers banding themselves together and
arming for protection against possible Indian raids, all presenting
lurid material for the most exciting stories, if one could gather the
accurate data.

The legend of Crow Butte is one of the most thrilling, and at the same
time the most important, of the many tales told by the old settlers
around the winter fireside.

In the early history of the Sioux and Crow Indians, much strife and
ill-feeling was engendered between the two tribes by the stealing of
horses. As no satisfactory settlement could be arranged between them, it
was declared, after a solemn pow-wow, that a decisive battle should be
fought, and the field for the said conflict was chosen on the land east
of the present site of Crawford. The final stand was taken on one of the
peculiar clay formations known as buttes, found in northwestern
Nebraska. These eminences, dividing this section of the country into
valleys and ridges of hills, add very much to the beauty of the
landscape, by their seeming likeness to a succession of battlements and
old castles.

This particular butte, standing like a sentinel about five miles east of
Crawford, rises to a height of nearly three hundred feet on the east
side, and is possible of ascent by gradual elevation on the west side.
It appears to stand distinct and alone, forming a landmark on the
horizon that has guided many a settler and traveler to home and safety.
The writer is one of the number of travelers who, from bitter
experiences in long winter drives over the prairie, has learned to
appreciate the landmark of the old Crow Butte.

The Sioux, having driven the Crows to the top of this butte, thought, by
guarding the path, they could quickly conquer by starving them out.
Under cover of night the Crows decided, after due deliberation, that the
warriors could escape, if the old men of the tribe would remain and
keep up a constant singing. This was done. The young and able-bodied
men, making ropes of their blankets, were let down the steep side of the
butte, while the poor old men kept up a constant wailing for days, until
death, from lack of food and exhaustion, had stilled their voices. As
the singing gradually ceased, the Sioux, while watching, saw white
clouds passing over the butte, having the appearance of large, white
birds with outstretched wings, on which they carried the old men to the
"Happy Hunting Grounds." The Sioux, awed by the illusion, believed it an
omen of peace and declared that forever after there should be no more
wars between the Crows and the Sioux.

Through Capt. James H. Cook, an early settler and pioneer of this
section, who has served as scout and interpreter for the Indians for
years, I have learned that it was near this Crow Butte that the last
great treaty was made with the Indians, in which the whole of the Black
Hills country was disposed of to the white people. According to his
statement, the affair came very nearly ending in a battle in which many
lives might have been lost. The bravery and quick action of a few men
turned the tide in favor of the white people.

The following original poem by Pearl Shepherd Moses is quite appropriate
in this connection:


    Oh, lofty Crow Heart Butte, uprising toward the sun,
      What is your message to the world below?
    Or do you wait in silence, race outrun,
      The march of ages in their onward flow?

    Ye are so vast, so great, and yet so still,
      That but a speck I seem in nature's plan;
    Or but a drop without a way or will
      In this mad rush miscalled the race of man.

    In nature's poems you a period stand
      Among her lessons we can never read;
    But with high impulse and good motive found,
      You help us toward the brave and kindly deed.

    The winds and sunshine, dawns and throbbing star,
      Yield you their message from the ether clear,
    While moonlight crowns your brow so calm and fair
      With homage kingly as their greatest peer.

    A longing fills me as I nightly gaze;
      Would I could break your spell of silence vast;
    But centuries and years and months and days
      Must add themselves again unto the past.

    And I can only wish that I were as true,
      Always found faithful and as firmly stand
    For right as you since you were young and new,
      A wondrous product from a mighty hand.



_Prairie Covered with Indians_

In July, 1867, a freight train left the old Plum Creek station late one
night for the west. As the company was alarmed for the safety of the
trains, Pat Delahunty, the section boss, sent out three men on a
hand-car over his section in advance of this train. They had gone about
three miles to the bend west of the station when they were attacked by
Indians. This was at a point nearly north of the John Jacobson claim.
There are still on the south side of the track some brickbats near the
culvert. This is the place where the Indians built a fire on the south
side of the track and took a position on the north side. When the
hand-car came along, they fired upon it. They killed one man and wounded
another, a cockney from London, England, and thinking him dead took his
scalp. He flinched. They stuck a knife in his neck but even that did not
kill him. He recovered consciousness and crawled into the high weeds.
The freight came and fell into the trap. While the Indians were breaking
into the cars of the wrecked freight, the Englishman made his escape,
creeping a mile to the north. As soon as morning came, Patrick Delahunty
with his men took a hand-car and went to investigate. Before they had
gone half a mile they could see the Indians all around the wreck. Each
one had a pony. They had found a lot of calico in one car and each
Indian had taken a bolt and had broken one end loose and was unfolding
it as he rode over the prairie. Yelling, they rode back and forth in
front of one another with calico flying, like a Maypole dance gone mad.
When they saw the section men with guns, they broke for the Platte river
and crossed it due south of where Martin Peterson's house now stands.
The section men kept shooting at them but got no game. They found that a
squaw-man had probably had a hand in the wrecking of the train for the
rails had been pried up just beyond the fire. The smoke blinded the
engineer and he ran into the rails which were standing as high as the
front of the boiler. The engineer and the fireman were killed. The
engine ran off the track, but the cars remained on the rails. The
Indians opened every car and set fire to two or three of the front ones.
One car was loaded with brick. The writer got a load of these brick in
1872 and built a blacksmith forge. Among the bricks were found pocket
knives, cutlery, and a Colt's revolver.

The man who had been scalped came across the prairie toward the section
men. They thought he was an Indian. His shirt was gone and his skin was
covered with dried blood. They were about to shoot when Delahunty said,
"Stop, boys," for the man had his hands above his head. They let him
come nearer and when he was a hundred yards away Delahunty said, "By
gobs, it's Cockney!" They took him to the section house and cared for
him. He told them these details. After this event he worked for the
Union Pacific railroad at Omaha. Then he went back to England. The
railroad had just been built and there was only one train a day.

_Wild Turkeys and Wild Cats_

Tom Mahum was the boss herder for Ewing of Texas and had brought his
herd up that summer and had his cattle on Dilworth's islands until he
could ship them to Chicago. He bantered me for a turkey hunt, and we
went on horseback up Plum creek. He was a good shot and we knew we would
get game of some kind. We followed the creek five miles, when we scared
up a flock of turkeys. They were of the bronze kind, large and heavy. We
got three, and as we did not find any more, we took the tableland for
the Platte. As we came down a pocket we ran into a nest of wildcats.
There were four of them. One cat jumped at a turkey that was tied to
Tom's saddle. That scared his horse so that it nearly unseated him, but
he took his pistol and killed the cat. I was afraid they would jump at
me. They growled and spit, and I edged away until I could shoot from my
pony, and when twenty-five yards away I slipped in two cartridges and
shot two of the cats. The fourth one got away and we were glad to let it
go. We took the three cats to town, skinned them, and sold the pelts to
Peddler Charley for one dollar. Tom talked about that hunt when I met
him in Oregon a few years ago.

_A Scare_

On another occasion, Perley Wilson and I took a hunt on the big island
south of the river where there were some buffalo. The snow was about
eight inches deep and we crossed the main stream on the ice. Before we
got over, I saw a moccasin track and showed it to Wilson. He said we had
better get out. "No," said I, "let us trail it and find where it goes."
It took us into a very brushy island. Wilson would go no further, but I
took my shotgun, cocked both barrels, and went on but with caution for
fear the Indian would see me first. I got just half way in, and I heard
a "Ugh!" right behind me. The hair on my head went straight up. I was
scared, but I managed to gasp, "Sioux?" "No, Pawnee. Heap good Indian."
Then he laughed and I breathed again. I asked, "What are you doing
here?" "Cooking beaver," he replied, and led the way to his fire. He had
a beaver skinned hanging on a plum tree and he had a tin can over the
fire, boiling the tail. I returned to Wilson and told him about it. He
said, "It is no use to try to sneak up on an Indian in the brush, for he
always sees you first." I could have shot the Indian, as he only had a
revolver, but that would have been cowardly as he had the first drop on
me and could have had my scalp. We got home with no game that day.



On April 5, 1873, I arrived at Plum Creek, now Lexington, with what was
called the second colony from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Captain F. J.
Pearson, who was in charge, later became editor of the _Pioneer_. Judge
Robert B. Pierce and the Tucker family were also with this colony. On
our arrival the only town we found was a mile east of the present site
of Lexington. It consisted of a section house, a small shanty called the
Johnson restaurant, one story and a half log house run by Daniel Freeman
as a general store, and a stockade built of ties used as a place of
safety for the horses and cows. The upper story of the Freeman building
was occupied by the Johnson family, who partitioned it off with blankets
to accommodate the immigrants, and the only lights we could depend on
were candle dips from the Freeman store at twenty-five cents each. At
this time bread sold at twenty-five cents per loaf.

There was also an immigrant house 20 by 40 feet located on the north
side of the railroad nearly opposite the other buildings referred to.
This house was divided into rooms 6 by 8 feet square with a hall
between. The front room was used as Dawson county's first office by John
H. MacColl, then county clerk. There was also a coal shed and a water
tank on the south side of the track. The depot was a mile west on a
railroad section where the town was finally built.

The reason for the change of townsite was a fight by Freeman against the
Union Pacific company. Freeman owned the quarter section of government
land, on which the buildings referred to were located.

The first house in Plum Creek was built by Robert Pierce, whose family
got permission to live in a freight car on the side-track while the
house was being built. While in the freight car the family was attacked
by measles. In order to gain entrance to this temporary residence a
step-ladder had to be used, and in visiting the family while in the
car, I would find them first at one end of the switch and next at the
other, and would have to transfer the ladder each time. Later on Robert
Pierce was elected probate judge and served until by reason of his age
he retired.

Tudor Tucker built the first frame house on Buffalo creek five miles
northeast of town. The first store building in Plum Creek was built by
Mr. Betz. The first hotel was built by E. D. Johnson, who deserves much
credit for his work in building up Dawson county. In 1873 the population
numbered about 175. The old townsite was soon abandoned and the town of
Plum Creek on its present site became a reality.

The completion of the Platte river bridge was celebrated July 4, 1873,
by a big demonstration. It then became necessary to get the trade from
the Republican Valley, Plum Creek being the nearest trading point for
that locality. Since there were no roads from the south, a route had to
be laid out. With this object in view, Judge Pierce, E. D. Johnson,
Elleck Johnson, and I constituted ourselves a committee to do the work.
We started across the country and laid up sod piles every mile, until we
reached the Arapahoe, 48 miles southwest. Coming back we shortened up
the curves. This was the first road from the south into Plum Creek, and
we derived a great amount of trade from this territory. It was no
uncommon thing for the Erwin & Powers Company, conducting a general
store at this time, to take in from one thousand to twelve hundred
dollars on Saturdays.

The first church and Sunday school was organized Sunday, April 13, 1873,
three and one-half miles north of town at the farm of Widow Mullen.
Those present, including myself, were: Mrs. Mullen and family, Captain
John S. Stuckey, afterwards treasurer of Dawson county, Joseph Stuckey,
Samuel Clay Stuckey and wife, Edgar Mellenger, and one negro servant.
Joseph Stuckey was appointed leader, James Tipton, superintendent of the
Sunday school, and I took charge of the music. The first regular sermon
was preached by a Mr. Wilson who came to Overton to live on a homestead.
He consented to preach for us until we could fill his place by an
appointment at general conference. We held the first regular service
both of the church and the Sunday school in the old frame schoolhouse
located in the east ward. We also held revivals in the Hill hall where
Smith's opera house now stands.

On this Sunday afternoon about five o'clock the great April storm
started with blizzard from the northwest. It was impossible for any of
us to get away until Tuesday afternoon. On Monday night Captain Stuckey,
Doc Mellenger, and I had to take the one bed. During the night the bed
broke down and we lay until morning huddled together to keep from
freezing. Mellenger and I left Tuesday afternoon, when the storm abated,
and started back toward the old town. The storm again caught us and
drifted us to Doc's old doby two and one-half miles north of the
townsite. By this time the snow had drifted from four to five feet in
depth. The horses took us to the dugout stable in which we put them.
Then we had to dig our way to the doby where we remained from Tuesday
evening until Thursday morning. We had nothing to eat during that time
but a few hard biscuits, a little bacon, and three frozen chickens, and
nothing but melted snow to drink. The bedstead was a home-made affair
built of pine boards. This we cut up and used for fuel and slept on the
dirt floor. The storm was so terrific that it was impossible to get to
the well, fifteen feet from the doby. We became so thirsty from the snow
water that Doc thought he would try to get to the well. He took a rope
and pistol, tied the rope around his waist and started for the well. His
instructions were that if I heard the pistol I was to pull him in. After
a very short time the pistol report came and I pulled and pulled and Doc
came tumbling in without pistol or bucket. It was so cold he had nearly
frozen his hands. Thursday was clear and beautiful. One of the persons
from Mullen's, having gone to town, reported that we had left there
Tuesday afternoon. On account of this report a searching party was sent
out to look for us.

Another item of interest was the Pawnee and Sioux massacre on August 5,
1873. It was the custom of the Pawnees, who were friendly and were
located on a reservation near Columbus, Nebraska, to go on a fall hunt
for buffalo meat for their winter use. The Sioux, who were on the Pine
Bluff reservation, had an old grudge against the Pawnees and knew when
this hunt took place. The Pawnees made Plum Creek their starting point
across the country southwest to the head of the Frenchman river. They
camped about ten miles northwest of Culbertson, a town on the B. & M.
railroad. The camp was in the head of a pocket which led from a
tableland to the Republican river. The Sioux drove a herd of buffalo on
the Pawnees while the latter were in camp. Not suspecting danger the
Pawnees began to kill the buffalo, when the Sioux came up, taking them
by surprise. The Pawnees, being outnumbered, fled down the cañon. The
Sioux followed on either bank and cross-fired them, killing and wounding
about a hundred. I was sent by the government with Mr. Longshore, the
Indian agent of Columbus, and two guides to the scene of the massacre,
which was about one hundred and forty miles southwest of Plum Creek, for
the purpose of looking after the wounded who might have been left
behind. We made this trip on horseback. The agent had the dead buried
and we followed up the wounded. We found twenty-two at Arapahoe and ten
or fifteen had left and started on the old Fort Kearny trail. We brought
the twenty-two wounded to Plum Creek, attended to their wounds and then
shipped them in a box car to the reservation at Columbus.

My first trip to Wood river valley twenty miles north, was to attend
James B. Mallott, one of the first settlers. They were afraid to let me
go without a guard but I had no fear of the Indians, so they gave me a
belt of cartridges and a Colt's revolver. Finally MacColl, the county
clerk, handed me a needle gun and commanded me to get back before dark.
I started on horseback with this arsenal for Wood river and made the
visit, but on my return I stopped to let the horse rest and eat
bluestem. Soon the horse became frightened and began to paw and snort.
On looking back toward the divide, I saw three Indians on horseback were
heading my way. We were not long in getting started. I beat them by a
mile to the valley, arriving safely at Tucker's farm on Buffalo creek.
The Indians did not follow but rode along the foothills to the west. A
party of four or five from Tucker's was not long in giving chase, but
the Indians had disappeared in the hills. A little later, Anton Abel,
who lived a mile north of town, came in on the run and stated that a
file of eight or ten Indians, with scalp sticks waving, were headed
south a half mile west of town. A number mounted their horses and gave
chase to the river where the Indians crossed and were lost sight of. We
never suffered much loss or injury from the Indians. Many scares were
reported, but like the buffalo after 1874-75, they were a thing of the
past in our county.

My practice for the first ten or twelve years among the sick and
injured, covered a field almost unlimited. I was called as far north as
Broken Bow in the Loup valley, fifty miles, east to Elm Creek, Buffalo
county, twenty miles, west to Brady Island, Lincoln county, thirty-five
miles, and south to the Republican river. Most of the time there were no
roads or bridges. The valley of the Platte in Dawson county is now the
garden spot of the state. As stated before the settlement of 1872 was on
the extreme edge of the frontier. Now we have no frontier. It is
progressive civilization from coast to coast. I have practiced my
profession for over forty years continuously in this state, and am still
in active practice. I have an abiding faith that I shall yet finish up
with an airship in which to visit my patients.



After repeated invitations from my old boyhood companion, Dr. Bancroft,
to visit him in his new home in western Nebraska, I left Philadelphia
and arrived in Omaha the early part of April, 1878. Omaha at that time
did not impress me very favorably. After buying my ticket to Plum Creek
(in those days you could only buy a ticket to Omaha) the next thing in
order was to get in line and have my trunk checked, and witness baggage
"smashers" demolish a few trunks, then coolly offer to rope them at
twenty-five cents each. Our train left at 11 a. m. and arrived in Plum
Creek at 11 p. m., good time for those days. The train left with all
seats occupied and some passengers standing. Everybody was eager to see
the great prairie country. We expected to see Indians and buffalo, but
only a few jack rabbits appeared, which created quite a laugh, as it was
the first time any of us had ever seen one run. After we had traveled
about twenty miles, "U. P. Sam," as he called himself, came into our car
and treated us to a song of his own composition. In his song he related
all the wonders of the great Union Pacific railroad and the country
between Omaha and Ogden. I saw him two years later in Dawson county,
playing the violin at a country dance, and singing songs about different
persons at the gathering. All you had to do was to give him a few points
as to a man's disposition and habits with a few dimes and he would have
the whole company laughing.

We stopped at Grand Island for supper, and in due time arrived in Plum
Creek. Dr. Bancroft was waiting for me and after being introduced to
many of his western friends, we retired for the night. Next morning
feeling the necessity of visiting a barber shop, I asked the doctor if
there was a barber shop in town. Judging from the accommodations at the
hotel I had my doubts. "We have a good barber in town," he replied, "but
I will go with you." On arriving at the corner of what is now Main and
Depot streets we entered a building which I discovered to be a saloon.
I protested, but before I had had time to say much, the doctor asked the
barkeeper where Ed. (the barber) was. "Why, he has gone south of the
river to plaster a house," was the reply. Then I thought "what kind of a
country have I come to, barber and plasterer the same person." Then my
mind wandered back to the far East where I saw a comfortable bath room,
and I thought "What can the doctor see in this country to deny himself
all the comforts of home?" Before I had time to recover from my
reveries, I was surrounded by cowboys who insisted that I drink with
them. I protested and if it had not been for Dr. Bancroft I suppose they
would have made me dance to the music of their six shooters or drink,
but as I was a friend of "Little Doc" (as they called him) that was
sufficient and the tenderfoot was allowed to leave. Then and only then I
saw in the northwest corner of the room the barber's chair.

I accompanied Dr. Bancroft on many drives over the country going as far
north as the Loup and Dismal rivers. We went several times south to
Arapahoe; in fact it was but a short time before I was acquainted with
most all the settlers in Dawson and adjacent counties. The population at
that time was hardly 2,000 in Dawson county. In a very short time I
began to feel more at home. The hospitality of the people was something
I had never dreamed of; the climate and good fresh air so invigorating
that I soon adjusted myself to surrounding conditions, and before I had
been here a month I decided to cast my lot with the rest of the new
settlers and became one of them.

While I have had many ups and downs I cannot say that I regret having
done so. When I look back and think of the many friends I made in the
early days and how we stood hand in hand in our adversities as well as
in our good fortunes, I cannot help feeling that we are more than
friends and belong to one big family.



I came from Canada to Leavenworth, Kansas. Mr. Freeman was a freighter
to Pike's Peak, but was not always successful. He spent $4,000 on one
train and came back with only a team of oxen and a team of ponies. The
next spring, 1862, I bought a stage-coach and using the pony team, I
took my three children, the youngest only two months old, and drove all
the way to Nebraska. My husband was there and had started a little store
just across from the pony express station on Plum creek. He bought
buffalo hides of the Indians and shipped them east. The buffalo were in
easy reach and we had fresh meat every day. We had a big sign with the
word "Bakery" on it. I baked a hundred pounds of flour every day. I
would make yeast bread over night and bake it in the forenoon, and make
salt-rising in the morning and bake it in the afternoon. We got St.
Louis flour that the freighters brought from Denver when they came back.
I sold my bread for fifty cents a loaf and made as much as thirty
dollars a day. I made cheese, too. We had seventy-five head of cows and
milked twenty-five. We would take a young calf and let it fill its
stomach with its mother's milk, then kill it. Then we took the stomach
and washed and wiped it and hung it up on a nail to dry. When it was
perfectly dry we would put it away carefully in a cloth and used it for
rennet to make the cheese. I would put a little piece of it in new
milk and it would form a solid curd. My husband made me a press and a
mold. I got twenty-five cents a pound for my cheese, and sold lots of
it. I got up fine meals and charged two dollars a meal. The people were
glad to pay it. There was plenty of firewood. The trees drifted down the
river and we piled the wood up on the islands, but after the settlers
came they would steal it. There was no need of anybody going hungry
those days, for anyone could kill a buffalo. One day a herd of thirty
came within ten feet of our door, and our cows went away with them. The
children and I walked three miles before we came up to the cows and
could get them back home. We were near the river and it was not far down
to water. We dug holes in the ground and sunk five salt barrels. The
water came up in these and we always had plenty of water. Sometimes we
dipped the barrels dry, but they would be full the next morning. There
wasn't a pump in the country for years.

The people who kept the Pony Express station were named Humphries. These
stations were about fifty miles apart. There would be lots of people at
the station every night, for after the Indians became troublesome, the
people went in trains of about a hundred wagons. There were many six
oxen teams. The Indians never troubled anybody until the whites killed
so many buffalo and wasted so much. There were carcasses all over the
prairies. The Indians used every part, and they knew this great
slaughter of the buffalo meant starvation for them, so they went on the
warpath in self-defense. They would skulk on the river bank where the
trail came close, and would rush up and attack the travelers. The
soldiers were sent out as escorts and their families often went with
them. One night at Plum Creek Pony Express station twin babies were born
to the lieutenant and wife. I went over in the morning to see if I could
help them, but they were all cared for by the lieutenant. He had washed
the babies and had the tent in order. I do not remember his name now. We
often saw tiny babies with their mothers lying in the wagons that came
by. They would be wrapped up, and looked very comfortable. Water was so
scarce that they had to pay for enough to wash the babies.

Brigham Young made trip after trip with foreign people of all kinds but
blacks. Most of these could not speak English, and I don't think Brigham
bought any water for them, as they were filthy dirty. Brigham was a
great big fat man, and he kept himself pretty neat. He made just about
one trip a year. One company of these immigrants was walking through,
and the train was a couple of miles long. They went south of the river
on the Oregon trail. There was no other road then.

On August 8, 1864, the Sioux people killed eleven men at 11:00 o'clock
in the morning, on Elm creek. I was afraid to stay on our ranch, so I
took the children and started to Fort Kearny. On the way we came to the
place of the massacre. The dead men were lying side by side in a long
trench, their faces were covered with blood and their boots were on.
Three women were taken prisoners. I heard that there were two children
in the party, and that they were thrown in the grass, but I looked all
around for them and didn't find any signs of them. Friends of these
people wrote to Mr. E. M. F. Leflang, to know if he could locate them.
The Indians never troubled us except to take one team during this war,
but I was always afraid when I saw the soldiers coming. They would come
in the store and help themselves to tobacco, cookies, or anything. Then
the teamsters would swing their long black-snake whips and bring them
down across my chicken's heads, then pick them up and carry them to
camp. I think the officers were the most to blame, for they sold the
soldiers' rations, and the men were hungry.

When the Union Pacific railroad was first built we lived on our
homestead north of the river and the town was started on our land. We
had the contract to supply the wood for the engines. They didn't use any
other fuel then. We hired men to cut the wood on Wood river where
Eddyville and Sumner are now. I boarded the men in our new big house
across from the depot in old Plum Creek. The store was below and there
was an outside stairway for the men to go up. That summer Mr. Freeman
was in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York talking up this country.
Mr. Freeman was the first county clerk and his office was upstairs over
the store. We rented some of the rooms to newcomers. We did a big
business until the railroad moved the town to their section, a mile
west. Mr. Freeman kept on trapping, and finally was drowned near
Deadwood, South Dakota. I stayed by Dawson county and raised my family
and they all are settled near me and have good homes.



Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Hewitt, in June, 1873, journeyed from Forreston,
Illinois, to Plum Creek, Nebraska. Their object was to take advantage of
the offer the government was making to civil war soldiers, whereby each
soldier could obtain one hundred and sixty acres of land. They stopped
at Grand Island and Kearney, but at neither place could they find two
adjoining quarter sections, not yet filed on. They wanted two, for my
grandfather, Rockwood, who lived with us was also a soldier. At Plum
Creek, now Lexington, they were able to obtain what they wanted but it
was six miles northwest of the station.

Plum Creek at that early date consisted of the depot. The town was a
mile east and when my parents arrived at Plum Creek, they were obliged
to walk back to the town, in order to find lodging for the night. Rooms
seem to have been scarce for they had to share theirs with another man
and his wife. They found a place to eat in the restaurant owned by Mr.
and Mrs. E. D. Johnson.

In August of the same year, they made a second trip to Nebraska, this
time with wagon and carriage, bringing with others a carpenter who built
their house upon the dividing line of the two homesteads. This house had
the distinction of being the first two-story house in the neighborhood.
All the others were one-story, because the settlers feared the high
winds that occasionally swept over the prairies. For a few months it was
the farthest away from town.

In the three months between the two trips the town had moved to the
depot, and had grown from nothing to a village of sixty houses and
stores. The Johnsons had brought their restaurant and placed it upon the
site where a little later they built a hotel called the Johnson house.
Mr. T. Martin had built the first hotel which he named the Alhambra. I
have a very faint recollection of being in this hotel when the third
trip brought the household goods and the family to the new home. It was
in December when this last journey was taken, and great was the
astonishment of the older members of the family to see the ground
covered with a foot of snow. They had been told that there was
practically no winter in Nebraska, and they had believed the statement.
They found that the thermometer could drop almost out of sight with the
cold, and yet the greater part of many winters was very pleasant.

My father opened a law office in the town and T. L. Warrington, who
taught the first school in the village, read law with him, and kept the
office open when the farm required attention. The fields were small at
first and did not require so very much time.

The first exciting event was a prairie fire. A neighbor's family was
spending the day at our farm and some other friends also came to call.
The day was warm, no wind was stirring until about 4 o'clock, when it
suddenly and with much force blew from the north and brought the fire,
which had been smoldering for some days in the bluffs to the north of
the farm, down into the valley with the speed of a racing automobile. We
children were very much frightened, and grandmother who was sick with a
headache, was so startled she forgot her pain--did not have any in fact.
Mother and Mrs. Fagot, the neighbor's wife, were outside loosening the
tumble weeds and sending them along with the wind before the fire could
catch them. In that way they saved the house from catching fire. My
father, who had seen the fire come over the hills, as he was driving
from town, had unhitched the horses and riding one of them as fast as
possible, reached home in time to watch the hay stacks. Three times they
caught fire and each time he beat it out with a wet gunny sack. I think
this happened in March, 1874.

That same year about harvest time the country was visited by
grasshoppers. They did considerable damage by nipping off the oat heads
before the farmers could finish the reaping. My aunt who was visiting us
suggested that the whole family walk through the potato field and send
the hoppers into the grass beyond. It was a happy thought, for the
insects ate grass that night and the next day a favorable wind sent them
all away.

The worst grasshopper visitation we had was in July, 1876. One Sunday
morning father and mother and I went to town to church. The small grain
had been harvested and the corn all along the way was a most beautiful,
dark green. When we were about a mile from town a slight shade seemed to
come over the sun; when we looked up for the cause, we saw millions of
grasshoppers slowly dropping to the ground. They came down in such
numbers that they clung two or three deep to every green thing. The
people knew that nothing in the way of corn or gardens could escape such
devastating hordes and they were very much discouraged. To add to their
troubles, the Presbyterian minister that morning announced his intention
to resign. He, no doubt, thought he was justified.

I was pretty small at that time and did not understand what it all
meant, but I do know that as we drove home that afternoon, the
cornfields looked as they would in December after the cattle had fed on
them--not a green shred left. The asparagus stems, too, were equally
bare. The onions were eaten down to the very roots. Of the whole garden,
there was, in fact, nothing left but a double petunia, which grandmother
had put a tub over. So ravenous were the pests that they even ate the
cotton mosquito netting that covered the windows.

In a day or two when nothing remained to eat, the grasshoppers spread
their wings and whirred away. Then grandfather said, "We will plant some
beans and turnips, there is plenty of time for them to mature before
frost." Accordingly, he put in the seeds and a timely rain wet them so
that in a very few days they had sprouted and were well up, when on
Monday morning, just two weeks and one day from the time of the first
visitation, a second lot dropped down and breakfasted off grandfather's
beans. It was too late in the season then to plant more.

My mother had quite a flock of turkeys and a number of chickens. They
were almost dazed at the sight of so many perfectly good insects. They
tried to eat them all but had to give up the task. They ate enough,
however, to make themselves sick.

This time I believe the grasshoppers stayed several days. They seemed to
be hunting some good hard ground in which to lay their eggs. The
following spring the warm days brought out millions of little ones,
which a prairie fire later destroyed.

The corn crop having been eaten green and the wheat acreage being rather
small, left many people with nothing to live on during the winter. Many
moved away and many of those who could not get away had to be helped. It
was then that Dawson county people learned that they had good friends in
the neighboring states for they sent carloads of food and clothing to
their less fortunate neighbors.

A good many homesteaders were well-educated, refined people from
Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere. They were a very congenial
company and often had social times together. They were for the most part
young people, some with families of young children, others just married,
and some unmarried. I remember hearing my mother tell of a wedding that
she and father attended. The ceremony was performed at a private house
and then the whole company adjourned to a large hall where everybody who
wanted to, danced and the rest watched until the supper was served by
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in their new hotel. The bride on this occasion was
Miss Addie Bradley and the groom was W. H. Lingle, at one time county
superintendent of public instruction.

For some time after the starting of the town of Plum Creek there was no
church edifice but there was a good sized schoolhouse, and here each
Sunday morning the people for miles around gathered. One Sunday the
Methodist preacher talked to all the people and the next week the
Presbyterian minister preached to the same congregation, until the
courthouse was built, and then the Presbyterians used the courtroom. I
have heard the members say that they received more real good from those
union services than they ever did when each denomination had a church of
its own. The Episcopalians in the community were the most enterprising
for they built the first church, a little brick building that seated one
hundred people. It was very plainly furnished, but it cost fifteen
hundred dollars, due to the fact that the brick was brought from Kearney
and freight rates were high. It stood on the site of the present modern
building and was built in 1874. My grandfather, an ardent Churchman,
often read the service when there was no rector in town.

Speaking of the courthouse reminds me that it was not always put to the
best use. I cannot remember when the following incident occurred, but I
do remember hearing it talked of. A man who lived on the south side of
the Platte river was accused of poisoning some flour that belonged to
another man. He was ordered arrested and two or three men, among them
Charles Mayes, the deputy sheriff, were sent after him. He resisted
arrest and using his gun, killed Mayes. He was finally taken and brought
to town and put into the county jail in the basement of the courthouse.
Mayes had been a very popular man and the feeling was very high against
his slayer, so high, indeed, that some time between night and morning
the man was taken from the jail, and the next morning his lifeless body
was found hanging at the back door of the courthouse.

One of the pleasures of the pioneer is hunting. In the early days there
was plenty of game in Dawson county, buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, jack
rabbits, and several game birds, such as plover, prairie hen, ducks,
geese, and cranes. By the time we arrived, however, the buffalo had been
driven so far away that they were seldom seen. There was plenty of
buffalo meat in the market, however, for hunters followed them and shot
them, mostly for their hides. The meat was very good, always tender and
of fine flavor. My father rushed into the house one day and called for
his revolver. A herd of buffalo was racing across the fields towards the
bluffs on the north. Father and some of the men with him, thought
possibly they might get near enough to shoot one. But although he rode
as fast as his pony could carry him, he could not get close enough and
the herd, once it reached the hills was safe. The poor beasts had been
chased for miles and were weary, but they did not give up. The cows
huddled the calves together and pushed them along and the bulls led the
way. Father learned afterward that his pony had been trained by the
Indians to hunt; and if he had given him the rein and allowed him to go
at it in his own way, he would have gone so close that father could have
shot one. But he did not know this until the buffalo were far away.



In the early history of Lexington, Nebraska, as in all western states,
there was no crime committed more reprehensible than that of stealing a
horse. One might kill a man and it would be overlooked or excused, but
the offense of stealing a horse was a crime that nothing could atone for
but the "wiping out" of the thief. And generally when the horse thief
was caught the nearest tree or the upraised end of a wagon tongue was
immediately brought into use as a gallows upon which the criminal was
duly hanged without the formalities of courts or juries. It was amply
sufficient to know that the accused had stolen a horse, and it mattered
but little to whom the horse belonged or whether the owner was present
to take a hand in the execution. The culprit was dealt with in such
manner that he never stole another animal.

This sentiment prevailed among the first settlers of Dawson county, as
was shown in 1871, shortly after the organization of the county. Among
the officials of the county at that time was a justice of the peace, a
sturdy, honest man, who had been a resident of the county several years
before it was organized. One day in 1871 a half-breed Sioux came riding
from the east into Plum Creek (as Lexington was then called). The Indian
stopped in the town and secured a meal for himself and feed for his

While he was eating, two Pawnee warriors arrived at the station on a
freight train, from the east. They at once hunted up the sheriff, a
broad-shouldered Irishman named John Kehoe, and made complaint that the
half-breed Sioux had stolen a horse from one of them and had the animal
in his possession. Complaint was formally made and a warrant issued for
the half-breed's arrest upon the charge of horse-stealing, the warrant
being issued by the aforesaid justice of the peace.

The Sioux was at once taken in custody by the sheriff and brought before
the justice. One of the Pawnees swore the horse the half-breed rode when
he entered the town was his property, and the other Pawnee upon oath
declared he knew it was. The prisoner denied the statement made by the
Pawnees and vehemently declared the animal was his property; that he
came by it honestly, and that the Pawnee had no title whatever in the

There was no jury to hear and judge the evidence, and the justice was
compelled to decide the case. He had had some experience with redskins,
and entertained but small regard for any of them, but as the
preponderance of the evidence was against the Sioux, he decided the
latter was guilty, and after a short study of the matter sentenced the
culprit to be hanged.

There were no lawyers in Plum Creek at that time, a condition that has
not existed since, and each side did its own talking. The Sioux at once
filed a vigorous complaint against the sentence, but was ordered by the
court to keep still.

Realizing he had no chance, he became silent, but some of the citizens
who were present and listening to the trial, interposed objections to
the strenuous sentence, and informed the court that "as we are now
organized into a county and have to go by law, you can't sentence a man
to hang fer stealin' a hoss."

This staggered the justice somewhat and he again took the matter under
advisement, and shortly after made the following change in the sentence,
addressing the prisoner as follows "----, Dem laws don't let you get
hanged, vich iss not right. You iss one teef; dat iss a sure ting, and I
shust gif you fifteen minutes to git out of dis state of Newbrasky."

The Pawnee secured possession of the horse, but whether it belonged to
them or not is questionable, and hit the eastern trail for the "Pawnee
house," while the Sioux warrior hastily got himself together and made a
swift hike toward the setting sun and safety.



The late John H. MacColl came to Dawson county in 1869 to benefit his
health, but shortly after reaching here he had an attack of mountain
fever, that left his lower limbs paralyzed. The nearest medical aid he
could get was from the army surgeon at Fort McPherson, forty miles to
the west. He made a number of trips to attend Mr. MacColl, and finally
told him that he would never be any better. An old Indian medicine man
happened along about that time and he went to see Mr. MacColl. By
curious signs, gesticulations, and grunts, he made Mr. MacColl
understand that he could cure him and that he would be back the next day
at the rising of the sun. True to his word, he came, bringing with him
an interpreter who explained to Mr. MacColl that the medicine man could
cure him if he would submit to his treatment. Mr. MacColl was desperate
and willing to do almost anything, so he agreed. The patient was
stripped and laid flat on a plank. The medicine man then took a
saw-edged knife and made no less than a hundred tiny gashes all over his
patient's body. This done he produced a queer herb, and began chewing
it. Then he spit it in his hand, as needed, and rubbed it into each tiny
wound. That was all, and in three days Mr. MacColl could stand alone,
and in a week he could walk.

This incident was told to me in 1910 by the sister, Laura MacColl.



I left southwest Missouri late in October, 1872, accompanied by my
sister, and journeyed by team via Topeka, Kansas, to Nebraska. We spent
our first night in Nebraska at Fairbury, November 8, 1872. Trains on the
St. Joe and Grand Island railroad had just reached that point.

After visiting a few days with the Carney families near Fairmont we took
the train for Plum Creek (now Lexington) and reached Kearney at 10
o'clock P. M. All rooms being occupied we sat in the office of the hotel
till morning. None of the Union Pacific trains stopped at that place
except to take mail. At 10 o'clock that night we got a train to Plum
Creek, which place we reached at 12 o'clock. There being no hotel we
stayed in the depot until morning, when we found our brother living on a

During our stay I filed on land six miles northeast of Plum Creek. The
next April I brought my family by wagon over the same route and reached
Dawson county a month after the noted Easter storm of 1873. At that time
we saw hundreds of hides of Texas cattle, that had perished in the
storm, hanging on fences surrounding the stockyards at Elm Creek.

We remained on our homestead until August, 1876, at which time we came
to Fillmore county and bought the southwest quarter of section eleven in
Madison township, which place we now own.



Charles J. Erickson left Sweden in 1864 and for two years lived in New
York, Indiana, and Illinois. In 1866 he moved to Fort McPherson,
Nebraska. He worked around the Fort until 1871 when he took a homestead
nine miles east. The next year, he sent to Sweden for his family. They
arrived at McPherson station--now Maxwell--on September 1, 1872. Mr.
Erickson died in April, 1877. The family resided on the old homestead
until 1910, when they moved to Gothenburg, Nebraska. The sons, Frank and
John Erickson, who still reside in Nebraska, unite in the following

"Coming to this part of the state at so early a date we have been eye
witnesses to the development and transformation of the country from a
bleak, wild prairie covered with blue stem grasses, upon which fed
thousands of buffalo, deer, antelope, and elk. The Indians still
controlled the country and caused us to have many sleepless nights.

"In those early days we always took our guns with us when we went away
from home, or into the field to work. Several times we were forced to
seek shelter in the Fort, or in some home, saving our scalps from the
Indians by the fleetness of our ponies. But how changed now.

"One of our early recollections is the blackened posts and poles along
the old Oregon trail. As we gazed down the trail these looked like
sentinels guarding the way, but we soon learned they were the poles of
the first telegraph line built across Nebraska. It extended from
Nebraska City to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When the Union Pacific railroad
was built through here--on the north side of the river--in 1866, the
telegraph line followed and the old line on the south side of the Platte
was abandoned. The old poles were of red cedar taken from the cañons and
were all burned black by the prairie fires. They soon disappeared, being
used by the Indians and the emigrants for firewood. The old trail and
telegraph line crossed our farm and only a few years ago we dug out of
the ground one of the stubs of a cedar telegraph pole about two feet in
diameter and six feet long, and there are still more of these old stubs
in our fields.

"In the early seventies the most prominent ranches in this section were
Upper 96 and Lower 96. These ranches had first been the relay stations
of the old Wells Fargo Express Company. At each of these may be seen
well preserved cedar log buildings still in use built by this company
when they first established their express business across the plains in
the middle of the last century. On the advent of the Union Pacific, the
Wells Fargo Express Company abandoned these stations and they became the
property of the 96 Ranch. Although they have passed through the hands of
several different owners they have always retained their names of Upper
96 ranch and Lower 96 ranch.

"The cañons leading into the hills from the south side of the river are
named from the early ranches along the valley near the mouths of the
cañons; Conroy from Conroy's ranch, Jeffrie from Jeffrie's ranch, Gilman
from Gilman's ranch, and Hiles from Hiles' ranch. An exception to the
above is the Dan Smith cañon which is named after Dan Smith in memory of
the tragedy with which his name is connected. Dan Smith and wife were
working at the Lower 96 ranch in 1871. Mrs. Smith wished to attend a
ball to be given by the officers at Fort McPherson and wanted her
husband to go with her, but he being of a jealous disposition refused to
go. She mounted her horse and started to go alone when he called to her
to come back and take his gun to protect herself from the Indians. She
turned around and started back toward him. He drew his gun and fired,
killing her instantly. She was buried at the Lower 96 ranch and until a
few years ago her grave was kept green. After shooting his wife, Dan
Smith mounted her horse and rode away into the hills to the south. The
soldiers at the Fort twenty-five miles away were notified and the next
day they came to hunt for the murderer. They surrounded him in a cañon
in the hills and there shot him to death leaving his body a prey for
buzzards and wolves. The cañon to this day is called Dan Smith Cañon and
through it is the main road leading from Gothenburg to Farnam,



Fremont was named for John C. Fremont, who was a candidate against
Buchanan for president. The first stakes were set August 23, 1856, the
boundaries being finished three days later. "The first habitation of any
sort, was constructed of poles surrounded by prairie grass. It was built
and owned by E. H. Barnard and J. Koontz, in 1856, and stood upon the
site of the present Congregational church." In the autumn of 1856,
Robert Kittle built and owned the first house. A few weeks later his
house was occupied by Rev. Isaac E. Heaton, wife and two daughters, who
were the first family to keep house in Fremont. Alice Flor, born in the
fall of 1857, was the first child born in Fremont. She is now Mrs.
Gilkerson, of Wahoo. The first male child born in Fremont was Fred
Kittle. He was born in March, 1858, and died in 1890. On August 23,
1858, occurred the first marriage. The couple were Luther Wilson and
Eliza Turner. The first death was that of Seth P. Marvin, who was
accidentally drowned in April, 1857, while crossing the Elkhorn seven
miles northeast of Fremont. The Marvin home was a mile and a quarter
west of Fremont and this house was the rendezvous of the parties who
laid out Fremont. Mr. Marvin was one of the town company.

The first celebration of the Fourth of July was in 1857. Robert Kittle
sold the first goods. J. G. and Towner Smith conducted the first regular
store. In 1860, the first district school was opened with Miss McNeil
teacher. Then came Mary Heaton, now Mrs. Hawthorne. Mrs. Margaret
Turner, followed by James G. Smith, conducted the first hotel situated
where the First National bank now is. This was also the "stage house,"
and here all the traders stopped en route from Omaha to Denver. In the
evening the old hotel resounded with the music of violin and the sound
of merry dancing. Charles Smith conducted a drug store where Holloway
and Fowler now are. A telegraph line was established in 1860. The first
public school was held in a building owned by the Congregational
church at the corner of Eighth and D streets. Miss Sarah Pneuman, now
Mrs. Harrington, of Fremont, was the teacher. When court convened,
school adjourned, there being no courthouse. In three years the school
had grown from sixteen to one hundred pupils, with three teachers. The
first public schoolhouse was built at the corner of Fifth and D streets.
In 1866 the Union Pacific was built. The first bank was established in
1867. The _Tribune_, the first newspaper, was published July 24, 1868.
"The Central School" was built in 1869 and the teacher, in search of
truant boys, would ascend to the top, where with the aid of field glass,
she could see from the Platte to the Elkhorn. Today, can be seen on the
foundations of this old landmark, the marks of slate pencils, which were
sharpened by some of our middle aged business men of today.


Erected by Lewis-Clark Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution]

Mrs. Cynthia Hamilton, of Fremont, gives an interesting account of the
early days. In June, 1857, she, with her husband, Mr. West, their
daughter, Julia, Mrs. West's brother, the late Wilson Reynolds, and Mrs.
Reynolds, reached the few dwellings then comprising Fremont, after an
eighteen or nineteen days trip in moving wagons from Racine, Wisconsin.
They first stopped at the house of Robert Kittle, corner Military and
Broad streets. This house was made from trees grown on the bluffs
southwest of town, and had a red cedar shingle roof, the shingles shaved
from logs floated down the Platte. After two days, they all moved to a
log house in "Pierce's Grove." While living here, Mrs. Hamilton tells of
hearing a great commotion among the tinware and upon investigation,
found it was caused by a huge snake. In August of the same year they
moved to their homestead, northwest of town, on the Rawhide. It is now
known as the Rohr place. Here they remained two years. In winter the men
made trips to the river for wood, and the women must either accompany
them or remain at home, alone, far from another house. Thus, alone one
day, she saw a large band of Indians approaching. The chief, picking up
an axe from the wood pile, placed it under the window where she sat,
indicating that she must take care of it, else some one might steal it.
He then led his band northward. During all the residence on the
homestead the three members of the family suffered continually from
ague. In the fall of 1859, Mrs. West and her child returned to
Wisconsin, where they remained ten months. During her absence, Mr. West
became a trader with the Indians and once in Saunders county as he was
selling a quantity of meat on a temporary counter, the Indians became
rather unruly. His white companions fled, and Mr. West seizing a club,
went among the Indians, striking them right and left. For this, they
called him a brave and ever afterwards called him "Buck Skadaway,"
meaning curly hair. When Mrs. West returned from Wisconsin, she came
down the Mississippi and up the Missouri to Omaha, then a small town.
From there they drove to Fremont, with horse and buggy, via Florence.
Mr. West now bought a cottonwood house, battened up and down. It
consisted of two rooms, and stood on the site of the present residence
of Thad Quinn. Wilson Reynolds bought two lots on the south side of
Sixth street near the West home for twenty-five cents. Here he built a
house made partly of black walnut taken from the banks of the Platte. In
this house, was born our present postmaster, B. W. Reynolds. Mrs.
Hamilton relates that the Indians were frequent callers at her home, one
even teaching her to make "corn coffee," "by taking a whole ear of corn,
burning it black and then putting it in the coffee pot." Food consisted
of vegetables, which were grown on the prairie sod, prairie chickens,
small game, and corn bread. Butter was twenty-five cents a pound. Syrup
was made by boiling down watermelon. Boiled beans were mashed to a pulp
and used as butter. "Everything was high and when the money and supplies
which we bought were exhausted it was hard to get more." Screens were
unknown and the flies and mosquitoes were terrible. In the evenings
everyone would build a smudge so that they could sleep. Not a tree was
to be seen except those on the banks of the streams. Tall prairie grass
waved like the ocean and prairie fires were greatly feared. Everyone
began setting out trees at once.

"In those days Broad street was noted as a racing road for the Indians
and now it is a boulevard for automobiles," says Mrs. Hamilton. "Yes,"
she continued, "I well remember the Fourth of July celebration in 1857.
There were about one hundred people in attendance. Miss McNeil was my
little girl's first teacher and Dr. Rhustrat was our first physician."
In 1861, after a short illness, Mr. West died. He was buried beside his
infant daughter in the cemetery, which at that time stood near the
present brewery. The bodies were afterward removed to Barnard's
cemetery and later to Ridge. The following year, Mrs. West, with her
daughter, Julia, returned to her parents at Racine, Wisconsin, where she
remained for many years. In 1876, as the wife of William Hamilton she
returned and made her home on one of her farms near the stockyards.
Twenty-five years ago this place was sold for $100 per acre while the
old homestead northwest of town brought $25 per acre in 1875. After
selling the south farm she and Mr. Hamilton, who died a few years ago,
bought the present home on Broad street. Everyone should honor the early
settlers, who left their eastern homes, endured hardships and privations
that a beautiful land might be developed for posterity. They should be
pensioned as well as our soldiers. And we, of the younger generation,
should respect and reverence their memory.



I came to Fremont, Nebraska, in May, 1870, and settled on a farm on
Maple creek. In 1874 or 1875 we were visited by grasshoppers. I had
never formed an idea of anything so disastrous. When the "hoppers" were
flying the air was full of them. As one looked up, they seemed like a
severe snow storm. It must have been like one of the plagues of Egypt.
They were so bad one day that the passenger train on the Union Pacific
was stalled here. I went to see the train and the odor from the crushed
insects was nauseating. I think the train was kept here for three hours.
The engine was besmeared with them. It was a very wonderful sight. The
rails and ground were covered with the pests. They came into the houses
and one lady went into her parlor one day and found her lace curtains on
the floor, almost entirely eaten. Mrs. George Turner said that she came
home from town one day when the "hoppers" were flying and they were so
thick that the horses could not find the barn. Mrs. Turner's son had a
field of corn. W. R. Wilson offered him fifty dollars for it. When he
began to husk it, there was no corn there. A hired man of Mrs. Turner's
threw his vest on the ground. When he had finished his work and picked
up the vest it was completely riddled by the grasshoppers. I heard one
man say that he was out riding with his wife and they stopped by a field
of wheat where the "hoppers" were working and they could hear their
mandibles working on the wheat. When they flew it sounded like a train
of cars in motion. Horses would not face them unless compelled. One year
I had an eighty acre field of corn which was being cultivated. The men
came in and said the "hoppers" were taking the corn. They did not stay
long, but when they left no one would have known that there had ever
been any corn in that field. My brother from California came in 1876. On
the way to the farm a thunder storm came up and we stopped at a friend's
until it was over. My brother said, "I would not go through the
experience again for $10,000, and I would not lose the experience for
the same amount." The "hoppers" came before the storm and were thick on
the ground. It was a wonderful experience. In those days we cut our
small grain with "headers." The grain head was cut and fell into boxes
on wagons. After dinner one day, the men went out to find the
grasshoppers in full possession. A coat which had been left hanging was
completely destroyed. Gardens and field crops were their delight. They
would eat an onion entirely out of the hard outer skin. I had a thirty
acre field of oats which looked fine on Saturday. We could not harvest
it then and on Monday it looked like an inverted whisk broom. Some of
the "hoppers" were three inches long. The backs were between brown and
slate color and underneath was white. I think we received visits from
them for five years.



From the year 1856 until the beginning of the civil war in 1861 the
early settlers of Nebraska experienced nearly all of the ills and
hardships incidental to a pioneer life. Fifty years have passed since
then and to one having lived through those trying days--or to a stranger
who merely listens to the almost incredulous tales of a past
generation--there arises a question as to why any sane person or persons
should desire to leave a land of comparative comfort and plenty for one
of deprivation and possible starvation.

The early settlers of Fremont were for the most part young people from
the eastern states, full of ambition and hope. There is in the youthful
heart a spirit of energy, of doing and daring in order to realize, if
possible, dreams of a perhaps glorious future in which may be won honor
and fame and wealth. Then again the forces of nature are never at rest
and man, being a part of the great whole, must inevitably keep in step
with the universal law. A few lines written for a paper several years
ago give the first impression of the landscape which greeted the eyes of
a stranger on entering the valley of the Elkhorn river in 1858, April

"This is the picture as I see it plainly in retrospect--a country, and
it was all a country, with a smooth, level, gray surface which appeared
to go on toward the west forever and forever. On the north were the
bluffs of the Elkhorn river, but the great Elkhorn Valley was a part of
an unknown world. South of the little townsite of Fremont the Platte
river moved sluggishly along to meet and be swallowed up in the great
Missouri. Ten or twelve log cabins broke the monotony of the treeless
expanse that stretched far away, apparently to a leaden sky. My heart
sank within me as I thought but did not say, 'How can I ever live in a
place like this?'" And yet the writer of the above lines has lived in
Fremont for forty-seven years.

The histories of the world are chiefly men's histories. They are
stories of governments, of religions, of wars, and only in exceptional
instances has woman appeared to hold any important place in the affairs
of nations. From the earliest settlement of the colonies in the new
world until the present time, women have not only borne with bravery and
fortitude the greater trials of the pioneer life, but from their
peculiar organization and temperament suffered more from the small
annoyances than their stronger companions of the other sex. The
experiences of the home and family life of the early settlers of the
great West have never entered into the annals of history nor can a
truthful story be told without them, but thus far no doubt the apparent
neglect has been due to woman herself, who until quite recently has felt
that she was a small factor in the world's affairs.

In the beginning of the new life in Fremont women had their first
introduction to the log cabin which was to be their home for many years.
It was not as comfortable as it looks picturesque and romantic printed
on paper. It was a story and a half high, sixteen by twenty feet in
size. The logs were hewn on two sides, but the work performed by the
volunteer carpenters of that time was not altogether satisfactory,
consequently the logs did not fit closely but the open spaces between
were filled with a sort of mortar that had a faculty of gradually
dropping off as it dried, leaving the original holes and openings
through which the winter winds whistled and Nebraska breezes blew the

The houses were made of cottonwood logs and finished with cottonwood
lumber. The shingles warped so the roof somewhat resembled a sieve. The
rain dripped through it in summer and snow sifted through it in winter.
The floors were made of wide rough boards, the planing and polishing
given by the broom, the old-fashioned mop, and the scrubbing brush. The
boards warped and shrunk so that the edges turned up, making wide cracks
in the floor through which many small articles dropped down into a large
hole in the ground miscalled a cellar. It was hardly possible to keep
from freezing in these houses in winter. Snow sifted through the roof,
covering beds and floors. The piercing winds blew through every crack
and crevice. Green cottonwood was the only fuel obtainable and that
would sizzle and fry in the stove while water froze standing under the
stove. This is no fairy tale.

The summers were not much more pleasant. It must be remembered that
there were no trees in Fremont, nothing that afforded the least
protection from the hot rays of a Nebraska sun. Mosquitoes and flies
were in abundance, and door screens were unknown at that time. The
cotton netting nailed over windows and hung over and around the beds was
a slight protection from the pests, although as the doors must
necessarily be opened more or less no remedy could be devised that would
make any perceptible improvement. To submit was the rule and the law in
those days, but many, many times it was done under protest.

The first floor was divided or partitioned off, by the use of quilts or
blankets, into a kitchen, bedroom, and pantry. The chamber, or what
might be called attic, was also partitioned in the same way, giving as
many rooms as it would hold beds. The main articles of food for the
first two years consisted of potatoes, corn meal, and bacon. The meal
was made from a variety of corn raised by the Indians and called Pawnee
corn. It was very soft, white, and palatable. Wheat flour was not very
plentiful the first year. Bacon was the only available meat.
Occasionally a piece of buffalo meat was obtained, but it being very
hard to masticate only served to make a slight change in the gravy,
which was otherwise made with lard and flour browned together in an iron
frying pan, adding boiling water until it was of the right consistency,
salt and pepper to suit the taste. This mixture was used for potatoes
and bread of all kinds. Lard was a necessity. Biscuits were made of
flour, using a little corn meal for shortening and saleratus for
raising. Much of the corn was ground in an ordinary coffee mill or in
some instances rubbed on a large grater or over a tin pan with a
perforated bottom, made so by driving nails through it. The nearest
flouring mill was at Fort Calhoun, over forty miles away, which was then
a three days' journey, taking more time than a trip to California at the
present day. Nothing, however, could be substituted for butter. The lack
of meat, sugar, eggs and fruit, tea and coffee, was borne patiently, but
wheat flour and corn meal bread with its everlasting lard gravy
accompaniment was more than human nature could bear, yet most of the
people waxed strong and flourished on bread and grease. Oh, where are
the students of scientific research and domestic economy? There were
possibly three or four cows in the settlement, and if there was ever an
aristocracy in Fremont, it was represented by the owners of said cows.

In 1858 a little sorghum was raised. "Hope springs eternal in the human
breast." Men, women, and children helped to prepare the stalks when at
the right stage for crushing, which was done with a very primitive
home-made machine. The juice obtained was boiled down to syrup, but
alas, the dreams of a surfeit of sweetness vanished into thin air, for
the result of all the toil and trouble expended was a production so
nauseous that it could not be used even for vinegar.

Wild plums and grapes grew in profusion on the banks of the rivers.
There was much more enjoyment in gathering the fruit than in eating or
cooking it. The plums were bitter and sour, the grapes were sour and
mostly seeds, and sugar was not plentiful.

The climate was the finest in the world for throat and lung troubles,
but on the breaking up of the soil malaria made its appearance and many
of the inhabitants suffered from ague and fever. Quinine was the only
remedy. There were neither physicians nor trained nurses here, but all
were neighbors and friends, always ready to help each other when the
occasion required.

In 1856, the year in which Fremont was born, the Pawnee Indians were
living four miles south across the Platte river on the bluffs in
Saunders county. They numbered about four thousand and were a constant
source of annoyance and fear. In winter they easily crossed the river on
the ice and in summer the water most of the time was so low they could
swim and wade over, consequently there were few days in the year that
they did not visit Fremont by the hundred. Weeks and months passed
before women and children became accustomed to them and they could never
feel quite sure that they were harmless. Stealing was their forte. Eyes
sharp and keen were ever on the alert when they were present, yet when
they left almost invariably some little article would be missed. They
owned buffalo robes and blankets for which the settlers exchanged
clothing which they did not need, jewelry, beads, and ornaments, with a
little silver coin intermixed. The blankets and robes were utilized for
bedding and many were the shivering forms they served to protect from
the icy cold of the Nebraska winters. In 1859 the government moved them
to another home on the Loup river and in 1876 they were removed to
Indian territory.

Snakes of many kinds abounded, but rattlesnakes were the most numerous.
They appeared to have a taste for domestic life, as many were found in
houses and cellars. A little four-year-old boy one sunny summer day ran
out of the house bare-footed, and stepping on the threshold outside the
door felt something soft and cold to his feet. An exclamation of
surprise caused a member of the household to hasten to the door just in
time to see a young rattlesnake gliding swiftly away. In several
instances they were found snugly ensconced under pillows, on lounges,
and very frequently were they found in cellars.

For more than two years there was no way of receiving or sending mail
only as one or another would make a trip to Omaha, which was usually
once a week. In 1859 a stage line was put on between Omaha and Fort
Kearny. No one can tell with what thankfulness and rejoicing each and
every improvement in the condition and surroundings was greeted by the
settlers. Dating from the discovery of gold in Colorado the pioneer was
no more an object of pity or sympathy. Those who had planted their
stakes and made their claims along the old military and California trail
were independent. Many of the emigrants became discouraged and turned
their faces homeward before getting a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. On
their way home they sold loads of provisions for a song. The same fall
the fertile soil of the Platte Valley, after two years of cultivation,
responded to the demand of civilization. There was a market west for
every bushel of grain and every pound of vegetables grown. So at least
the patient and persevering ones received their reward.

The sources of amusement were few, and yet all enjoyed the strange new
life. A pleasant ride over the level prairie dotted with wild flowers,
in any sort of vehicle drawn by a pair of oxen, was as enjoyable to the
young people then as a drive over the country would now be in the finest
turnout that Fremont possesses. A dance in a room twelve by sixteen feet
in a log cabin, to the music of the Arkansas Traveler played on one
violin, was "just delightful." A trip to Omaha once or twice a year was
a rare event in the woman's life particularly. Three days were taken,
two to drive in and out, and one to do a little trading (not shopping)
and look around to view the sights. A span of horses, a lumber wagon
with a spring seat in front high up in the air, was the conveyance.
Women always wore sunbonnets on these occasions to keep their complexion

Several times in the earlier years the Mormons passed through here with
long trains of emigrants journeying to the promised land, and a sorry
lot they were, for the most of them were footsore and weary, as they all
walked. The train was made up of emigrant covered wagons drawn by oxen,
and hand carts drawn by cows, men and women, and dogs. It was a sight
never to be forgotten.

This is merely a short description of some of the trials and sufferings
endured by the majority of the early settlers of this state. Many of the
actors in the drama have passed away, a few only now remaining, and soon
the stories of their lives will be to the coming generation like
forgotten dreams.



Very few of those now living in Omaha can have any realization of the
privations, not to say hardships, that were endured by the pioneer women
who came here at an early date. A few claim shanties were scattered at
distant intervals over this beautiful plateau, and were eagerly taken by
those who were fortunate enough to secure them. There was seldom more
than one room in them, so that no servants could be kept, even if there
were any to be had. Many an amusing scene could have been witnessed if
the friends who had been left behind could have peeped in at the door
and have seen the attempts made at cooking by those who never had cooked

A description of one of the homes might be of interest. A friend of ours
owned a claim shanty that stood on the hill west of what is now
Saunders, or Twenty-fourth street, and he very kindly offered it to us,
saying he would have it plastered and fixed up. We, of course, accepted
it at once and as soon as possible it was made ready and we moved into
it late one evening, very happy to have a home. The house consisted of
upstairs, downstairs, and a cellar, the upstairs being just high enough
for one to stand erect in the center of the room, provided one was not
very tall. The stairs were nothing but a ladder, home-made at that, in
one corner of the room, held in place by a trunk. It was some time
before I succeeded in going up and down gracefully. I happened to be
upstairs when our first caller came and in my effort to get down quickly
caught my feet in one of the rungs of the ladder and landed on the
aforementioned trunk so suddenly that it brought everyone in the room to
their feet. It took away all the formality of an introduction.

Mr. and Mrs. Hanscom lived half a mile north of the cottage just
described, and had what seemed to others a house that was almost
palatial. It contained three rooms, besides a kitchen, and had many
comforts that few had in those days, including a cradle, which held a
rosy-cheeked, curly-headed baby girl, who has long since grown to
womanhood and had babies of her own. Another home, standing where
Creighton College now stands, was built by a nephew of the late Rev.
Reuben Gaylord, but was afterwards occupied by Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Byers,
who have for many years resided in Colorado. The Gaylords moved from
there to a new home at Eleventh and Jackson streets. Their family
consisted of three children: Mrs. S. C. Brewster, of Irvington, who is
still living at the age of 77 years; a son, Ralph Gaylord; and an
adopted daughter, Georgia, who has since died.


First State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1894-1895]

A one story house built just in the rear of Tootle and Mauls' store on
Farnam, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets, was kept as a
boarding house by Kentucky Wood and his wife. It was considered a
high-toned boarding house, although the partitions were made of
unbleached cloth and the floor of the dining room was covered with
sawdust. Judges Lockwood and Bradley, two of our territorial judges,
boarded there and a dinner was given in their honor by the landlord. The
invited guests included Governor and Mrs. Cuming, Colonel and Mrs. C. B.
Smith, and Dr. Geo. L. Miller. That was the first dinner party ever
given in Omaha. Governor and Mrs. Cuming then boarded at the Douglas
house, Thirteenth and Harney streets, and their rooms were often filled
with the elite of this young and growing city. Mrs. Cuming was very
popular in the little gatherings which were frequently held. She was the
leading light and was always ready and willing to assist in any good
work. Wherever there was sickness she was sure to be found. Mrs. Thomas
Davis was another who was always doing little acts of kindness. She was
the mother of the late Mrs. Herman Kountze, who, at that time, was the
only white little girl in Omaha. Still another who never turned anyone
away from her door who needed help was Mrs. E. Estabrook.

Mrs. A. D. Jones, our first postmaster's wife, lived at that time at
what was called Park Wild, in a one story log and frame house, which was
afterwards occupied by General G. M. Dodge, the distinguished soldier,
so well and widely known to the whole country as the chief engineer of
the Union Pacific railroad. Among others who were here were Mrs. Edwin
Patrick and Mrs. Allen Root, also Mrs. T. G. Goodwill, who lived in the
Kentucky Wood house that I have already mentioned. She afterwards built
the brick house that still stands near the northwest corner of
Davenport street, facing south. It is an old landmark near Fifteenth

One of the most prominent women of that day was Mrs. John M. Thayer,
whose home at that time was said to have been the first civilized
appearing home. It was plastered, clapboarded, and shingled. The entire
community envied Mrs. Thayer her somewhat imposing residence. It was in
very strong contrast, however, with the beautiful brick house which
General Thayer afterwards built and occupied for several years, on the
northeast corner of Sixteenth and Davenport streets.

Mrs. Samuel Rogers, Mrs. William Snowden, Mrs. Thomas O'Conner, Mrs. O.
B. Selden, Mrs. Hadley Johnson, and Mrs. Harrison Johnson were among the
first women who lived in Omaha. Mrs. A. J. Poppleton may be classed
among the number, although at that time she was living in Council
Bluffs, then called Kanesville, where she was one of the leading young

The first hotel in Omaha, a log house, eighteen by twenty feet, one
story high, was named the St. Nicholas. It was first occupied by the
family of Wm. P. Snowden, and stood on the corner of Twelfth and Jackson
streets in 1855. The Douglas house, a two story frame building, was
erected at the southwest corner of Thirteenth and Harney streets. The
rear part was made of cottonwood slabs, and in the winter time it was
said to have been very cold. It was the leading hotel and all the
high-toned people stopped there. The Tremont house, between Thirteenth
and Fourteenth streets, was built in 1856, and opened by Wm. F. Sweezy
and Aaron Root. Mr. Sweezy is still living in Omaha. The Farnham,
between Thirteenth and Fourteenth on Harney, was built in 1858. The
famous Herndon house was built in 1856 by Dr. Geo. L. Miller and Lyman
Richardson. The Hamilton, a brick building, was erected in 1856 by C. W.
Hamilton, C. B. Smith, and H. M. Judson. The proprietors bought their
furniture in St. Louis and brought it to Omaha by steamboat. The upper
part of the house was one large bedroom with beds ranged against the
walls. About once a week the furniture was all removed from this room
and it was temporarily converted into a ballroom.



Dr. Wm. Washington Wiley, with his wife, Gertrude Miranda Wiley, and
their children, came to Nebraska July 6, 1857, and lived at Saratoga
(now in Omaha) a year and a half. They came from Ohio in covered wagons,
driving their cows along. It took two months to make the trip.

They caught up with a company of Mormon emigrants when they reached Iowa
City, Iowa, three or four hundred of whom camped along about five miles
ahead of the Wiley family. They stopped at Florence a few weeks to buy
provisions and teams to carry them across the plains to Utah. These
Mormons had two-wheeled carts. These carts were provision carts drawn by
both men and women.

Mrs. Wiley was of Holland Dutch descent, and inherited the thrift and
capability of her ancestors. She deserved great credit for her quick
action in saving one victim from the Claim Club. This Claim Club was an
organization of prominent Omaha business men. John Kelly, a nephew of
Mrs. Wiley's sister, had a claim of one hundred sixty acres near Omaha.
There were four wagonloads of men out looking for him to compel him to
give them the papers showing his right to the land. The late Joseph
Redman, of Omaha, lived near Mrs. Wiley, and when he saw the men coming
for John Kelly he went to Mrs. Wiley and requested her to warn young
Kelly, as she could get past the men, but he could not. Mrs. Redman went
to Mrs. Wiley's house and took care of the three months' old baby and
five other children. John Kelly was working at the carpenter's trade in
Omaha, about three miles south of Mrs. Wiley's. All she had to ride was
a stallion, of which she was afraid, and which had never been ridden by
a woman. She rode slowly until out of sight of the wagonloads of men and
then hit the horse every other jump. She made him run all the way,
passing some Indians on the way, who looked at her wonderingly but did
not try to stop her. After going to several places she finally located
John Kelly. He wanted to go to the ferry, but her judgment was better
and she said they would look for him there the first thing, which they
did. She took him on behind her and rode to the home of Jane Beeson, his
aunt, who put him down cellar and then spread a piece of rag carpet over
the trap door. The Claim Club men were there several times that day to
look for him, but did not search the house. After dark he walked to
Bellevue, twelve miles, and the next morning crossed the Missouri river
on the ferry boat and went to Missouri. When his claim papers were
returned from Washington he returned and lived on his land without any
further trouble. He would have been badly beaten and probably killed had
it not been for Mrs. Wiley's nerve and decision in riding a fractious
horse to warn him of his danger.

While Dr. and Mrs. Wiley resided at Omaha the territorial law-makers
disagreed, part of them going to Florence to make laws and part of them
to Omaha, each party feeling it was the rightful law-making body of the

In December, 1859, the family crossed the Platte river on the ice and
located on a farm in Cass county, three miles west of the Missouri
river, about three miles southwest of the present town of Murray,
although the old town of Rock Bluffs was their nearest town at that
time. Dr. Wiley and the older children went on ahead with the household
goods and live stock. Mrs. Wiley, with the small children, rode in a
one-horse buggy. She did not know the way and there were no fences or
landmarks to guide her. She had the ague so badly she could hardly drive
the horse. A sack containing $1,800 in gold was tied around her waist.
This was all the money they had, and they intended to use it to build a
house and barn on their new farm. She objected to carrying so much
money, but Dr. Wiley said it was safer from robbers with her than with
him. In spite of her illness and the difficulty in traveling in an
unknown country a distance of thirty-five or forty miles, she reached
the new home safely. She took off the sack of gold, threw it in a
corner, and fell on the bed exhausted. They lived all winter in a log
house of two rooms. There was a floor and roof, but no ceiling, and the
snow drifted in on the beds. Most of the family were sick all winter.

The next summer they built a frame house, the first in that locality,
which caused the neighbors to call them "high toned." Mrs. Wiley bought
a parlor set of walnut furniture, upholstered in green.

General Worth, who had been a congressman, wrote to Washington, D. C.,
and got the commission, signed by Abraham Lincoln, appointing Dr. Wiley
postmaster, the name of the postoffice being Three Groves. They kept the
postoffice eleven years.

They kept the stage station five years. It was the main stop between St.
Joseph and Omaha before the railroad went through. They had from ten to
fifteen people to dinner one coach load. The stage coach was drawn by
four horses, and carried both mail and passengers. The horses were
changed for fresh ones at the Wiley farm. At first the meals were
twenty-five cents; the last two years, fifty cents. This was paid by the
passengers and not included in the stage fare.

Shortly after the discovery of Pike's Peak and gold in Colorado,
freighters, with big freight wagons of provisions drawn by six or eight
oxen, stopped there over night. There were usually twelve men, who slept
on the floor, paying eighteen dollars for supper, breakfast, and
lodging. Mr. McComas and Mr. Majors (father of Col. Thomas J. Majors)
each had freight wagons starting at Nebraska City and taking the
supplies to Denver and Pike's Peak via Fort Kearny, Nebraska. When the
Union Pacific railroad was completed in 1869 the freighters had to sell
their oxen and wagons, as they could not compete with the railroad in
hauling freight.

The Omaha, Pawnee, and Otoe Indians, when visiting other Indians, would
stop at Dr. Wiley's and ask for things to eat. Sometimes there would be
fifty of them. An old Indian would peer in. If the shade was pulled down
while he was looking in he would call the party vile names. If food was
given him a dozen more Indians would come and ask for something. If
chickens were not given them they helped themselves to all they found
straying around. It would make either tribe angry to ask if they were
going to visit any other tribe. The Pawnees would say, "Omaha no good";
the Omahas would say, "Pawnee no good."

Mrs. Wiley kept a copy of the _Omaha Republican_, published November 30,
1859. The paper is yellow with age, but well preserved, and a few years
ago she presented it to the State Historical Society. It is a four-page
paper, the second and third pages being nearly all advertisements. It
contains a letter written by Robert W. Furnas, ex-governor of Nebraska,
and a long article about the late J. Sterling Morton. This was about the
time Mr. Morton tried to claim the salt basin at Lincoln as a
preëmption, and wanted to locate salt works there.

Mrs. Wiley always took a great interest in the development of the state;
she attended the State Fair almost every year, spending a great deal of
time looking over the new machinery.

Dr. Wiley died in 1887 and Mrs. Wiley in 1914. Mrs. Wiley lived to the
age of 87 years.

Little Erma Purviance, daughter of Dr. W. E. and Edith E. Purviance, of
Omaha, is a great-granddaughter of Mrs. Wiley, and also a namesake. May
she possess some of the virtue and intelligence of her ancestor.

     NOTE: Mrs. Wiley's two daughters, Araminta and Hattie, were
     students in the early years at Brownell Hall, then the only means
     of obtaining an education, as there were very few public schools.
     Some of the children and grandchildren still live on the lands
     taken by Dr. and Mrs. Wiley, and have always been among the
     well-to-do citizens of Cass county.

     Mrs. Edith Erma Purviance, the writer of the foregoing article,
     spent most of her girlhood with her grandmother, who sent her to
     the State University, where she made good use of her advantages.
     Other children of Mrs. Wiley were also university students or
     identified with the various schools of the state. Mrs. A. Dove
     Wiley Asche, youngest daughter of Mrs. Wiley, now occupies the old
     home, out of which so recently went the brave pioneer who made it
     of note among the early homes of the territory.--HARRIETT S.


Lewis H. Badger drove with his parents, Henry L. and Mary A. Badger,
from their home in Livingston county, Illinois, to Fillmore county,
Nebraska. They had a covered emigrant wagon and a buggy tied behind.
Lewis was twelve years old October 5, 1868, the day they crossed the
Missouri river at Nebraska City, the nearest railroad station to their
future home. The family stayed with friends near Saltillo while H. L.
Badger came on with the horse and buggy and picked out his claim on the
north side of Fillmore county, it being the northwest quarter of section
2, township 8, range 3, west of the sixth principal meridian.

At that time the claims were taken near the river in order that water
might be obtained more easily, and also to be near the railroad which
had been surveyed and staked out in the southern edge of York county
near the West Blue river.

The Badger family came on to Lincoln, then a mere village, and stopped
there. They bought a log chain, and lumber for a door; the window frames
were hewed from logs. When they reached the claim they did not know
where to ford the river so they went on farther west to Whitaker's and
stayed all night. There they forded the river and came on to the claim
the next morning, October 20, 1868. There they camped while Mr. Badger
made a dugout in the banks of the West Blue river, where the family
lived for more than two years. The hollow in the ground made by this
dugout can still be seen.

In 1870 H. L. Badger kept the postoffice in the dugout. He received his
commission from Postmaster General Creswell. The postoffice was known as
West Blue. About the same time E. L. Martin was appointed postmaster at
Fillmore. Those were the first postoffices in Fillmore county. Before
that time the settlers got their mail at McFadden in York county. Mr.
Badger kept the postoffice for some time after moving into the log house
and after the establishment of the postoffice at Fairmont.

In 1867 the Indians were all on reservations but by permission of the
agents were allowed to go on hunting trips. If they made trouble for the
settlers they were taken back to the reservations. While the Badgers
were living in the dugout a party of about one thousand Omaha Indians
came up the river on a hunting trip. Some of their ponies got away and
ate some corn belonging to a man named Dean, who lived farther down the
river. The man loved trouble and decided to report them to the agent.
The Indians were afraid of being sent back to the reservation so the
chief, Prairie Chicken, his brother, Sammy White, and seventeen of the
other Indians came into the dugout and asked Mr. Badger to write a
letter to the agent for them stating their side of the case. This he did
and read it to Sammy White, the interpreter, who translated it for the
other eighteen. It proved satisfactory to both Indians and agent.

In August, 1869, while Mr. Badger was away helping a family named
Whitaker, who lived up the river, to do some breaking, the son, Lewis,
walked to where his father was at work, leaving Mrs. Badger at home
alone with her four-year-old daughter. About four o'clock it began to
rain very hard and continued all night. The river raised until the water
came within eighteen inches of the dugout door. The roof leaked so that
it was almost as wet inside as out. Mr. Badger and Lewis stayed at the
Whitaker dugout. They fixed the canvas that had been the cover of the
wagon over the bed to keep Grandmother Whitaker dry and the others sat
by the stove and tried to keep warm, but could not. The next morning the
men paddled down the rived to the Badger dugout in a wagon box. The
wagon box was a product of their own making and was all wood, so it
served the purpose of a boat.

It should be explained that the reason the roofs of the dugouts and log
houses leaked was because of the material used in their construction.
Shingles were out of the question to these settlers of small means
living one hundred miles from the railroad. There were plenty of trees
near the river, so the settlers hewed out logs for ridge poles, then
placed willow poles and brush across for a support. On top of that they
put dirt and sod. When it rained the water naturally soaked through. The
roof would leak for several days after a big rain.

The next dwelling place of the Badger family was a log house built on
the south half of the quarter section. For some time they lived in the
log house and kept their stock in the dugout stable on the river bank.
Thus they were living during the great April storm of 1873, which lasted
for three days. All of the draws and ravines, even the river, were
packed full of snow that was solid enough to hold a man up. There was
very little snow on the level, it all being in drifts in the low places.
The Badgers had a corn field between the log house and the river. While
the storm raged Lewis wrapped himself in a blanket, and by following the
rows of corn made his way to the dugout stable and fed the horses corn
once each day. It was impossible to give them water.

Henry L. Badger was commissioned by Governor Butler the first notary
public in Fillmore county. Later he was appointed by acting Governor
James, registrar of voters for the election to be held April 21, 1871,
to elect officers for the new county. At that election he was elected
both county clerk and county surveyor.

In the late sixties when the county was first settled the country
abounded in buffalo, deer, antelope, elk, prairie chickens, wild geese,
ducks, and turkeys. The muddy stream known as West Blue river was clear
and the fish found in it were not of the same variety as those caught
now. Wild plums grew in abundance along the river bank and were much
larger and of finer quality than the wild plums of today. In those days
glass jars for canning were not as plentiful as now, so they picked the
plums late in the fall, put them in a barrel and poured water over them
and kept them for winter use.

Lewis Badger tells of going on buffalo hunts with his father and seeing
herds of thousands of the big animals, and driving for ten hours through
the herd. He has now an old silver half dime that he found in an
abandoned stage station on the Oregon trail, when on a buffalo hunt.

In early days the settlers did lots of trapping. The Indians were
frequent visitors and one time an Indian went with Mr. Badger and his
son to look at their traps. In one trap they found a mink. Mr. Badger
remarked that they got a mink in that same trap the day before. The
Indian said, "Him lucky trap." The Indian would not steal but he wanted
the lucky trap, so the next day that trap was gone and another in its
place. The Indian seemed to get the best of the bargain for it is a fact
that they never caught a thing in the trap he left.

Sammy and Luke White, brothers of chief Prairie Chicken of the Omahas,
frequently visited the early settlers. Sammy could talk English and was
a good interpreter. He told of a big Indian battle in the western part
of the state wherein the Sioux and Cheyenne, and Omahas, Otoes, Poncas,
and Pawnees all took part and fought for two days and only killed two
Indians. His brother, Prairie Chicken, killed one of the Indians and
scalped him in the midst of the battle. For that act of bravery he was
made a chief. After telling the story of his brother, when asked about
himself, Sammy very modestly said, "Me 'fraid, me run."

On one of Mr. Badger's hunting trips he killed a deer. When it was
dressed Lewis was sent to the Whitaker dugout with a quarter of the
meat. An Indian, Pawnee Jack, happened to be there at the time and it
stormed so they had to keep him all night, much to their disgust.
Evidently he enjoyed their hospitality, especially the venison, for when
they started him on the next morning he inquired where the "papoose"
lived that brought the "buckskin," meaning the venison. They told him
and he made straight for the Badger dugout and the "buckskin." It
stormed so they were forced to keep him there two nights before sending
him on.

Although most painfully familiar to every early settler, no pioneer
story is complete without the grasshoppers. They came in herds and
droves and ate every green thing. For days great clouds of them passed
over. The next year they hatched out in great numbers and flew away
without hurting anything. Mr. Badger had a nice young orchard that he
had planted and tended. The grasshoppers ate the leaves off the trees
and as it was early in August they leaved out again and were frozen so
they died. Snakes feasted on the hoppers. Since seeing a garter snake at
that time just as full of grasshoppers as it could possibly be, Lewis
Badger has never killed a snake or permitted one to be killed on his
farm. He declared that anything that could make away with so many
grasshoppers should be allowed to live. Many people asked for and
received the so-called "aid for grasshopper sufferers." In this section
of the country it seemed absolutely unnecessary as there had been
harvested a good crop of wheat, previous to the coming of the hoppers.

In 1871 the railroad was built through the county. That season Lewis
Badger sold watermelons, that he had raised, to the construction gang at
work on the road. The town of Fairmont was started the same year. In
those days the settlers would walk to town. It was nothing unusual for
Mr. and Mrs. Badger and Lewis to walk to Fairmont, a distance of six

When the Badger family settled on their claim, they planted a row of
cottonwood trees around it. These trees have made a wonderful growth. In
1911 part of them were sawed into lumber. There are two especially large
cottonwood trees on the farm. One measures twenty-six feet in
circumference at the base and nineteen feet around five feet above the
ground and runs up forty feet before it begins to branch out. The other
is thirty-three feet around the base but branches into three trees four
feet above the ground.

Mrs. H. L. Badger was a witness of the first wedding in the county, that
of Wm. Whitaker and Sabra Brumsey, which took place June 28, 1871. The
ceremony was performed by the first county judge, Wm. H. Blaine, who
stayed all night at the Badger home and attended the wedding the next

Mrs. H. L. Badger died January 11, 1894, and Mr. Badger July 21, 1905.
The son Lewis and family still own and farm the old homestead.


The first settlement in Fillmore county, Nebraska, was made in 1866 by
Nimrod J. Dixon, a native of Pennsylvania. He was married to Lydia
Gilmore, who had previously filed on a homestead adjoining his. Mr. and
Mrs. Dixon continued to reside on their homestead until they moved to
Fairmont, Nebraska, where they are now living, having lived on the farm
forty years.

Mr. and Mrs. Dixon were married February 28, 1867, at the home of Mrs.
Dixon's father, Elias Gilmore, near Blue Vale. Mr. Dixon got the license
at Nebraska City. From that time until the summer of 1868 they were the
only settlers in the county and were seven or eight miles from the
nearest neighbor.

In relating her experiences Mrs. Dixon said: "I was afraid to stay
alone, so when Mr. Dixon had to go away I went with him or my sisters
stayed with me. At that time we had to go to Milford for flour and
twenty-five miles to get a plow-lay sharpened. At such times Mr. Dixon
would stay at my father's home near Blue Vale and help them two or three
days with their breaking, in return for which one of the boys would come
and help him.

"The Indians visited us frequently and I was afraid of them. One time a
number of them came and two entered the dugout and asked for flour. We
gave them as much as we could spare, but they could see the flour
sitting on a bench behind the door and wanted more. We refused, but they
became very insistent, so much so that Mr. Dixon grabbed a black-snake
whip that hung on the wall and started toward them. This show of
resistance was all that was necessary. It proved to the Indians that Mr.
Dixon was not afraid of them, so they gave him powder and shot to regain
his friendship.

"An Indian came in one day and gave me a lot of beads, then he wanted
flour, which we gave him. He took it and held it out to me, saying,
'Squaw cook it, squaw cook it!' This I refused to do, so he said, 'Give
me the beads, give me the beads.'

"My baby, Arthur, born January 9, 1869, was the first white child born
in Fillmore county. I recall one time that I was home alone with the
baby. An Indian came in and handed me a paper that said he had lost a
pony. I assured him that we had seen nothing of the pony. He saw a new
butcher knife that was lying on the table, picked it up, and finally
drew out his old knife and held it toward me, saying, 'Swap, swap!' I
said, 'Yes,' so he went away with my good knife.

"The worst fright I ever did have was not from Indians. My sister Minnie
was with me and we were out of salt. Mr. Dixon said he would go across
the river to Whitaker's and borrow some. We thought that he wouldn't be
gone long so we stayed at home. While he was away a cloud came up and it
began to rain. I never did see it rain harder. The river raised, and the
water in the ravine in front of the dugout came nearly to the door. The
roof leaked so we were nearly as wet indoors as we would have been out.
The rain began about four o'clock in the afternoon. It grew dark and Mr.
Dixon did not return. We thought that he would certainly be drowned in
trying to cross the river. While we were in this state of suspense, the
door burst open and a half-clad woman rushed in, saying, 'Don't let me
scare you to death.' I was never so frightened in my life, and it was
some time before I recognized her as my neighbor, Mrs. Fairbanks.

"Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks had gone to Whitaker's, who were coopers, to get
some barrels fixed for sorghum, and left the children at home. When it
rained they thought they must try to cross the river and get to their
children. Mr. Dixon came with them. At first they tried to ride horses
across, but the one Mrs. Fairbanks was riding refused to swim and threw
her into the water, so she had to swim back. They were all excellent
swimmers, so they started again in a wagon box which those on land tried
to guide by means of a line. With the aid of the wagon box and by
swimming they succeeded in getting across. That was in the fall of 1869.

"The only time I ever saw a buffalo skinned was when a big herd stayed a
week or more on the south side of the river. Kate Bussard and I stood on
the top of the dugout and watched the chase, and after they killed one
we went nearer and watched them skin it."

Mr. Dixon took his claim without seeing it. In October, 1866, he went
to the land office and learned that he could then take a homestead of
one hundred and sixty acres but the new law would soon go into effect
providing that settlers could only homestead eighty acres. Mr. Dixon was
afraid that he could not go and see the claim and get back to Nebraska
City and file on it in time to get one hundred and sixty acres. In
telling about it Mr. Dixon says, "I thought it would, indeed, be a poor
quarter section that would not have eighty acres of farm land, so I took
my chances.

"In the year 1868, the first year that we had any crops planted, it
almost forgot to rain at all. The barley was so short that it fell
through the cradle. There were no bridges so we had to ford the river.
It was hard to haul much of a load across because the wagon would cut
into the mud on the two banks while the sandy river bottom would stand a
pretty good load. That difficulty I overcame by making bundles or
sheaves of willow poles and placing them at the two banks and covering
them with sand. Later the settlers made a bridge across the river near
the homestead of H. L. Badger. This has ever since been known as the
'Badger Bridge.' The first bridge was made of logs which we procured
along the river.

"I was making a hayrack of willow poles at the time of the total eclipse
of the sun. It began to grow dark, the chickens went to roost, and it
seemed that night was coming on.

"The year 1869 was rainy and we raised good crops and fine potatoes that
season. That was the year they were driving Texas cattle up to eat the
northern grass and then ship them east over the Union Pacific railroad.
The cattle stampeded, so they lost many of them and we saw them around
for a year or more.

"My first buffalo hunt was in 1867. The country seemed to be covered
with great herds and the Indians were hunting them. Twenty of us started
out with five wagons. There were Jake and Boss Gilmore, Jim Johnson, and
myself in one wagon. We had only about three days' supplies with us,
expecting to get buffalo before these were exhausted, but the Indians
were ahead of us and kept the buffalo out of our range. Our party
crossed the Little Blue at Deweese. Beyond there we found carcasses of
buffalo and a fire where the Indians had burned out a ranch. Realizing
that it was necessary for us to take precautions, we chose Colonel
Bifkin our leader and decided to strike another trail and thus avoid the
Indians if possible. We traveled toward the Republican river but found
no track of either buffalo or Indians, so we turned around and followed
the Indians. By that time our food supply was exhausted, but by good
luck we shot two wild turkeys.

"We were soon following the Indians so closely that we ate dinner where
they ate breakfast and by night we were almost in sight of them. We
thought it best to put out a guard at night. My station was under a
cottonwood tree near a foot-log that crossed a branch of the Little
Blue. I was to be relieved at eleven o'clock. I heard something coming
on the foot-log. I listened and watched but it was so dark that I could
see nothing, but could hear it coming closer; so I shot and heard
something drop. Colonel Bifkin, who was near, coming to relieve me,
asked what I was shooting at. 'I don't know, perhaps an Indian; it
dropped,' I replied. We looked and found merely a coon, but it did good
service as wagon grease, for we had forgotten that very necessary

"The Indians kept the main herd ahead of them so we were only able to
see a few buffalo that had strayed away. We went farther west and got
two or three and then went into camp on the Little Blue. We always left
a guard at camp and all of the fun came when Boss Gilmore and I were on
guard so we missed it. The others rounded up and killed about twenty
buffalo. One fell over the bluff into the river and it fell to our lot
to get it out and skin it, but by the time we got it out the meat had
spoiled. The water there was so full of alkali that we could not drink
it and neither could the horses, so we started back, struck the freight
road and followed it until we came to Deep Well ranch on the Platte
bottom. We had driven without stopping from ten o'clock in the forenoon
till two o'clock in the morning. We lay down and slept then, but I was
awakened early by chickens crowing. I roused the others of our party and
we went in search of something to eat. It had been eight days since we
had had any bread and I was never so bread-hungry as then. We came to
the Martin home about three miles west of Grand Island and although we
could not buy bread, the girls baked biscuits for us and I ate eleven
biscuits. That was the home of the two Martin boys who were pinned
together by an arrow that the Indians shot through both of them while
riding on one pony.

"That morning I saw the first construction train that came into Grand
Island over the Union Pacific railroad. If I remember correctly it was
in November, 1867.

"We took home with us five wagonloads of buffalo meat. I did not keep
any of the hides because I could not get them tanned. Mr. Gilmore got
Indian women to tan a hide for him by giving them sugar and flour. They
would keep asking for it and finally got all that was coming to them
before the hide was done, so they quit tanning, and Mr. Gilmore had to
keep baiting them by giving them more sugar and flour in order to get it

Mr. and Mrs. Dixon have eight children, all living. They still own the
original homestead that was their home for so many years.



In the fall of 1870, with Mrs. McCashland and two children, Addie and
Sammy, I left Livingston county, Illinois, and drove to Fillmore county,
Nebraska. We started with two wagons and teams. I had three good horses
and one old plug. I drove one team and had a man drive the other until I
became indignant because he abused the horses and let him go. Mrs.
McCashland drove the second team the rest of the way.

A family of neighbors, Thomas Roe's, were going west at the same time,
so we were together throughout the journey until we got lost in the
western part of Iowa. The road forked and we were so far behind we did
not see which way Roe turned and so went the other way. It rained that
night and a dog ate our supplies so we were forced to procure food from
a settler. We found the Roe family the next evening just before we
crossed the Missouri river, October 15, 1870.

East of Lincoln we met a prairie schooner and team of oxen. An old lady
came ahead and said to us, "Go back, good friends, go back!" When
questioned about how long she had lived here, she said, "I've wintered
here and I've summered here, and God knows I've been here long enough."

When Mrs. McCashland saw the first dugout that she had ever seen, she
cried. It did not seem that she could bear to live in a place like that.
It looked like merely a hole in the ground.

We finally reached the settlement in Fillmore county and lived in a
dugout with two other families until I could build a dugout that we
could live in through the winter. That done, I picked out my claim and
went to Lincoln to file on it and bought lumber for a door and for
window frames.

I looked the claim over, chose the site for buildings, and when home
drew the plans of where I wanted the house, stable, well, etc., on the
dirt hearth for Mrs. McCashland to see. She felt so bad because she had
to live in such a place that I gave it up and went to the West Blue
river, which was near, felled trees, and with the help of other
settlers hewed them into logs and erected a log house on the homestead.
While living in the dugout Indian women visited Mrs. McCashland and
wanted to trade her a papoose for her quilts. When she refused, they
wanted her to give them the quilts.

I had just forty-two dollars when we reached Fillmore county, and to
look back now one would hardly think it possible to live as long as we
did on forty-two dollars. There were times that we had nothing but meal
to eat and many days we sent the children to school with only bread for

I was a civil war veteran, which fact entitled me to a homestead of one
hundred and sixty acres. I still own that homestead, which is farmed by
my son. After visiting in the East a few years ago I decided that I
would not trade my quarter section in Fillmore county for several times
that much eastern land.



We came to Nebraska in October of 1870 by wagon and wintered a mile east
of what now is the Red Lion mill. We made several trips to Lincoln
during the fall and winter and one to Nebraska City, where brother Dan
and I shucked corn for a farmer for a dollar a day with team.

I moved on the William Bussard claim, later the Elof Lindgren farm, in
March, 1871, and raised a crop, then moved on our homestead in section
24, town 8, range 3 west. We built part dugout and part sodup for a
house and slept in it the first night with only the blue sky for a roof.
Then we put on poles, brush, hay, dirt, and sod for a roof. This was in
October, and we lived in this dugout until 1874, then built a sod house.

In April, 1873, we had a three days' snow storm called a blizzard. In
the spring of 1871 I attended the election for the organization of the
county of Fillmore. I followed farming as an occupation and in the fall
of 1872 William Howell and I bought a threshing machine, which we ran
for four seasons. Some of the accounts are still due and unpaid. Our
lodging place generally was the straw stack or under the machine and our
teams were tied to a wagon, but the meals we got were good. Aside from
farming and threshing I put in some of the time at carpentry, walking
sometimes six miles back and forth, night and morning.

In July or August, 1874, we had a visit from the grasshoppers, the like
of which had never been seen before nor since. They came in black clouds
and dropped down by the bushel and ate every green thing on earth and
some things in the earth. We had visits from the Indians too but they
mostly wanted "hogy" meat or something to fill their empty stomachs.
Well, I said we built a sodup of two rooms with a board floor and three
windows and two doors, plastered with Nebraska mud. We thought it a
palace, for some time, and were comfortable.

In June, 1877, I took a foolish notion to make a fortune and in company
with ten others, supplied with six months' provisions, started for the
Black Hills. We drove ox teams and were nearly all summer on the road;
at least we did not reach the mining places till August. In the meantime
the water had played out in the placer mining district so there was
"nothing doing." We prospected for quartz but that did not pan out
satisfactorily, so we traded our grub that we did not need for gold dust
and returned to our homes no richer than when we left. However, we had
all of the fresh venison we could use both coming and going, besides
seeing a good many Indians and lots of wild country that now is mostly
settled up.



I came to Gage county, Nebraska, in the fall of 1865, and homesteaded
160 acres of land, four miles from the village of Beatrice, in the Blue
River valley. I built a log house 12x14 feet with one door and two
windows. The floor was made of native lumber in the rough, that we had
sawed at a mill operated by water power.

With my little family I settled down to make my fortune. Though drouth
and grasshoppers made it discouraging at times, we managed to live on
what little we raised, supplemented by wild game--that was plentiful.
Wild turkeys and prairie chickens could be had by going a short distance
and further west there were plenty of buffalo and antelope.

Our first mail was carried from Nebraska City on horseback. The first
paper published in Gage county was in 1867 and was called the _Blue
Valley Record_. In 1872 a postoffice was established in the settlement
where we lived, which was an improvement over going four miles for mail.
For the first schoolhouse built in the district where I lived I helped
haul the lumber from Brownville, Nebraska, on the Missouri river,
sixty-five miles from the village of Beatrice. The first few crops of
wheat we raised were hauled to Nebraska City, as there was no market at
home for it. On the return trip we hauled merchandise for the
settlement. Every fall as long as wild game was near us we would spend a
week or two hunting; to lay in our winter supply of meat. I remember
when I came through where the city of Superior now is, first in 1866 and
again in 1867, nothing was to be seen but buffalo grass and a few large
cottonwood trees. I killed a buffalo near the present town of Hardy.

We have lived in Nebraska continuously since 1865 and it is hard to
believe the progress that it has made in these few years.



The writer has in his possession an old map of the North American
continent published in London in 1796, twelve years after the close of
the American Revolution, whereon the region now comprising the state of
Nebraska is shown as a part of Quivera; that supposed kingdom of
fabulous riches in quest of which Coronado pursued his tedious
wanderings more than three hundred years ago. At the time this map was
published the French had visited Indian tribes as far west as the
Missouri, and it must have been from French and Spanish sources that the
geographer and map-maker gathered the information that enabled him to
compile that part of his map covering the vast unknown regions of the
west. Guess-work and supposition resulted in elongations and
abbreviations of territory and rivers that made it possible for him to
show our own Blue river as emptying into the Gulf of California, and the
great kingdoms of Quivera and Teguayo as extending from the Missouri
river to the Pacific coast. The greater part of what is now Mexico is
shown as "New Biscay" and "New Navarre," while Mexico or "New Spain" is
crowded down towards Central America. The existence of the Rocky
Mountains, at the time this map was made, was unknown; and the whole
region covered by them is shown as a vast plain. While spending leisure
hours among some rare old books in the library of the Union League of
Philadelphia, I came across the chronicles of Coronado's wanderings and
adventures, as detailed by his monkish chaplain and preserved in the
Spanish archives. A careful perusal of these fully convinced me that the
route traversed was through eastern Nebraska as far northward as the
present site of Lincoln, and possibly as far as the Platte. The great
salt marsh was referred to, and the particulars of a disastrous
encounter with the warlike Otoes are given. Mention is made of the
Missouri nation and its bold warriors, as well as of other tribes whose
habitat and hunting grounds were the plains or prairies of eastern
Nebraska. In prehistoric times the Indian trails led along the level
river bottoms where both wood and water could be obtained and where game
was usually most abundant, and also in the direction of salt springs or
licks where salt might be obtainable and the larger kinds of game be
more plentiful. At the time of its settlement by white people the bottom
lands of the Blue were threaded by many deeply worn trails that had
evidently been traveled for centuries and a careful consideration of
happenings, as recorded by the monkish chronicler, and the fact I have
just stated in regard to the prehistoric routes of travel, forces the
conclusion that Coronado's weary cavalcade must undoubtedly have
followed the course of the Blue river to a point where the well worn
trail diverged towards the great salt basin. Possibly the party may have
encamped on the site of Beatrice and there can be little doubt that one
of the Indian cities mentioned by the faithful monkish historian,
occupied the present site of Blue Springs, where evidences of an ancient
Indian town can still be seen, and the outlines of ancient
fortifications be traced. Fragments of Indian pottery and stone knives
and implements, of both the paleolithic and the neolithic ages, are
frequently turned up by the plowshare in that vicinity, all indicating a
long established occupancy that must have continued for centuries. As
late as the early part of the last century the Pawnees occupied the
site; and when the writer as United States government agent took charge
of the Otoes and Missouris, in the summer of 1869, there were still old
warriors living who remembered hearing their fathers tell of deeds of
bloody warfare done in this very vicinity, and who pointed out to the
writer the very spot, in a deep draw or ravine on the prairie a few
miles east of Blue Springs, where a war party of thirty Otoes met a
well-deserved, but terrible death. At the time of this occurrence the
Otoes were living at the mouth of the Nemaha and were on very bad terms
with the Pawnees, many of whose scalps the writer has seen adorning Otoe
medicine bags or hanging in their wigwams. The Pawnees had started on a
buffalo hunt, leaving at home only the old and decrepit and a few
children, and the Otoes, knowing that the defenders of the village had
started on the hunt, made an attack at daybreak the next morning,
murdering and scalping old and young alike and after loading themselves
with plunder, hastened on their homeward trip. Unfortunately for the
Otoes the Pawnee hunters had encamped only eight miles up Indian creek
and one of them that morning had returned to the village on some errand
and arrived just in time to discover what was going on. The Otoes
wounded him severely, but he succeeded in escaping to the Pawnee camp
and giving the alarm. The enraged Pawnee warriors, mounted on their
freshest and fastest ponies, were not long in reaching the village, nor
were they long in discovering the trail of the Otoe war party, which
they followed until they overtook it at the place pointed out to the
writer. Here a fierce battle took place which resulted in the complete
extermination of the Otoe party; the tall slough grass, in which they
took shelter, having been set on fire, the wounded all perished in the
conflagration. This is probably one of the most tragic incidents of
which we have any knowledge as having happened within the limits of Gage

The first store established within the county was located in a log house
on Plum creek near the present site of the village of Liberty. It was
established, primarily as an Indian trading place, by a Mr. MacDonald,
of St. Joseph, Missouri, but was under the management of Mrs. Palmer,
who with her husband, David, were the first white settlers within the
limits of the county, having arrived in 1857 a few weeks prior to the
coming of the founders of Beatrice. David was drowned a few years ago
while bathing in the Blue. The store on Plum creek, on one occasion, was
raided by a party of Pawnees who, loaded with plunder, were pursued by a
large party of Otoes, who overtook them on the Little Blue some distance
above the present site of Fairbury, and killed them all. The site of
this battle was pointed out to the writer by the Otoes while
accompanying them on a buffalo hunt in 1870. The skulls and bones of the
slain were still in evidence at that time, being concealed in the dense
thicket in which the battle had taken place.

About the year 1868 a war party of Osages made a raid on the aboriginal
inhabitants of the county and murdered and scalped several squaws who
were chopping wood near the Blue. The trail of the Osages was followed,
by a war party of Otoes, to the reservation of the former and
satisfaction exacted in the shape of a gift of forty head of ponies. On
their way back the Otoes concluded that they had settled too cheaply and
feared they might be censured by the kindred of the murdered women.
They halted, and leaving the forty head of ponies under guard, made a
flying raid on the Osage pony herds and succeeded in stealing and
getting safely away with another forty head. In due time, with eighty
head of Osage ponies, they made a triumphal daylight entry into their
home village. If they had been unsuccessful they would have stolen in
one by one during the darkness of the night.

The last Indian war party to traverse the soil of Gage county consisted
of thirty naked and painted Omahas. It transpired that a party of
Kickapoos had raided the pony herds of the Omahas and stolen thirty head
of ponies, and in order to throw suspicion on the Otoes, had cunningly
directed their trail towards the Otoe reservation, passing in the night
as near to the Otoe village as possible without being discovered. The
Otoes at this time were expecting, and trying to guard against, a raid
from the Osages, whom they had great reason to fear, as it was fully
expected that they would exact satisfaction, sooner or later, for that
extra forty head of ponies that the Otoes had stolen. As a protection
from the Osages, the Otoes had constructed a sort of a stockade of poles
tied together with withes and strips of bark, in front of each wigwam,
where they kept their nearly eight hundred head of ponies under careful
watch every night. The Omaha war party stealthily approached under cover
of the darkness and finding sentinels posted and watching, they hid in
the tall weeds and sunflowers as close to the stockades as they could
safely get, until daybreak, when the sleepy sentinels, thinking all
danger over, entered the wigwams for something to eat and a nap, then
emerging from their hiding places the Omahas made quick work of cutting
the lashings that bound the poles and selecting thirty of the best
ponies they could get hold of. The noise of the ponies' hoof-beats, as
the Omahas rode swiftly away, aroused the Otoes, and in a very few
minutes the whole village was in a commotion. Fierce war whoops
resounded; the heralds went about calling the braves into action and
soon there was mounting in hot haste. The writer, awakened by the
tumult, stepped out upon a balcony in front of the agency building and
beheld a sight such as no historian of the county will ever again
record. In the far distance the naked Omahas were riding for their very
lives, while perhaps a hundred or more Otoes were lashing their ponies
in a wild frenzy of pursuit. In the village the greatest commotion
prevailed, the women wailed, the heralds shouted, and the dogs barked;
scores of women stood on the tops of their wigwams shrieking and
gesticulating and the temper of the community closely resembled that of
a nest of hornets when aroused by the rude thrust of a pole. It was
nearly noon when the distant war whoops, announcing the return of the
pursuers, were heard; as they drew near it was apparent that they were
wildly triumphant and were bringing with them the thirty hideously
painted Omahas. The prisoners were delivered to the agent who directed
his police to disarm them, and cause them to be seated on the floor of
the council room where they formed a dejected looking group with their
naked bodies and shaved and vermillion painted heads. It was then that
their leader explained that their seizure of ponies was honestly
intended as a reprisal for ponies which they had lost. Old Medicine
Horse, an Otoe chief, assured them that his braves would have killed
every one of them if the agent had not talked so much about the
wickedness of killing, and it was only their fear of displeasing him
that caused them to take prisoners instead of scalps. After much
speech-making, the agent adjourned the council and suggested that the
Otoes take the Omahas to their wigwams, feed them, and allow them to
depart in peace; and this was done. The only blood shed during the
campaign was in the shooting of one of Elijah Filley's hogs by the
Omahas. The first notification I had of this atrocious and bloody affair
was when Elijah, then quite a young man, came to see me and file a
complaint, bringing with him the blood-stained arrow that had pierced
the vitals of his innocent hog.

Perhaps one of the saddest tragedies of those early days occurred in
1870 when two homesteaders, returning to their families from a trip to
Brownville for provisions, were brutally murdered by a half-breed named
Jim Whitewater. Jim was just returning from a buffalo hunt and had
secured a supply of whiskey from a man named Wehn, at Fairbury. Being
more than half drunk, he conceived the idea that the bravest thing he
could do would be to kill some white people; and it happened that he
came across the poor homesteaders just at that time. It was about dusk
and the poor fellows had halted for the night, by the side of a draw
where the grass was tall enough to cut for their horses. They had
unharnessed their teams, tied them to the wagons and were in the act of
mowing grass for them when a pistol shot rang out and one of them fell
mortally wounded; the other, being attacked, and though mortally hurt,
tried to defend himself with the scythe that he had been using, and in
doing so cut the Indian's hand, almost severing the thumb. The scene of
this terrible affair was just over the Gage county line in Jefferson
county and consequently it devolved on the sheriff of that county to
discover and arrest the murderer. As Whitewater had been seen in the
vicinity, suspicion pointed to him and his arrest followed. He soon
escaped from the officers and was hidden for two weeks, when the Indian
police discovered his place of concealment in the timber on Wolf creek.
His own brother, assisted by other Indians, captured him by strategy,
bound him securely with their lariats and delivered him at the agency.
The writer had gone to Beatrice on business and was not expected back
until the next day, but in his absence his wife, then a young woman of
about twenty, took energetic measures to insure the safety of the
prisoner by ordering him placed in irons, and kept under a strong guard
until the agent's return. In the meantime, having finished the business
at Beatrice and there being a full moon, the writer decided to drive the
twenty miles to the agency between sundown and midnight, which he did,
arriving there shortly after midnight. Of course, until his arrival, he
had no intimation that Whitewater had been captured. Before leaving home
the Indians had reported that they had reason to believe that he was
hiding somewhere on Wolf creek, as his wife had taken dried buffalo meat
to that locality, and as the writer, in returning, had to drive for
about forty rods through the heavy timber bordering that creek and cross
it at a deep and rather dangerous ford, and knowing that Whitewater had
declared that he would take both the agent and the sheriff with him to
the other world, and that he was heavily armed, the writer is not
ashamed to confess to a feeling of nervousness almost akin to fear, as
he was about to enter that stretch of timber shaded road dimly lighted
by the full moon. He first carefully let down the curtains of the
carriage and then made his team dash at full speed through the long
stretch of timber, plunge and flounder through the ford, and out once
more upon the open prairie, the driver expecting at almost any moment
to hear the crack of a pistol. On arriving within sight of the agency
building, instead of finding it dark and silent as he had expected, the
writer was greatly surprised to see it well lighted and many Indian
police standing about it as if on guard. The next morning the writer
with several Indian chiefs and the Indian police started for Fairbury
with the prisoner; the Indians riding two abreast and carrying a large
United States flag at the head of the procession. The trip was made via
Beatrice and the distance traveled was about fifty miles. The Indians
feared an attack from the Rose creek settlers; neighbors and friends of
the murdered men, and as they approached Fairbury the entire line of
Indians commenced a melodious chant which the interpreter explained as
nothing less than an appeal to the Great Spirit asking him to incline
the hearts of the people to treat the Indians kindly and fairly. On
arriving at Fairbury the cavalcade halted in the public square and was
soon surrounded by the entire population of the hamlet. It was nearly
dark, but the good ladies of the place set about preparing a bountiful
meal for the hungry Indians, to which they did ample justice. There
being no jail in the place, we waived a hearing and started the next
morning for Pawnee City, where prison accommodations could be had.
Shortly after leaving Fairbury the interpreter told the Indians that
evidently the Great Spirit had heard their appeal, to which they all
vociferously assented. Jim was kept at Pawnee City until his trial,
which took place at Fairbury before Judge O. P. Mason, who sentenced him
to imprisonment for life. Whitewater was one of three individuals among
the Otoes who could read and write, the other two being Battiste Barneby
and Battiste Deroin, both of whom were very capable interpreters.
Polygamy being allowable among the Otoes, Deroin was one who had availed
himself of its privileges, his two wives being sisters. On learning that
Whitewater had been imprisoned for life, his wife soon found another
husband, greatly to his sorrow and chagrin. It was during Whitewater's
imprisonment that the reservation was sold and the Indians removed.
Eighteen years after his conviction he received a pardon and left the
penitentiary to rejoin the tribe. What retribution he meted out to those
who aided in his capture or to his wife's second husband, the writer has
never learned.

A year before the writer took charge of the Otoes and Missouris, a
delegation of their chiefs had accompanied their agent Major Smith, to
Washington and made a treaty under which the whole reservation of
160,000 acres was to be sold at $1.50 per acre. The writer was informed
by Major Smith that a railroad company would become the ultimate
beneficiary, provided the treaty was ratified by the senate, and that he
had been promised a section of land if the scheme proved successful.
Smith urged the writer to use all the influence possible to secure the
ratification of the treaty and before the writer had taken any steps to
secure its defeat, he also received an intimation, if not an absolute
promise, from interested parties, that in the event of its ratification,
he should have his choice of any section of land on the domain.
Believing that such a treaty was adverse to the interests and welfare of
the Indians, the writer at once set about to accomplish its defeat, in
which, through the aid of eastern friends, he was finally successful.

Coronado's chronicler mentions, among other nations with whom the
expedition came in contact, the _Missourias_ as being very fierce and
warlike, and it may be a matter of local historical interest to state
that the Missouri "nation" with which Coronado became acquainted, and
from which one of the world's largest rivers and one of the largest and
richest states take their names, reduced to a remnant of less than one
hundred individuals, found an abiding place within the limits of Gage
county for more than a generation. Placed on a reservation with the
Otoes and under the care of the same agent, they still retained their
own chief and their own language, though circumstances gradually induced
the adoption of the Otoe tongue. The old chief of the Missouris was
called Eagle and was known as a war chief. It was his province to
command and direct all hunting operations. He was a man of very striking
appearance, over six feet in height, straight as an arrow, with fine
features and apparently about seventy-five years of age in 1869. He was
an hereditary chief, and probably a lineal descendant of one of the
kings of the Missouri nation that Coronado and his followers met. Old
Eagle was the only chief of the Missouris, and was respected and highly
esteemed by both the Missouris and the Otoes. During a buffalo hunt, in
which the writer participated with the Indians, Eagle chief was the
highest authority in regard to all matters pertaining to the chase and
attack on the herd. In 1869 the head chief of the Otoes was Arkeketah
who was said to have been appointed to that position by Major Daily. He
was a polygamist and very much opposed to the ways of the white man. In
fact he was such a reactionary and stumbling-block to the progress of
the tribe that the writer finally deposed him and advanced Medicine
Horse to the position of head chief.

The number of Indians living within the borders of Gage county in 1869
was probably not far from eight hundred. The reservation, comprising two
hundred and fifty square miles, extended some distance into Kansas and
also took in a part of Jefferson county in this state, but the Indians
were all domiciled in Gage county. Their principal village was situated
close to the site now occupied by the town of Barnston and where a fine
spring afforded an ample supply of water. The wigwams were of a type
adopted by the Indians long before the discovery of America, and most of
them were large enough to accommodate several families. It was a custom
of the Otoes to vacate the wigwams and live during the winter in tipis
which were pitched in the timber where fuel was close at hand. In 1869
only three persons in the confederated tribes wore citizens clothes, the
rest were all blanket Indians, who, during warm weather, went almost
naked, and habitually painted their faces and shaved heads, with
vermillion and indigo.

The principal burial place of the Otoes was on a bluff overlooking the
river bottoms, and within a short distance of where Barnston now stands.
For years it was visited, as one of the curiosities of the reservation,
by the white settlers and strangers, chiefly on account of the weird and
ghostly funeral oaks that stood on the brink of the bluff, bearing,
lashed to their gnarled and crooked limbs, gruesome burdens of dead
Indians, wrapped in bark and partly mummified by the sun and wind; there
was probably a score of these interesting objects resting peacefully on
the boughs of these three oaks; they had been there for many years, and
might possibly have remained to this day had not a great prairie fire
during the summer of 1871 destroyed the oaks and their ghastly burden,
leaving only an assortment of charred bones and skulls to mark the site.

A strange and pathetic tragedy, in connection with this old burial
place, transpired shortly before the writer took charge of the agency
and its affairs; and it was from the interpreter, Battiste Deroin, that
the particulars were obtained. The incident may be worth preserving by
the local historian, as illustrating the absolute faith of the Indians
in a continued existence of the spirit beyond the grave. Dogs were
frequently strangled at children's funerals in order that the dog's
spirit might accompany that of the child, and it was a common sight to
see a dog's body sitting upright with its back to a stake and securely
tied in that position, in the vicinity of the old burial place. The man
who figured in this tragedy was very aged and feeble, and the little
child was very dear to him; he doubtless knew that he had not long to
live and that he very soon would have to travel over the same lonely
trail that the little child was about to take. Doubtless he realized
fully what a comfort it would be to each, if they could take the long
journey together. The Otoes always buried their dead in a sitting
posture; and the old man, when seated in the grave, held the body of the
child in his arms. The relatives took a last farewell of both the dead
child and its living caretaker; the grave was covered with a buffalo
robe supported on poles or heavy sticks, and the mass of earth taken
from the grave was piled thereon; this being their usual mode of burial.

The custom of strangling a horse or pony at the burial of an Indian
brave was a common occurrence among the Otoes prior to 1870 and the old
burial place on the bluff was somewhat decorated with horses' skulls
laid upon the graves of warriors who are supposed to have gone to heaven
on horseback. The tail of the horse sacrificed was usually fastened to a
pole that stood at the head of the grave.

The first school established within the limits of the county was a
mission school under the care of the Rev. Mr. Murdock, and the old stone
building, built for it on Mission creek, was the first stone building in
the county. It was a ruin in 1869.

In 1869 there were still some beavers to be found along the Blue; and at
that time the river abounded with large gars, some of which were three
or four feet in length; a fish which has since become entirely extinct
in the Blue, probably because the water is no longer clear. The gar was
one of the primitive fishes of the silurian age; it was very destructive
of all other fish. White people never ate it, but the Indians thought
it fairly good. The Indians obtained most of their fish by shooting with
arrows from the river banks. They often succeeded in shooting very large
fish owing to the clearness of the water. This could not be done now
that the prairies have been put into cultivation, as that has destroyed
the clearness of the water.

As late as 1869 there were some wild deer in the county and little
spotted fawns were occasionally caught. The writer procured two of the
latter from the Indians and gave them to Ford Roper's family in
Beatrice; they became very tame and were frequently seen on the streets
of the town. In 1870 the writer, while driving from Blue Springs to
Beatrice, met a large buck with antlers, as it emerged from an opening
in the bluffs.

Among the first settlers of the county were some families from Tennessee
who settled near the present town of Liberty on Plum creek. They did
their own spinning and weaving, and having been accustomed to raising
cotton and mixing it with the wool for spinning, they undertook to raise
it here. The writer remembers seeing their cotton patches, but never saw
them gathering cotton.

The first bridge built in the county to cross the river, was built on
Market street, Beatrice, about the year 1870. It was a very narrow
wooden structure, only wide enough for one wagon at a time to pass over.
The firm of Peavy and Curtiss of Pawnee City were the contractors and
the contract price was $4,000. It was regarded as a public improvement
of very great importance to the town.



I came to Beatrice, Nebraska, in 1874, after having been through
Minnesota, Dakota, and Kansas, looking for a place where a settlement of
our people, the Mennonites, could be established. Of all the land I had
looked over, I liked southeastern Nebraska best, and the little town of
Beatrice on the banks of the Big Blue, then consisting of maybe fifty
dwellings and a few stores on lower Court street, seemed very
picturesque and attractive. After forty years I have not changed my
opinion. We found a suitable tract of prairie just across the line in
Jefferson county, which we bought of the Burlington and Missouri River
railroad at $3.50 per acre on easy payments. Beatrice remained our chief
place of business. Smith Brothers had just started a banking business in
one-half of a little shack, the other half being occupied by a
watchmaker carrying a small stock of jewelry. Klein & Lang had a general
store on the corner of Second and Court streets, and here we did nearly
all of our trading. The "Pacific House" on Second street was the only
hotel. Here I made headquarters for some time. Mr. and Mrs. Randall, the
hosts, were very kind to me. The latter died a few years later in the
prime of her life.

We soon commenced to build up what was for years known as "Jansen's
Ranch," about twenty miles southwest of Beatrice, and stock it with
sheep, which we brought from Wisconsin. The first summer I had a
temporary sheep corral about where the West Side schoolhouse now stands.
We used to drive from the ranch to Beatrice diagonally across the
prairie; very few section lines had been established, and there was only
one house between the two points.

Major Wheeler, of stage route fame, lived at the Pacific house and took
a kindly interest in the young emigrant boy. I remember on one occasion
I had brought in a carload of valuable breeding sheep and quartered them
for the night in the corral of the livery stable across the street from
the hotel, run then by S. P. Lester. I was afraid of strange dogs
attacking them, and sat up all night on the porch watching. In the
morning, while washing up in the primitive wash-room, I overheard the
major telling Mr. Randall about it. He concluded by saying: "That young
fellow is all right; a boy who sits up all night with a few sheep will
certainly succeed." I felt proud over the praise, and it encouraged me
very much.

We were told by the few settlers who had preceded us that the upland
prairie would not grow anything and that the bottom land was the only
place where crops could be raised with any assurance of success.
However, we were going to try farming, anyway. I bought a yoke of young
oxen and a breaking plow and started in. The oxen were not well broken,
and the plow was new and would not scour. Besides, I did not know
anything about breaking prairie or driving oxen. The latter finally
became impatient and ran away, dragging the plow with them. It was a hot
day in May, and they headed for a nearby slough, going into the water up
to their sides. I had by that time discarded my shoes and followed them
as fast as I could. When I reached the slough, quite out of breath and
thoroughly disgusted, I sat down and nearly cried and wished I were back
in Russia where I did not have to drive oxen myself. About this time the
nearest neighbor, a Mr. Babcock, living four miles away, happened along
driving a team of old, well broken oxen. He asked what my trouble was,
and after I told him in broken English, he said: "Well, Pete, take off
your trousers and go in and get your oxen and plow out, and I will help
you lay off the land and get your plow agoing," which he did, and so
started me farming.

My younger brother, John, and I bached it for two years. One of us would
herd the sheep and the other stay at home and do the chores and cooking.
We took turns about every week. We had a room partitioned off in the end
of the sheep shed, where we lived.

Game was plentiful those days, and during the fall and winter we never
lacked for meat.

I had by that time, I regret to say, acquired the filthy American habit
of chewing (I have quit it long since), and enjoyed it very much while
doing the lonely stunt of herding the flock.

One day we had gotten a new supply of groceries and also a big plug of
what was known as "Star" chewing tobacco. Next morning I started out on
my pony with the sheep, the plug in my pocket, and anticipating a good
time. Soon a severe thunder storm came up, and lightning was striking
all around me. I felt sure I would be hit and they would find me dead
with the big plug of tobacco in my pocket. My mother knew nothing of my
bad habit, and I also knew that it would nearly kill her to find out, so
I threw the plug far away and felt better--for awhile. The clouds soon
passed away, however, and the sun came out brightly and soon found me
hunting for that plug, which, to my great disappointment, I never

Those early winters, seems to me, were severer than they are now, and
the snow storms or blizzards much fiercer, probably because the wind had
an unrestricted sweep over the vast prairies.

In a few years our flocks had increased, so that we built a corral and
shed a mile and a half away, where we kept our band of wethers and a

About Christmas, I think it was in 1880, a blizzard started, as they
usually did, with a gentle fall of snow, which lasted the first day.
During the night the wind veered to the north, and in the morning we
could not see three rods; it seemed like a sea of milk! We were very
anxious to know the fate of our herder and his band of sheep, and
towards noon I attempted to reach them, hitching a pair of horses to a
sleigh and taking a man along. We soon got lost and drove around in a
circle, blinded by the snow, for hours, my companion giving up and
resigning himself to death. We probably would have both perished had it
not been for the sagacity of my near horse, to which I finally gave the
reins, being benummed myself. He brought us home, and you may believe
the barking of the shepherd dogs sounded very musical to me as we neared
the barn.

We got our fuel from the Indian reservation about eight miles south of
us on the creek, where now stands the thriving town of Diller. The
Indians were not allowed to sell any timber, but a generous gift of
tobacco was too tempting to them to resist.

Rattlesnakes were found frequently in those days, and their venomous
bites caused great agony and sometimes death. One Sunday afternoon, wife
and myself were sitting on the porch of our small frame house, while our
baby was playing a few feet away in a pile of sand. Our attention was
attracted by her loud and gleeful crooning. Looking up, we saw her
poking a stick at a big rattler, coiled, ready to spring, about three
feet away. I have always detested snakes and would give even a harmless
bull-snake a wide berth. However, I took one big jump and landed on Mr.
Rattler with both feet, while my wife snatched the baby out of harm's

The next ten years made a great change. We had proven that farming on
the tablelands could be made a success, railroads had been built, and
towns and villages had sprung up like mushrooms. We even got a
telephone. The wilderness had been conquered.

When I look back upon those first years of early settlement, with their
privations and hardships, I cannot refrain from thinking they were the
happiest ones of my life, especially after I got married in 1877 and my
dear wife came to share joy and sorrow with me. To her I attribute to a
very large extent what little I may have achieved in the way of helping
to build up this great commonwealth.


Third State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1898]



Emerson aptly said, "America is another word for opportunity." We
realize this most truly when we compare present prosperity with early
day living in the middle West.

In 1878 my brother, A. M. McMaster, and family, arrived in Nebraska
City. They came overland to Gage county and settled on section 15, two
and a half miles northeast of Filley and one mile south of what was then
known as Melroy postoffice, so-called in honor of two little boys born
the same year the postoffice was established, Mell Gale and Roy
Tinklepaugh, whose parents were among the earliest settlers in this

My brother built his house of lumber he had shipped to Nebraska City.
Beatrice was our market place. We sold all our grain, hogs, and produce
there. Eggs were five cents a dozen and butter six cents a pound. The
first year we came we bought five hundred bushels of corn at twelve
cents a bushel delivered, and cribbed it.

There was an Indian trail across the farm, and often the Indians would
pass going from the Omaha reservation to the Otoe reservation at
Barnston; the children would become frightened and hide under the bed;
the Indians would often call and ask for flour and meat.

There was not a house between Elijah Filley's stone barn and Beatrice on
the Scott street road, and no bridges. The trail we followed going to
Beatrice led us north to Melroy, making the traveling distance one and a
half miles farther than in these times of well preserved section lines
and graded country roads. This stone barn of Elijah Filley's was an
early landmark. I have heard Mr. Filley tell interesting anecdotes of
his early years here, one of an Indian battle near the present site of

Before the town of Filley was in existence, there was a postoffice
called "Cottage Hill," which is shown on old time maps of the state.

One of the curiosities of the early times was a cow with a wooden leg,
running with a herd of cattle. The hind leg was off at the knee joint.
She was furnishing milk for the family of her owner, a Mr. Scott living
on Mud creek, near the town of Filley.

Mr. Scott often told of pounding their corn to pulverize it. The nearest
mill was at Nebraska City. This difficult traffic continued until 1883,
when the Burlington came through Filley.

Two or three years after we had located here, two young men came along
from Kansas looking for work. My brother was away from home, working at
carpentry, and his wife, fearing to be alone, would lock the stair door
after they retired and unlock it in the morning before they appeared.
They gathered the corn and then remained and worked for their board. One
day, one of the young men was taken sick. The other was sent for Dr.
Boggs. He lost his way in a raging blizzard and came out five miles
north of where he intended to, but reached the doctor and secured
medicine, the doctor not being able to go. The next day Dr. Boggs, with
his son to shovel through the drifts, succeeded in getting there. The
young man grew worse, they sent for his mother, and she came by stage.
The storm was so fierce the stage was left there for a week; the horses
were taken to Melroy postoffice. The young man died and was taken in the
stage to Beatrice to be shipped home, men going with shovels to dig a
road. Arriving there it was found that the railroad was blocked. As they
could not ship the body, they secured a casket and the next day brought
it back to our house. My brother was not at home, and they took the
corpse to a neighbor's house. The next day they buried him four miles
east, at what is now known as Crab Orchard.

True, life in those days tended to make our people sturdy, independent
and ingenious, but for real comfort it is not strange that we prefer
present day living, with good mail service, easy modes of
transportation, modern houses, and well equipped educational



As my father, Ford Lewis, was one of the pioneer land owners in Nebraska
and assisted actively in settling the southeast part of the state, I
have been requested to give a brief sketch of his life and early
experiences in this state. My only regret in writing this is that he is
not here to speak for himself. Ford Lewis was born in Deckertown, New
Jersey, July 25, 1829, son of Phoebe and Levi Lewis, the latter engaged
in mercantile business both in Hamburg and Hackettstown, New Jersey.

After finishing his education at William Rankin's Classical School and
studying under Chris Marsh, author of double entry bookkeeping, he
assisted his father in the mercantile business for some time. However,
he preferred other pursuits and after a successful test of his judgment
in real estate, started west. At Syracuse, New York, he was induced to
engage in partnership under the name of Chapman & Lewis, watch case
manufacturers and importers of watch movements; keeping standard time
for the New York Central and other roads and supplying railroad
officials, conductors, and engineers with the highest grade of watches.

Selling his interest in 1856, he accepted the general agency of the
Morse Publishing House, New York, making his headquarters at Charleston,
South Carolina, in winter and at Cleveland, Ohio, in summer, until 1859,
when he went to Jerseyville, Illinois, with his parents and sister,
buying and selling real estate in that city and Jersey county until
1867, when, with Congressman Robert M. Knapp, he visited Nebraska, and
made his first investment in government land, many of his United States
patents being signed by Presidents Grant and Johnson.

Ford Lewis was in pioneer days one of the largest owners of farm lands
in Nebraska, his holdings being chiefly in Pawnee, Otoe, Gage, Johnson,
and Lancaster counties. On one of his advertising cards he states that,
"occupied for eighteen years past in the purchase and sale of over
80,000 acres of other lands, these, on account of their well known
intrinsic value have been reserved intact."

Mr. Lewis founded the towns of Lewiston in Pawnee county and Virginia in
Gage county, naming the latter in honor of his daughter.

At a meeting of the Nebraska legislature held at Omaha in 1867, Mr.
Lewis was an interested spectator, and before the capital of the state
was changed he predicted its location in the salt basin, almost on the
spot where Lincoln now stands. He accordingly purchased property in the
vicinity of what is now Beatrice, making a comfortable fortune as the
result of his wisdom and foresight. By Ford Lewis' liberality to those
purchasing land from him, in selling at reasonable prices, and extending
their contracts during hard times, instead of making purchasers forfeit
their land because of inability to meet their payments, he encouraged
and assisted many settlers who are now some of Nebraska's most
prosperous farmers to keep their land, which is now the source of their
prosperity. During the period when he was borrowing money for his
investments in Nebraska land, many Illinois people remarked that Ford
Lewis was "land crazy," but have since wished they had had his vision,
and courage to hold their purchases through the crop failures and
drouths which are sometimes the portion of every community: those who
followed his advice now "rise up and call him blessed."

That he was not alone in his judgment is evidenced by the large land
holdings of the late Lord Scully of England and the late John W.
Bookwalter of Springfield, Ohio, who recently died in Italy, and was a
warm personal friend of my father's, having purchased some of his land
from him.

Mr. Lewis married Miss Elizabeth Davis of Jerseyville, Illinois, in
1864. She was the first girl baby born in that town, her parents being
among the earliest pioneers there from New Jersey; so her childhood
memories of bears, Indians, and slave refugees during the civil war, and
roaming the woods surrounding their home prepared her to be a capable
and sympathetic helpmate for my father during his many pioneer trips to



In the fall of 1866, about the last of October, a party of nine men,
myself included, started out from Rose creek for a buffalo hunt. At
Whiterock, Kansas, we were joined by another party of four men with "Old
Martin Fisher," an early Whiterock settler, as official guide. Our
equipment consisted of four wagons, one of which was drawn by a double
ox team. There were numerous firearms and plenty of provisions for the
trip. The party was much elated over the first day's experiences as
night found us in possession of four fine buffalo. That evening while we
were riding out after one of the buffalo our ears were greeted by the
Indian yell. Looking back up a draw we saw five redmen galloping toward
us. At the time we did not know they were friendly, but that was proven
later. They came up to us and wanted powder or "bullet" and also wanted
to swap guns. All they succeeded in getting was a necktie which one of
the men gave them. After a short parley among themselves they left,
going back to our camp where we had left one man to guard the camp and
prepare supper. There they helped themselves to the loaf of bread the
guard had just baked, a $12 coat, a $22 revolver, and one good bridle;
away they went and that was the last seen of them. The night was passed
in safety and the next day we hunted without any exciting experiences.
The following day we met with only fair success so thought we had better
start for home. In the morning the party divided, our guide, Fisher, and
two men going on and leaving the rest of us to hunt as we went along. We
succeeded in getting only one buffalo, but Fisher's men had done better
and were ready to make tracks for home. That night they had suspicions
that there were Indians near so built no fire and in the morning soon
after breaking camp a party of Indians came upon them. There was
considerable parleying about a number of things which the Indians wanted
but the men were unwilling to make any bargains whatever. All the
Indians but one started off and this one still wanted to parley and
suddenly drew his revolver and shot Fisher in the shoulder. The Indian
then rode off at breakneck speed and that was the last seen of them.
Fisher warned the men not to shoot as he was uncertain as to how many
redmen might be in their vicinity and he did not want to take any great
risk of them all being killed. Our party did not know of the accident
until we returned home and we had no encounter with the party of
Indians. We were thankful to be safely home after a ten days hunt.



Perhaps children who live in a pioneer country remember incidents in
their early life better than children living in older settled countries.
These impressions stand out clearly and in prominence all the rest of
their lives.

At least there are several things which happened before I was six years
old that are as vivid in my memory as if they had happened but
yesterday. Such was the coming of the grasshoppers in 1874, when I was
two years old.

My father, Judge Boyle, then owned the block on the north side of Fifth
street between I and J streets, in the village of Fairbury. Our house
stood where J. A. Westling's house now stands. Near our place passed the
stage road to Beatrice. A common remark then was, "We are almost to
Fairbury, there is Boyle's house."

Father always had a big garden of sweet corn, tomatoes, cabbage, etc.,
and that year it was especially fine.

One day he came rushing home from his office saying, "The grasshoppers
are coming." Mother and he hurried to the garden to save all the
vegetables possible before the grasshoppers arrived. I put on a little
pink sunbonnet of which I was very proud, and went out to watch my
parents gather the garden truck as fast as they could and run to the
cellar door and toss it down. I jumped up and down thoroughly enjoying
the excitement. Finally, the grasshoppers, which were coming from the
northwest like a dark cloud, seeming so close, father shut the cellar
door before he and mother returned to the garden for another load. They
had just filled their arms when the grasshoppers began to drop and not
wishing to let any down cellar they threw what vegetables they had on
the ground and turned a big wooden wash tub over them. By this time my
little pink sunbonnet was covered with big grasshoppers. Mother picked
me up in her arms and we hurried into the house. From the north kitchen
window we watched every stalk of that garden disappear, even the onions
were eaten from the ground.

When father went to get the vegetables from under the wooden tub there
wasn't a thing there. The grasshoppers had managed to crawl and dig
their way under the edge of that tub.

The only time an Indian ever frightened me was in the fall of 1875. I
was used to having the Otoe Indians come to our house. Mother was not
afraid of them so of course I was not. Among them was a big fellow
called John Little Pipe. The door in the hall of our house had glass in
the upper half. One afternoon mother being nearly sick was lying down on
the couch and I took my doll trying to keep quiet playing in the hall.
Looking up suddenly I saw John stooping and looking in through the glass
in the door. I screamed and ran to mother. He didn't like my screaming
but followed me into the sitting room and upon seeing mother lying down
said, "White lady sick?" Mother was on her feet in a moment. He sat down
and after grumbling a while about my screaming he began to beg for a
suit of clothes. Mother said, "John, you know well enough you are too
large to wear my husband's clothes." Then he wanted something for his
squaw and children. Finally mother gave him an old dress of hers. He
looked it over critically and asked for goods to patch it where it was
worn thin. Grabbing his blanket where it lay across his knees he shook
it saying, "Wind, whew, whew." After receiving the patches, he wanted
food but mother told him he could not have a thing more and for him to
go. He started, but toward the closet he had seen her take the dress
from. She said, "You know better than to go to that door. You go out the
way you came in." He meekly obeyed. I had seen him many times before and
saw him several times afterward but that was the only time I was



In March, 1868, I left Fairbury, Illinois, with my two brothers and a
boy friend in a covered wagon drawn by two mules. We landed at Nebraska
City after swimming the mules to get to the ferry on which we crossed
the Big Muddy. We then drove to Lincoln the first week in April. My
father had purchased a home there on the site where the Capital hotel
now stands. Lincoln then was but a hamlet of a few hundred people. There
were no shade trees nor sidewalks and no railroad. Later father built a
larger house, out a considerable distance in those days, but today it
faces the capitol building. The house is a brick structure, and all the
bricks were hauled from Nebraska City. Afterwards father sold the home
to Chancellor Fairfield of the State University.

The year before we came father had come to Nebraska and had bought a
large body of land, about ten thousand acres, in Pawnee county. I being
the oldest boy in our family, it devolved upon me to go to Pawnee county
to look after the land, which was upland and considered by the older
inhabitants of little value; but the tract is now worth about a million
dollars. Among other duties I superintended the opening up of the lines
and plowing out fifty-two miles of hedge rows around and through this
land. I am sorry to say that most of the money and labor were lost for
prairie fires almost completely destroyed the hedge.

I had many experiences during my two years' sojourn in Pawnee county.
The work was hard and tedious. Shelter and drinking-water were
scarce--we drank water from the buffalo wallows or went thirsty, and at
times had to brave the storms in the open. The people were poor and many
lived in sod houses or "dugouts," and the living was very plain. Meat
and fruit were rarities. The good people I lived with did their best to
provide, but they were up against it. Grasshoppers and the drouth were
things they had to contend with. At times our meals consisted of bread
and butter and pumpkin, with pumpkin pie for Sunday dinner. The barn we
usually carried with us. It consisted of a rope from sixty to a hundred
feet long for each mule or horse and was called the lariat. I put the
pony one night in the barn across the ravine, I well remember, and in
the morning I found a river between the barn and me. A rain had fallen
in the night and I had to wait nearly a day before I could get to the

Our only amusement was running down young deer and rabbits and killing

We often met the red man with his paint and feathers. He was ever ready
to greet you with "How!" and also ready to trade ponies, and never
backward about asking for "tobac." As I was neither brave nor well
acquainted with the Indians I was always ready to divide my "tobac."
Later I found out I was easy, for the boys told me whenever they met the
beggar Indian they told him to "puckachee," which they said meant for
him to move on.

We had no banks, and we cashed our drafts with the merchants. David
Butler was governor at that time. He was a merchant as well, and made
his home in Pawnee, so he was my banker. On two occasions I had the
pleasure of riding with him in his buggy from Pawnee to Lincoln. It was
indeed a privilege to ride in a buggy, for we all rode ponies those
days, and I think I was envied by most of the boys and girls of Pawnee.
On one of my return trips with the governor my good mother had baked a
nice cake for me to take with me, which I put under the seat along with
a lot of wines of several kinds and grades which the governor's friends
had given him. Of course mother didn't know about the liquids. I'll
never forget that trip. We grew very sociable and the Nemaha valley grew
wider and wider as we drove along; and when we arrived at Pawnee the
next day the cake was all gone, our faces were like full moons, and it
was fully a week before I had any feeling in my flesh.

I also well remember the first train which ran between Lincoln and
Plattsmouth. That was a great day, and the Burlington excursion was made
up of box cars and flat cars with ties for seats. Crowds of young people
took advantage of the excursion and we enjoyed it much more than we
would today in a well-equipped pullman.



Along in the seventies, when everyone was interested in the project of
the erection of a United Brethren college in Fairbury, the leading
promoter of that enterprise held a revival in the Baptist church. The
weather was warm and as his zeal in expounding the gospel increased he
would remove his coat, vest, and collar, keeping up meantime a vigorous
chewing of tobacco. The house was usually crowded and among the
late-comers one night was W. A. Gould, who was obliged to take a seat in
front close to the pulpit. The next day some one offered congratulations
at seeing him in church, as it was the first time he had ever been seen
at such a place in Fairbury. "Yes," said Gould, "I used to attend
church, but that was the first time I ever sat under the actual
drippings of the sanctuary, for the minister spit all over me."

The most closely contested election ever held in Jefferson county was
that in 1879 on the question of voting bonds to the Burlington and
Missouri railroad to secure the passing through Fairbury of the line
being built east from Red Cloud. The proposition was virtually to
indirectly relieve the road from taxation for ten years. As bonding
propositions were submitted in those days this was considered a very
liberal one, as the taxes were supposed to offset the bonds and if the
road was not built there would be neither bonds nor taxes. It required a
two-thirds vote to carry the bonds and as the northern and southern
portions of the county were always jealous of Fairbury the contest was a
bitter one. Some of the stakes of the old Brownville & Ft. Kearny survey
were yet standing and some still hoped that road would be built. The
people of Fairbury resorted to all known devices to gain votes, some of
which have not yet been revealed. It was long before the days of the
Australian ballot and more or less bogus tickets were in circulation at
every election. On this occasion a few tickets containing a double
negative were secretly circulated in a precinct bitterly opposed to the
bonds. Several of these were found in the ballot box and of course
rejected, which left on the face of the returns a majority of one in
favor of the bonds. It has always been believed that Fairbury lost the
road because the officials of the road, who also comprised the townsite
company, thought they could make more by building up new towns of their


Erected by Quivira Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.
Dedicated October 29, 1912.

Cost $200]



The first white settler in what is now Jefferson county was Daniel
Patterson, who established a ranch in 1856 where the Overland, or Oregon
trail crosses the Big Sandy. Newton Glenn located the same year at the
trail crossing on Rock creek. The first government survey of land in
this county was made in 1857, and the plat and field notes show the
location of "Patterson's Trading Post" on the southeast quarter of
section 16, town 3 north, range 1 east.

Early in May, 1859, D. C. Jenkins, disappointed in his search for gold
at Pike's Peak, returned on foot pushing a wheelbarrow with all his
possessions the entire distance. He stopped at the Big Sandy and
established a ranch a short distance below Patterson's place. A few
weeks later, on May 25, 1859, Joel Helvey and his family, enroute for
Pike's Peak, discouraged by the reports of Mr. Jenkins and other
returning gold hunters, settled on the Little Sandy at the crossing of
the trail. About the same time came George Weisel, who now lives in
Alexandria, James Blair, whose son Grant now lives near Powell, on the
land where his father first located, and D. C. McCanles, who bought the
Glenn ranch on Rock creek. The Helvey family have made this county their
home ever since. One of Joel Helvey's sons, Frank, then a boy of
nineteen, is now living in Fairbury. He knew Daniel Patterson and D. C.
McCanles, and with his brothers Thomas and Jasper, buried McCanles, Jim
Woods, and Jim Gordon, Wild Bill's victims of the Rock creek tragedy of
1861. He drove the Overland stage, rode the pony express, was the first
sheriff of this county, and forms a connecting link between the days of
Indian raids and the present. Alexander Majors, one of the proprietors
of the Overland stage line, presented each of the drivers with a bible,
and Frank Helvey's copy is now loaned to the Nebraska State Historical
Society. Thomas Helvey and wife settled on Little Sandy, a short
distance above his father's ranch, and there on July 4, 1860, their son
Orlando, the first white child in the present limits of Jefferson and
Thayer counties, was born.

During the civil war a number of families came, settling along the
Little Blue and in the fertile valleys of Rose, Cub, and Swan creeks. In
1862 Ives Marks settled on Rose creek, near the present town of
Reynolds, and built a small sawmill and church. He organized the first
Sunday school at Big Sandy.

The first election for county officers was held in 1863. D. L. Marks was
elected county clerk, T. J. Holt, county treasurer, Ed. Farrell, county
judge. In November, 1868, Ives Marks was elected county treasurer. If a
person was unable to pay his entire tax, he would accept a part, issue a
receipt, and take a note for the balance. Sometimes he would give the
note back so that the party would know when it fell due. He drove around
the county collecting taxes, and kept his funds in a candle box. He
drove to Lincoln in his one-horse cart, telling everyone he met that he
was Rev. Ives Marks, treasurer of Jefferson county, and that he had five
hundred dollars in that box which he was taking to the state treasurer.

Fairbury was laid out in August, 1869, by W. G. McDowell and J. B.
Mattingly. Immediately after the survey Sidney Mason built the first
house upon the townsite of Fairbury, on the corner northwest of the
public square, where now stands the U. S. postoffice. Mrs. Mason kept
boarders, and advertised that her table was loaded with all the
delicacies the market afforded, and I can testify from personal
experience that the common food our market did afford was transformed
into delicacies by the magic of her cooking. Mrs. Mason has lived in
Fairbury ever since the town was staked out, and now (1915), in her
ninety-sixth year, is keeping her own house and performing all the
duties of the home cheerfully and happily.

Mrs. Mason's grandson, Claiborn L. Shader, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. L.
Shader, now of Lincoln, was the first child born in Fairbury.

One of the most vivid and pleasant memories that comes to me after the
lapse of forty-five years is that of a boy, tired and footsore from a
hundred-mile walk from the Missouri river, standing on the hill where
the traveler from the east first sees the valley of the Little Blue,
looking down on a little group of about a dozen houses--the village of
Fairbury. This was in the summer of 1870, and was my first view of the
town that was ever after to be my home.

On the second floor of Thomas & Champlin's store I found George Cross
and my brother, Harry Hansen, running off the _Fairbury Gazette_,
alternating in inking the types with the old-fashioned roller and
yanking the lever of the old-fashioned hand press. This was about the
first issue of the _Gazette_ entirely printed at home. The first issues
were set up at home, hauled to Beatrice in a lumber wagon, and printed
in the office of the Beatrice _Express_, until the press arrived in

When subscriptions were mostly paid in wood, butter, squash, and
turnips, you can imagine what a time Mr. Cross had in skirmishing around
for cash to pay for paper and ink, and the wages of a printer; so he
decided if the paper was to survive and build up the country, he must
have a printer for a partner, and he sold a half interest in the
_Gazette_ to my brother and me. The principal source of our revenue was
from printing the commissioners' proceedings and the delinquent tax
list, taking our pay in county warrants. These warrants drew ten per
cent interest, were paid in a year, and we sold them to Editor Cramb's
grandfather for seventy-five cents on the dollar. On that basis they
yielded him forty per cent per annum--too low a rate, we thought, to
justify holding.

Prairie grass grew luxuriantly in the streets. There were not enough
buildings around the public square to mark it. On the west side were
three one-story buildings, the best one still standing, now owned by Wm.
Christian and used as a confectionery; it was then the office of the
county clerk and board of county commissioners. The second was the
pioneer store of John Brown, his office as justice of the peace, and his
home; the third was a shanty covered with tarred paper, the office and
home of Dr. Showalter, physician, surgeon, politician, and sometimes
exhorter; and a past master he was in them all. On the north side were
two of the same class of buildings, one occupied by Mr. McCaffery, whose
principal business was selling a vile brand of whiskey labeled
Hostetter's Bitters, and the other was Wesley Bailey's drug store and
postoffice. George Cross had the honor of being postmaster, but Wes drew
the entire salary of four dollars and sixteen cents per month, for
services as deputy and rent for the office. On the east side there was
but one building, Thomas & Champlin's Farmers' store. On the south side
there was nothing. On the south half of the square was our ball ground.
Men were at work on the foundation of the Methodist church, the first
church in Fairbury. We were short on church buildings but long on
religious discussions.

Where the city hall now stands were the ruins of the dugout in which
Judge Boyle and family had lived the previous winter. He had built a
more stately mansion of native cottonwood lumber--his home, law and
real-estate office. M. H. Weeks had for sale a few loads of lumber in
his yard on the corner northeast of the square, hauled from Waterville
by team, a distance of forty-five miles. All supplies were hauled from
Waterville, the nearest railroad station, and it took nearly a week to
make the round trip. Judge Mattingly was running a sawmill near the
river, cutting the native cottonwoods into dimension lumber and common

The Otoe Indians, whose reservation was on the east line of the county,
camped on the public square going out on their annual buffalo hunts. The
boys spent the evenings with them in their tents playing seven-up, penny
a game, always letting the Indians win. They went out on their last hunt
in the fall of 1874, and traveled four hundred miles before finding any
buffalo. The animals were scarce by reason of their indiscriminate
slaughter by hunters, and the Otoes returned in February, 1875, with the
"jerked" meat and hides of only fifteen buffalo.

The Western Stage Company ran daily to and from Beatrice, connecting
there by stage with Brownville and Nebraska City. The arrival of the
stage was the great and exciting event of each day; it brought our mail
and daily newspaper, an exchange to the _Gazette_; and occasionally it
brought a passenger.

After resting from my long walk I decided to go on to Republic county,
Kansas, and take a homestead. There were no roads on the prairie beyond
Marks' mill, and I used a pocket compass to keep the general direction,
and by the notches on the government stones determined my location. I
found so much vacant government land that it was difficult to make a
choice, and after two trips to the government land office at Junction
City, located four miles east of the present town of Belleville. I built
a dugout, and to prevent my claim being jumped, tacked a notice on the
door, "Gone to hunt a wife." Returning to Fairbury, I stopped over
night with Rev. Ives Marks at Marks' mill. He put me to bed with a
stranger, and in the morning when settling my bill, he said: "I'll
charge you the regular price, fifteen cents a meal, but this other man
must pay twenty cents, he was so lavish with the sugar." On this trip I
walked four hundred and forty miles. Two years later I traded my
homestead to Mr. Alfred Kelley for a shotgun, and at that time met his
daughter Mary. Mary and I celebrated our fortieth anniversary last May,
with our children and grandchildren.

The first schoolhouse in Fairbury was completed in December, 1870, and
for some time was used for church services, dances, and public
gatherings. The first term of school began January 9, 1871, with P. L.
Chapman for teacher.

In December, 1871, I was employed to teach the winter and spring terms
of school at a salary of fifty dollars a month, and taught in one room
all the pupils of Fairbury and surrounding country.

Mr. Cross announced in the _Gazette_ that no town of its size in the
state was so badly in need of a shoemaker as Fairbury, and he hoped some
wandering son of St. Crispin would come this way. Just such a wandering
shoemaker came in the person of Robert Christian, with all his clothes
and tools in a satchel, and twenty-five cents in his pocket. He managed
to get enough leather from worn-out boots given him to patch and
halfsole others, and was soon prosperous.

During the summer of 1871 C. F. Steele built a two-story building on the
lot now occupied by the First National bank, the first floor for a
furniture store, the second floor for a home. When nearly completed a
hurricane demolished it and scattered the lumber over the prairie for
two miles south. It was a hard blow on Mr. Steele. He gathered together
the wind-swept boards and, undismayed, began again the building of his
store and business.

In the fall of 1871, William Allen and I built the Star hotel, a
two-story building, on the east side, with accommodations for ten
transient guests--large enough, we thought, for all time.

In the early days of my hotel experience, I was offered some cabbages by
a farmer boy--rather a reserved and studious looking lad. He raised good
cabbages on his father's homestead a few miles north of town. After
dickering awhile over the price, I took his entire load. He afterwards
said that I beat him down below cost of production, and then cleaned him
out, while I insisted that he had a monopoly and the price of cabbages
should have been regulated by law. Soon after, I was surprised to find
him in my room taking an examination for a teacher's certificate, my
room-mate being the county superintendent, and rather astonished, I
said, "What! you teach school?"--a remark he never forgot. He read law
with Slocumb & Hambel, was some time afterwards elected county attorney
and later judge of this district. Ten years ago he was elected one of
the judges of the supreme court of the state of Nebraska, and this
position he still fills with distinguished ability. I scarcely need to
mention that this was Charles B. Letton.

A celebration was held on July 4, 1871, at Mattingly's sawmill, and
enthusiasm and patriotism were greatly stimulated by the blowing of a
steam whistle which had recently been installed in the mill. Colonel
Thomas Harbine, vice-president of the St. Joseph & Denver City R. R.
Co., now the St. Joseph & Grand Island railroad, made the principal
address, his subject being "The railroad, the modern civilizer, may we
hail its advent." The Otoe Indian, Jim Whitewater, got drunk at this
celebration, and on his way to the reservation murdered two white men
who were encamped near Rock creek. He was arrested by the Indians,
brought to Fairbury, and delivered to the authorities, after which chief
Pipe Stem and chief Little Pipe visited the _Gazette_ office and watched
the setting of type and printing on the press with many a grunt of
satisfaction. I was present at the trial of Whitewater the following
spring. After the verdict of guilty was brought in, Judge O. P. Mason
asked him if he had anything to say why judgment should not be
pronounced. Whitewater proceeded to make a lengthy speech, ridiculed the
former sheriff, S. J. Alexander, and commenced criticizing the judge.
The judge ordered him to sit down. A look of livid rage came over
Whitewater's face, and he stooped slightly as though to spring. Then the
judge turned pale, and in that rasping voice which all who knew him
remember well, commanded the sheriff to seat the prisoner, which was

The spring of 1872 marked a new era in the life of Fairbury. On March
13th of that year the St. Joseph and Denver City railroad built into and
through our city. From the time the track-layers struck Jenkin's Mills,
a crowd of us went down every day to see the locomotive and watch the
progress of the work. One of our fondest dreams had come true.

In the fall of 1873 Col. Thomas Harbine began the erection of the first
bank building, a one-story frame structure on the east side of the
square. George Cross was the bank's first customer, and purchased draft
No. 1. Upon the death of Col. Harbine's son John, in August, 1875, I
became cashier, bookkeeper, teller, and janitor of the "Banking House of
Thomas Harbine." In 1882 this bank incorporated under the state banking
law as the "Harbine Bank of Fairbury," and I have been connected with it
in various capacities ever since.

We had our pleasures in those pioneer days, but had to make them
ourselves. Theatrical troupes never visited us--we were not on the
circuit--but we had a dramatic company of our own. Mr. Charles B.
Slocumb, afterwards famous as the author of the Slocumb high license
law, was the star actor in the club. A local critic commenting on our
first play said: "Mr. Slocumb as a confirmed drunkard was a decided
success. W. W. Watson as a temperance lecturer was eminently fitted for
his part. G. W. Hansen as a hard-up student would have elicited applause
on any stage."

Election days in those "good old times" gave employment to an army of
workers sent out by candidates to every precinct to make votes, and to
see that those bought or promised were delivered. John McT. Gibson of
Gibson precinct, farmer, green-backer, and poet, read an original poem
at a Fourth of July celebration forty years ago, one verse of which
gives us an idea of the bitterness of feeling existing in the political
parties of that time:

    "Unholy Mammon can unlock the doors
    Of congress halls and legislative floors,
    Dictate decisions of its judges bought,
    And poison all the avenues of thought.
    Metes out to labor miseries untold,
    And grasps forever at a crown of gold."

I do not care to live too much in the past; but when the day's work is
done, I love to draw aside the curtain that hides the intervening years,
and in memory live over again Fairbury's pioneer days of the early
seventies. Grasshoppers and drouth brought real adversity then, for,
unlike the present, we were unprepared for the lean years. But we had
hope and energy, and pulled together for the settlement of our county
and the growth and prosperity of Fairbury.

We dreamed then of the days to come--when bridges should span the
streams, and farm houses and fields of grain and corn should break the
monotony of the silent, unending prairie. We were always working for
better things to come--for the future. The delectable mountains were
always ahead of us--would we ever reach them?



One hundred and three years ago Hannah Norton was born "away down east"
in the state of Maine. Hannah married Jason Plummer, and in the year
1844, seized by the wanderlust, they decided to move west. One morning
their little daughter Eleanor, four years old, stood outside the cabin
door with her rag doll pressed tightly to her breast, and watched her
parents load their household goods into the heavy, covered wagon, yoke
up the oxen, and make preparations for a long journey.

As little Eleanor clambered up the wheel and into the wagon, she felt
none of the responsibilities of the long pioneer life that lay before
her, nor did she know or care about her glorious ancestry.

Only a few decades previous her ancestor, Major Peter Norton, who had
fought gallantly in the war of the Revolution, had gone to his
reward. His recompense on earth had been the consciousness of
patriotic duty well performed in the cause of liberty and
independence. A hero he was, but the Maine woods were full of
Revolutionary heroes. He was not yet famous. It was reserved for
Peter Norton's great-great-great-granddaughters to perpetuate the
story of his heroic deeds. One, Mrs. Auta Helvey Pursell, the
daughter of our little Eleanor, is now a member of Quivera chapter,
D. A. R., of Fairbury, Nebraska, and another, Lillian Norton, is
better known to the world she has charmed with her song, as Madame

But little Eleanor was wholly unmindful of past or future on that
morning long ago. She laughed and chattered as the wagon rolled slowly
on its westward way.

A long, slow, and painful journey through forests and over mountains,
then down the Ohio river to Cincinnati was at last finished, and the
family made that city their home. After several years the oxen were
again yoked up and the family traveled to the West, out to the prairies
of Iowa, where they remained until 1863. Then, hearing of a still
fairer country where free homes could be taken in fertile valleys that
needed no clearing, where wild game was abundant and chills and fever
unknown, Jason, Hannah, and Eleanor again traveled westward. After a
toilsome journey they settled in Swan creek valley, Nebraska territory,
near the present northern line of Jefferson county.

Theirs were pioneer surroundings. The only residents were ranchers
scattered along the creeks at the crossings of the Oregon trail. A few
immigrants came that year and settled in the valleys of the Sandys, Swan
creek, Cub creek, Rose creek, and the Little Blue. No human habitation
stood upon the upland prairies. The population was four-fifths male, and
the young men traveled up and down the creeks for miles seeking partners
for their dances, which were often given. But it was always necessary
for a number of men to take the part of ladies. In such cases they wore
a handkerchief around one arm to distinguish them.

The advent of a new family into the country was an important event, and
especially when a beautiful young lady formed a part of it. The families
of Joel Helvey and Jason Plummer became neighborly at once, visiting
back and forth with the friendly intimacy characteristic of all
pioneers. Paths were soon worn over the divide between Joel Helvey's
ranch on the Little Sandy and the Plummer home on Swan creek, and one of
Joel's boys was accused of making clandestine rambles in that direction.
Certain it was that many of the young men who asked Eleanor for her
company to the dances were invariably told that Frank Helvey had already
spoken. Their dejection was explained in the vernacular of the
time--they had "gotten the mitten."

The music for the dances was furnished by the most energetic fiddlers in
the land, and the art of playing "Fisher's Hornpipe," "Devil's Dream,"
and "Arkansaw Traveler" in such lively, triumphant tones of the fiddle
as played by Joe Baker and Hiram Helvey has been lost to the world.
Sometimes disputes were settled either before or after the dance by an
old-fashioned fist fight. In those days the accepted policy was that if
you threshed your adversary soundly, the controversy was settled--there
was no further argument about it. At one dance on the Little Sandy some
"boys" from the Blue decided to "clear out" the ranchers before the
dance, and in the lively melee that followed, Frank Helvey inadvertently
got his thumb in his adversary's mouth; and he will show you yet a scar
and cloven nail to prove this story. The ranchers more than held their
own, and after the battle invited the defeated party to take part in the
dance. The invitation was accepted and in the morning all parted good

On August 6, 1864, the Overland stage, which had been turned back on its
way to the west, brought news that the Sioux and Cheyenne were on the
warpath. They had massacred entire settlements on the Little Blue and
along the trail a few miles west, and were planning to kill every white
person west of Beatrice and Marysville.

For some time the friendly old Indians had told Joel Helvey that the
young men were chanting the old song:

    "Some day we shall drive the whites back
    Across the great salt water
    Whence they came;
    Happy days for the Sioux
    When the whites go back."

Little attention had been paid to these warnings, the Helvey family
believing they could take care of themselves as they had during the past
eighteen years in the Indian country. But the report brought by the
stage was too alarming to be disregarded; and the women asked to be
taken to a place of safety.

At this time Mrs. Plummer and her daughter Eleanor were visiting at the
home of Joel Helvey. They could not return to Swan creek, for news had
come that all Swan creek settlers had gone to Beatrice. There was no
time to be lost. The women and father Helvey, who was then in failing
health, were placed in wagons, the boys mounted horses to drive the
cattle, and all "struck out" over the trail following the divide towards
Marysville, where breastworks had been thrown up and stockades had been

During the day Frank found many excuses to leave the cattle with his
brothers while he rode close to the wagon in which Eleanor was seated.
It was a time to try one's courage and he beguiled the anxious hours
with tales of greater dangers than the impending one and assured her,
with many a vow of love, that he could protect her from any attack the
Indians might make.

The first night the party camped at the waterhole two miles northwest of
the place where now an imposing monument marks the crossing of the
Oregon trail and the Nebraska-Kansas line. Towards evening of the next
day they halted on Horseshoe creek. In the morning it was decided to
make this their permanent camp. There was abundant grass for their
stock, and here they would cut and stack their winter hay.

A man in the distance saw the camp and ponies, and mistaking the party
for Indians, hurried to Marysville and gave the alarm. Captain
Hollenberg and a squad of militia came out and from a safe distance
investigated with a spyglass. Finding the party were white people he
came down and ordered them into Marysville. The captain said the Indians
would kill them all and, inflamed by the bloodshed, would be more
ferocious in their attack on the stockade.

The Helveys preferred taking their chances with the Indians rather than
leave their cattle to the mercies of the Kansas Jayhawkers, and told the
captain that when the Indians came they would get to Marysville first
and give the alarm.

Their camp was an ideal spot under the grateful shadow of noble trees.
The songs of birds in the branches above them, the odor of prairie
flowers and the new-mown hay about them, lent charm to the scene. Two of
the party, at least, lived in an enchanted land. After the blistering
heat of an August day Frank and Eleanor walked together in the shadows
and coolness of night and watched the moon rise through the trees. And
here was told the old, old story, world old yet ever new. Here were laid
the happy plans for future years. And yet through all these happy days
there ran a thread of sorrow. Father Joel Helvey failed rapidly, and on
September 3 he passed away. After he was laid to rest, the entire party
returned to the ranch on Little Sandy.

The day for the wedding, September 21, at last arrived. None of the
officers qualified to perform marriage ceremonies having returned since
the Indian raid, Frank and Eleanor, with Frank's sister as chaperon,
drove to Beatrice. On arriving there they were delighted to meet
Eleanor's father. His consent to the marriage was obtained and he was
asked to give away the bride. The marriage party proceeded to Judge
Towle's cabin on the Big Blue where the wedding ceremony was solemnly
performed and "Pap" Towle gave the bride the first kiss.

And thus, just fifty years ago, the first courtship in Jefferson county
was consummated.



I was born July 7, 1841, in Huntington county, Indiana. My father, Joel
Helvey, decided in 1846 to try his fortune in the far West. Our family
consisted of father, mother, three boys, and three girls. So two heavy
wagons were fitted up to haul heavy goods, and a light wagon for mother
and the girls. The wagons were the old-fashioned type, built very heavy,
carrying the customary tar bucket on the rear axle.

Nebraska was at this time in what was called the Indian country, and no
one was allowed to settle in it. We stopped at old Fort Kearny--now
Nebraska City. In a short time we pulled up stakes and housed in a log
cabin on the Iowa side. Father, two brothers--Thomas and Whitman--and I
constructed a ferry to run across the Missouri river, getting consent of
the commandant at the fort to move the family over on the Nebraska side;
but he said we would have to take our chances with the Indians. We broke
a small patch of ground, planting pumpkins, melons, corn, etc. The
Indians were very glad to see us and very friendly--in fact, too much
so. When our corn and melons began to ripen, they would come in small
bands, gather the corn and fill their blankets. It did no good for us to
protest, so we boys thought we would scare them away. We hid in the
bushes close to the field. Soon they came and were filling their
blankets. We shot over their heads, but the Indians didn't scare--they
came running straight toward us. They gave us a little of our own
medicine and took a few shots at us. We didn't scare any more Indians.

When word came in the fall of 1858 that gold had been discovered in
Pike's Peak by the wagonload, that settled it. We got the fever, and in
April, 1859, we started for Pike's Peak. We went by the way of Beatrice,
striking the Overland trail near the Big Sandy. An ex-soldier, Tim
Taylor, told us he believed the Little Sandy to be the best place in
southern Nebraska. We built a ranch house on the trail at the crossing
of Little Sandy and engaged in freighting from the Missouri river to
the Rocky Mountains. This we did for several years, receiving seven to
eight cents per pound. We hauled seven thousand to eight thousand pounds
on a wagon, and it required from seventy-five to eighty days to make a
round trip with eight and ten yoke of oxen to a wagon. I spent about
nine years freighting across the plains from Atchison, Leavenworth, St.
Joseph, and Nebraska City to Denver, hauling government supplies to Fort
Laramie. In 1863-64 I served as substitute stage driver, messenger, or
pony express rider. I have met at some time or another nearly every
noted character or "bad man" that passed up and down the trail. I met
Wild Bill for the first time at Rock Creek ranch. I met him often after
the killing of McCanles, and helped bury the dead. I was well acquainted
with McCanles. Wild Bill was a remarkable man, unexcelled as a shot,
hard to get acquainted with. Lyman, or Jack, Slade was considered the
worst man-killer on the plains.

The Indians did not give us much trouble until the closing year of the
civil war. Our trains were held up several times, being forced to
corral. We were fortunate not to lose a man. I have shot at hundreds of
Indians. I cannot say positively that I ever killed one, although I was
considered a crack shot. I can remember of twenty or more staying with
us one night, stretching out on their blankets before the fireplace, and
departing in the morning without making a move out of the way. The
Pawnees and Otoes were very bitter toward the Sioux and Cheyennes. In
the summer of 1862 over five hundred Indians were engaged in an all-day
fight on the Little Blue river south of Meridian. That night over a
hundred warriors danced around a camp-fire with the scalps of their foes
on a pole, catching the bloody scalp with their teeth. How many were
killed we never knew.

My brothers and I went on one special buffalo hunt with three different
tribes of Indians--Otoes, Omahas, and Pawnees--about one thousand in
all, on Rose creek, about where the town of Hubbell is situated. We were
gone about four days. The Indians would do all the killing. When they
got what they wanted, then we boys would get our meat. There was plenty
for all. The prairies were covered with buffalo; they were never out of
sight. On the 4th of July, 1859, six of us with two wagons, four yoke
of oxen to a wagon, went over on the Republican where there were always
thousands of buffalo. We were out two weeks and killed what meat we
wanted. We always had a guard out at night when we camped, keeping the
wolves from our fresh meat. We came home to the ranch heavily loaded. We
sold some and dried some for our own use.

I homesteaded, June 13, 1866, on the Little Blue, five miles northwest
of Fairbury, and helped the settlers looking for homesteads locate their
land. My father, Joel Helvey, entered forty acres where we had
established our ranch on Little Sandy in 1861, the first year any land
was entered in this county. I was the first sheriff of this county;
served four years, 1867-1870. No sheriff had qualified or served before
1867. County business was done at Big Sandy and Meridian, and at the
houses of the county officers. We carried the county records around from
place to place in gunny sacks.

I am glad I participated in the earliest happenings of this county, and
am proud to be one of its citizens.


Seventh State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1905-1906]



Looking backward forty years and more, I feel as Longfellow so
beautifully expresses it,

    "You may build more splendid habitations,
    Fill your rooms with sculpture and with paintings,
    But you cannot buy with gold the old associations,"

for in that time I have seen Fairbury grow from a little hamlet to a
city of the first class, surrounded by a country that we used to call
"the Indian country," considered unfit for agricultural purposes, but
today it blossoms as the rose and no finer land lies anywhere.

I have read with great interest of the happenings of ten, twenty, thirty
years ago as published each week in our Fairbury papers, but am going to
delve into ancient history a little deeper and tell you from personal
experience of the interesting picture presented to me forty-odd years
ago, I think in the year 70 or '71, for I distinctly remember the day I
caught the first glimpse of Fairbury. It was a bright and sunshiny
morning in July. We had been making the towns in western Kansas and had
gotten rather a late start from Concordia the day before; a storm coming
up suddenly compelled us to seek shelter for the night. My traveling
companion was A. V. Whiting, selling shoes, and I was selling dry-goods,
both from wholesale houses in St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Whiting is well
and honorably known in Fairbury as he was afterwards in business there
for many years. He has been a resident of Lincoln for twenty-three

There were no railroads or automobiles in the country at that time and
we had to depend on a good pair of horses and a covered spring wagon. We
found a place of shelter at Marks' mill, located on Rose creek fifteen
miles southwest of Fairbury, and here we stayed all night. I shall
always remember our introduction there, viz: as we drove up to the house
I saw a large, portly old man coming in from the field on top of a load
of hay, and as I approached him I said, "My name is Jenkins, sir--" but
before I could say more he answered in a deep bass voice, saying, "My
name is Clodhopper, sir," which he afterwards explained was the name
that preachers of the United Brethren church were known by at that time.
This man, Marks, was one of the first county treasurers of Jefferson
county, and it is related of him that while he was treasurer he had
occasion to go to Lincoln, the capital of the state, to pay the taxes of
the county, and being on horseback he lost his way and meeting a
horseman with a gun across his shoulder, he said to the stranger, "I am
treasurer of Jefferson county. My saddle-bags are full of gold and I am
on the way to Lincoln to pay the taxes of the county, but I have lost my
way. Please direct me."

Returning to my story of stopping over night at Rose creek: we were most
hospitably entertained and at breakfast next morning we were greatly
surprised on being asked if we would have wild or tame sweetening in our
coffee, as this was the first time in all our travels we had ever been
asked that question. We were told that honey was wild sweetening and
sugar the tame sweetening. I cannot refrain from telling a little
incident that occurred at this time. When we had our team hitched up and
our sample trunks aboard, we asked Mr. Marks for our bill and were told
we could not pay anything for our entertainment, and just then Mrs.
Marks appeared on the scene. She had in her hand a lot of five and ten
cent war shinplasters, and as she handed them to Mr. Marks he said,
"Mother and I have been talking the matter over and as we have not
bought any goods from you we decided to give you a dollar to help you
pay expenses elsewhere"; and on our refusing to take it he said, "I want
you to take it, for it is worth it for the example you have set to my
children." Politely declining the money and thanking our host and
hostess for their good opinion and splendid entertainment, we were soon
on our way to pay our first visit to Fairbury.

We arrived about noon and stopped at a little one-story hotel on the
west side of the square, kept by a man by the name of Hurd. After dinner
we went out to see the town and were told it was the county-seat of
Jefferson county. The courthouse was a little one-story frame building
and is now located on the west side of the square and known as
Christian's candy shop. There was one large general store kept by
Champlin & McDowell, a drug store, a hardware store, lumber yard,
blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, church, and a few small buildings
scattered around the square. The residences were small and widely
scattered. Primitive conditions prevailed everywhere, and we were told
the population was one hundred and fifty but we doubted it. The old
adage reads, "Big oaks from little acorns grow," and it has been my
privilege and great pleasure to have seen Fairbury "climb the ladder
round by round" until today it has a population of fifty-five hundred.



Spring opened very early in the year 1873. Farmers plowed and harrowed
the ground and sowed their oats and spring wheat in February and March.
The grass began to grow early in April and by the middle of the month
the small-grain fields were bright green with the new crops. Most of the
settlers on the uplands of Jefferson county were still living in dugouts
or sod houses. The stables and barns for the protection of their live
stock were for the most part built by setting forked posts in the
ground, putting rough poles and brush against the sides and on the roof,
and covering them with straw, prairie grass, or manure. Sometimes the
bank of a ravine was made perpendicular and used as one side. The
covering of the walls and roof of these structures needed continual
renewal as the winds loosened it or as the spring rains caused it to
settle. Settlers became careless about this early in the spring,
thinking that the winter was over. The prairies were still bare of
hedges, fences, or trees to break the winds or catch the drifting snow.

Easter Sunday occurred on the thirteenth of April. For days before, the
weather had been mild and the air delightful. The writer was then living
alone in a dugout seven miles north of Fairbury in what is now the rich
and fertile farming community known as Bower. The granary stood on the
edge of a ravine a short distance from the dugout. The stable or barn
was partly dug into the bank of this ravine; the long side was to the
north, while the roof and the south side were built of poles and straw
in the usual fashion of those days. On the afternoon of Easter Sunday it
began to rain and blow from the northwest. The next morning I had been
awake for some time waiting for daylight when I finally realized that
the dim light coming from the windows was due to the fact that they were
covered with snow drifts. I could hear the noise of the wind but had no
idea of the fury of the tempest until I undertook to go outside to feed
the stock. As soon as I opened the door I found that the air was full
of snow, driven by a tremendous gale from the north. The fury of the
tempest was indescribable. The air appeared to be a mass of moving snow,
and the wind howled like a pack of furies. I managed to get to the
granary for some oats, but on looking into the ravine no stable was to
be seen, only an immense snow drift which almost filled it. At the point
where the door to the stable should have been there appeared a hole in
the drift where the snow was eddying. On crawling into this I found that
during the night the snow had drifted in around the horses and cattle,
which were tied to the manger. The animals had trampled it under their
feet to such an extent that it had raised them so that in places their
backs lifted the flimsy roof, and the wind carrying much of the covering
away, had filled the stable with snow until some of them were almost and
others wholly buried, except where the remains of the roof protected

Two animals died while I was trying to extricate them and at night I was
compelled to lead two or three others into the front room of the dugout
and keep them there until the storm was over in order to save their
lives. It was only by the most strenuous efforts I was able to get to
the house. My clothing was stiff. The wind had driven the snow into the
fabric, as it had thawed it had frozen again, until it formed an
external coating of ice.

I had nothing to eat all day, having gone out before breakfast, and when
night came and I attempted to build a fire in the cook stove I found
that the storm had blown away the joints of stovepipe which projected
through the roof and had drifted the hole so full of snow that the snow
was in the stove itself. I went on the roof, cleared it out, built a
fire, made some coffee and warmed some food, then went to bed utterly
fatigued and, restlessly tossing, dreamed all night that I was still in
the snow drift working as I had worked all day.

Many other settlers took their cattle and horses into their houses or
dugouts in order to save them. Every ravine and hollow that ran in an
easterly or westerly direction was filled with snow from rim to rim. In
other localities cattle were driven many miles by this storm. Houses, or
rather shacks, were unroofed and people in them frozen to death.
Travelers caught in the blizzard, who attempted to take refuge in
ravines, perished and their stiffened bodies were found when the drifts
melted weeks afterward. Stories were told of people who had undertaken
to go from their houses to their outbuildings and who, being blinded by
the snow, became lost and either perished or nearly lost their lives,
and of others where the settler in order to reach his well or his
outbuildings in safety fastened a rope to the door and went into the
storm holding to the rope in order to insure his safe return. Deer,
antelope, and other wild animals perished in the more sparsely settled
districts. The storm lasted for three days, not always of the same
intensity, and freezing weather followed for a day or two thereafter. In
a few days the sun shone, the snow melted, and spring reappeared; the
melting drifts, that lay for weeks in some places, being the only
reminder of the severity of the storm.

To old settlers in Nebraska and northern Kansas this has ever since been
known as "The Easter Storm." In the forty-six years that I have lived in
Nebraska there has only been one other winter storm that measurably
approached it in intensity. This was the blizzard of 1888 when several
people lost their lives. At that time, however, people were living in
comfort; trees, hedges, groves, stubble, and cornfields held the snow so
that the drifts were insignificant in comparison. The cold was more
severe but the duration of the storm was less and no such widespread
suffering took place.



In the fall of 1868 my brother, W. G. McDowell, and I started from
Fairbury, Illinois, for Nebraska. Arriving at Brownville, we were
compelled to take a stage for Beatrice, as the only railroad in the
state was the Union Pacific.

Brownville was a little river village, and Tecumseh was the only town
between Brownville and Beatrice. It probably had one hundred
inhabitants. There was only one house between it and Beatrice. The trip
from Brownville to Beatrice took two days with a night stop at Tecumseh.
The scenery consisted of rolling prairie covered with buffalo grass, and
a few trees along the banks of Rock creek. We stopped for dinner at a
house a few miles northeast of the present site of Endicott, where the
Oregon trail stages changed horses.

On our arrival at Beatrice we found a little village of about three
hundred inhabitants. The only hotel had three rooms: a reception room,
one bedroom with four beds--one in each corner--and a combination
dining-room and kitchen. There was a schoolhouse fourteen by sixteen
feet, but there were no churches. We bought a few town lots, entered two
or three sections of land, and decided to build a stone hotel, as there
was plenty of stone along the banks of the Blue river, and in the water.

We then took a team and spring-wagon and started to find a location for
a county-seat for Jefferson county. We found the land where Fairbury is
now located was not entered, so we entered it with the intention of
making it the county-seat.

On our return to Beatrice we let the contract for the stone hotel, which
still stands today. We returned to Illinois, but the following February
of 1869 I came back to look after the building of the hotel. I bought a
farm with buildings on it, and began farming and improving the land I
had entered. In the summer of 1869 my brother came out again, and we
drove over to lay out the county-seat of Jefferson county, which we
named after Fairbury, Illinois, with the sanction of the county
commissioners. We shipped the machinery for a sawmill to Waterville,
Kansas, and hauled it to Fairbury with teams. Judge Mattingly bought it
and sawed all the lumber that was used for building around Fairbury.
Armstrong Brothers started a small store in a shack.

About 1870, I came over from Beatrice and built the first store
building, on the east side of the square, which was replaced a few years
ago by the J. D. Davis building. The Fairbury Roller Mill was built in
1873 by Col. Andrew J. Cropsey. I bought his interest in 1874 and have
had it ever since. In 1880 I came to make my home in Fairbury and have
watched its steady growth from its beginning, to our present thriving
and beautiful little city of 1915.



In the spring of 1872, we came from Waterloo, Iowa, to Plymouth,
Nebraska. My husband drove through, and upon his arrival I came by train
with my young brother and baby daughter four months old.

When my husband came the previous fall to buy land, there was no
railroad south of Crete, and he drove across the country, but the
railroad had since been completed to Beatrice. There was a mixed train,
with one coach, and I was the only lady passenger. There was one young
girl, who could not speak any English, but who had a card hung on her
neck telling where she was to go. The trainmen held a consultation and
decided that the people lived a short distance from the track, in the
vicinity of Wilber, so they stopped the train and made inquiries.
Finding these people expected someone, we waited until they came and got
the girl. My husband met me at Beatrice, and the next morning we started
on a fourteen-mile drive to Plymouth, perched upon a load of necessaries
and baggage.

We had bought out a homesteader, so we had a shelter to go into. This
consisted of a cottonwood house fourteen by sixteen feet, unplastered,
and with a floor of rough boards. It was a dreary place, but in a few
days I had transformed it. One carpet was put on the floor and another
stretched overhead on the joists. This made a place to store things, and
gave the room a better appearance. Around the sides of the room were
tacked sheets, etc., making a white wall. On this we hung a few
pictures, and when the homesteader appeared at the door, he stood amazed
at our fine appearance. A rude lean-to was built to hold the kitchen
stove and work-table.

Many times that summer a feeling of intense loneliness at the dreary
condition came over me, but the baby Helen, always happy and smiling,
drove gloom away. Then, in August, came the terrible blow of losing our
baby blossom. Cholera infantum was the complaint. A young mother's
ignorance of remedies, and the long distance from a doctor, caused a
delay that was fatal.

Before we came, the settlers had built a log schoolhouse, with sod roof
and plank seats. In the spring of 1872, the Congregational Home
Missionary Society sent Rev. Henry Bates of Illinois to the field, and
he organized a Congregational church of about twenty-five members, my
husband and myself being charter members. For a time we had service in
the log schoolhouse, but soon had a comfortable building for services.

Most of the land about Plymouth was owned by a railroad company, and
they laid out a townsite, put up a two-story schoolhouse, and promised a
railroad soon. After years of waiting, the railroad came, but the
station was about two miles north. Business went with the railroad to
the new town, and the distinction was made between New Plymouth and Old

Prairie chickens and quail were quite abundant during the first years,
and buffalo meat could often be bought, being shipped from the western
part of the state. In the droves of cattle driven past our house to the
Beatrice market, I have occasionally seen a buffalo.

Deer and wolves were sometimes seen, and coyotes often made havoc with
our fowls, digging through the sod chicken house to rob the roosts.
Rattlesnakes were frequently killed and much dreaded, but deaths from
the bite were very rare, though serious illness often resulted.

Prairie fires caused the greatest terror, and the yearly losses were
large. Everyone plowed fire guards and tried to be prepared, but, with
tall grass and weeds and a strong wind, fire would be carried long
distances and sweep everything before it with great rapidity.

Indians frequently camped on Cub creek for a few days in their journey
from one reservation to another to visit. They would come to the houses
to beg for food, and, though they never harmed us, we were afraid of
them. More than once I have heard a slight noise in my kitchen, and on
going out, found Indians in possession; they never knocked. I was glad
to give them food and hasten their departure.

In the summer of 1873, quite a party of us went to the Otoe reservation
to see just how the Indians lived. We had two covered wagons and one
provision wagon. We cooked our food by a camp-fire, slept out of doors,
and had a jolly time. We spent nearly one day on the reservation,
visiting the agent's house and the school and peering into the huts of
the Indians. At the schoolhouse the pupils were studious, but several of
them had to care for papooses while studying, and the Indians were
peering into the doors and windows, watching proceedings. Most of the
Indians wore only a blanket and breech cloth, but the teacher was
evidently trying to induce the young pupils to wear clothes, and
succeeded in a degree. One boy amused us very much by wearing flour
sacks for trousers. The sacks were simply ripped open at the end, the
stamps of the brand being still upon them, one sack being lettered in
red and the other in blue. Preparations were going on for a visit to the
Omahas by a number of braves and some squaws, and they were donning
paint and feathers. The agent had received some boxes of clothing from
the East for them, which they were eager to wear on their trip. Not
having enough to fit them out, one garment was given to each, and they
at once put them on. It was very ludicrous to see them, one with a hat,
another with a shirt, another with a vest, etc. At last they were ready
and rode away on their ponies. As we drove away, an Indian and squaw,
with papoose, were just ahead of us. A thunder storm came up, and the
brave Indian took away from the squaw her parasol and held it over his
head, leaving her unprotected.

Although the settlers on the upland were widely scattered, they were
kind and neighborly, as a rule--ready to help each other in all ways,
especially in sickness and death. One Thanksgiving a large number of
settlers brought their dinners to the church, and after morning services
enjoyed a good dinner and social hour together. That church, so
important a factor in the community in early days, was disbanded but a
few years ago. Pioneer life has many privations, but there are also very
many pleasant experiences.



Calvin F. Steele came to Nebraska, in March, 1871, staying for a little
time in Beatrice. He heard of a new town just starting called Fairbury.
Thinking this might be a good place for one with very little capital to
start in business, he decided to go there and see what the prospects
were. Nearly all of the thirty-three miles was unbroken prairie, with no
landmarks to guide one. Mr. Steele had hired a horse to ride. Late in
the afternoon the sky was overcast, and a storm came up. He saw some
distance ahead of him a little rise of ground, and urging his horse
forward he made for that, hoping he might be able to catch sight of the
town he sought. To his surprise he found himself on top of a dugout.

The man of the house came rushing out. Mr. Steele explained and asked
directions, only to find he was not near Fairbury as he hoped. He was
kindly taken in for the night, and while all slept in the one room, that
was so clean and comfortable, and the welcome so kindly, a friendship
was started that night, a friendship that grew and strengthened with the
years and lasted as long as E. D. Brickley, the man of the dugout,

I arrived in Fairbury the first day of May, 1871. The morning after I
came I counted every building in the town, including all outbuildings
having a roof. Even so I could only bring the grand total up to thirty.

That summer proved a very hot one--no ice, and very few buildings had a
cellar. We rented for the summer a little home of three rooms. The only
trees in sight were a few cottonwoods along the ravine that ran through
the town and on the banks of the Little Blue river. How to keep milk
sweet or butter cool was a problem. At last I thought of our well, still
without a pump. I would put the eatables in a washboiler, put the cover
on, tie a rope through the handles, and let the boiler down into the
well. In late September a lady told me as her husband was going away she
would bring her work and sit with me. I persuaded her to stay for
supper. I intended to have cold meat, a kind of custard known as
"floating island"; these with milk and butter were put down the well.
After preparing the table I went out and drew up my improvised
refrigerator, and removing the cover went in with milk and butter.
Returning almost instantly, the door closed with a bang and frightened a
stray dog doubtless attracted by the smell of meat. He started to run
and was so entangled in the ropes that as far as I could see, dog,
boiler, and contents were still going.

The whole thing was so funny I laughed at the time, and still do when I
recall that scene of so long ago.



_Statement by Mrs. Steele_

I have been asked to tell the story of how the sons of George Winslow
found their father's grave.

In April, 1911, it was my pleasure and privilege to go to Washington to
attend the national meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
I went in company with Mrs. C. B. Letton as well as a number of other
delegates from different parts of the state. While passing around to
cast our votes for president general, an eastern lady noticing our
badges exchanged greetings with some of our delegates and expressed a
wish to meet some one from Fairbury. She was told that Fairbury had a
delegate and I was called up to meet Mrs. Henry Winslow of Meriden,
Connecticut. She greeted me cordially, saying her husband's father was a
"Forty-niner" and while on his way to California was taken sick, died,
and was buried by the side of the Oregon trail. In February, 1891, a
letter appeared in a Boston paper from Rev. S. Goldsmith of Fairbury,
Nebraska, saying that he had seen a grave with the inscription "Geo.
Winslow, Newton, Ms. AE. 25" cut on a crude headstone, and that he was
ready to correspond with any interested party as to the lone grave or
its silent occupant. This letter came to the notice of the sons of
George Winslow, and they placed Mr. Goldsmith in communication with
David Staples, of San Francisco, California, who was a brother-in-law of
George Winslow and a member of the same company on the overland journey
to California.

Mr. Staples wrote him about the organization of the company, which was
called the "Boston and Newton Joint Stock Association," and the sickness
and death of George Winslow; but after this they heard nothing further
from the Nebraska man.

Mrs. Winslow asked me if I knew anything of the grave. I did not, but
promised to make inquiries regarding it on my return home.

[Illustration: MRS. CHARLES B. LETTON

Eighth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1907-1908]

Soon after reaching home, Judge and Mrs. Letton came down from Lincoln
and as guests of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Hansen we were all dining together.
The conversation turned to the trip Mrs. Letton and I had enjoyed
together, and we told the story of the talk with Mrs. Winslow. To my
great surprise and pleasure Judge Letton said, "Why, Mrs. Steele, I
remember seeing, many years ago, close by the Oregon trail, somewhere
near the head of Whiskey Run, a grave marked with a red sandstone, and
it is probably the grave you are searching for. I believe Mr. Hansen can
find it."

A few days after this Mr. Hansen reported the finding of the grave. He
said the headstone had been knocked down by a mower and dragged several
rods away, and that he had replaced it upon the grave; that the
inscription on the stone was as distinct as though freshly cut. I at
once wrote to Mrs. Winslow, giving her the facts, and telling her Mr.
Hansen would gladly answer any questions and give such further
information as she might wish.

The grateful letter I received in reply more than compensated me for
what I had done.

_Statement by Mr. Hansen_

Upon a beautiful swell of the prairie between the forks of Whiskey Run,
overlooking the charming valley of the Little Blue river, in a quiet
meadow, five miles north and one mile west of Fairbury, close to the
"old legitimate trail of the Oregon emigrants," is a lone grave marked
with a red sandstone slab, twenty inches in height, of equal width, and
six inches thick, on which is carved "Geo. Winslow, Newton, Ms. AE. 25."

Through this meadow untouched by the plow may still be seen the deep,
grass-grown furrows of the Oregon trail; and when George Winslow's
companions laid him at rest by its side, they buried him in historic
ground, upon earth's greatest highway.

To the honor of George Winslow's comrades be it said they loved him so
well that in their grief the feverish haste to reach the gold fields was
forgotten, and every member did what he could to give him Christian
burial and perpetuate his memory. They dug his grave very deep so that
neither vandals nor wolves would disturb him. They searched the
surrounding country and found, two miles away, a durable quality of
sandstone, which they fashioned with their rude tools for his monument,
his uncle Jesse Winslow carving with great care his name, home, and age,
and on a footstone the figures 1849. This service of love rendered him
that day gave to his sons their father's grave, and enabled us
sixty-three years afterwards to obtain the story of his life, and the
story of the journey of his company to California.

Of all the thousands of men who were buried by the side of the old trail
in 1849 and 1850, the monument of George Winslow alone remains. All the
rest, buried in graves unmarked or marked with wooden slabs, have passed
into oblivion.

In June, 1912, it was my pleasure to meet George Winslow's sons, George
E. of Waltham, Massachusetts, and Henry O. at the home of the latter in
Meriden, Connecticut. They were intensely interested in the incident of
their father's death and in the protection of his grave. It was planned
that they should obtain a granite boulder from near their father's home
in which the old red sandstone set up by his companions in 1849 might be
preserved, and a bronze tablet fashioned by Henry O. Winslow's hands
placed upon its face. This has been done, and the monument was unveiled
on October 29, 1912, with appropriate ceremonies.

I learned from them that Charles Gould, then in the eighty-ninth year,
the last survivor of the party, lived at Lake City, Minnesota. Mr. Gould
kept a record of each day's events from the time the Boston and Newton
Joint Stock Association left Boston until it arrived at Sutter's Fort,
California. A copy of this interesting diary and a copy of a
daguerreotype of Mr. Gould taken in 1849 are now in the possession of
the Nebraska State Historical Society. The original letter written by
George Winslow to his wife Eliza from Independence, Missouri, May 12,
1849, and the letter of Brackett Lord written at Fort Kearny June 17,
1849, describing Winslow's sickness, death, and burial, and a copy of a
daguerreotype of George Winslow taken in 1849, were given me by Mr.
Henry O. Winslow to present to the Nebraska State Historical Society.

From the Winslow memorial published in 1877, we learn that George
Winslow was descended from Kenelm Winslow of Dortwitch, England, whose
two sons Edward and Kenelm emigrated to Leyden, Holland, and joined the
Pilgrim church there in 1617. Edward came to America with the first
company of emigrants in the Mayflower, December, 1620, and was one of
the committee of four who wrote the immortal compact or Magna Charta. He
became governor of Plymouth colony in 1633. 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 Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1635. His
son, Josiah Winslow, born 1669, established the business of cloth
dressing at Freetown, Massachusetts. His son James Winslow, born 1712,
continued his father's business, and was a colonel in the second
regiment Massachusetts militia. His son Shadrach Winslow, born 1750,
graduated at Yale in 1771 and became an eminent physician. At the
outbreak of the Revolutionary war, being a gentleman of independent
fortune, he fitted out a warship or a privateer, and was commissioned 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 Winslow, born 1786, took up his abode in the Catskill
mountains with a view to his health and while there at Ramapo, New York,
on August 11, 1823, his son George Winslow was born.

The family moved to Newton, Mass., now a suburb of Boston, where George
learned his father's trade, that of machinist and molder. In the same
shop and at the same time, David Staples and Brackett Lord, who
afterwards became brothers-in-law, and Charles Gould were learning this

George Winslow was married in 1845. His first son, George Edward, was
born May 15, 1846. His second son Henry O., was born May 16, 1849, the
day the father left the frontier town of Independence, Missouri, for

The Boston and Newton Joint Stock Association consisted of twenty-five
picked young men from Newton and the vicinity of Boston, each member
paying $300 into the treasury. The incidents along the journey we obtain
from Mr. Gould's excellent journal. 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
9:00 o'clock p. m.

They left Cincinnati April 23rd, on the steamer Griffin Yeatman for St.
Louis, and arrived there April 27th, then by steamer Bay State, to
Independence, Missouri. The boat was crowded principally with passengers
bound for California. A set of gamblers seated around a table well
supplied with liquor kept up their game all night. Religious services
were held on board on the Sabbath, Rev. Mr. Haines 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."

On May 3rd, they landed at Independence, Missouri, and began
preparations for the overland journey. In the letter written by George
Winslow to his wife, he says:

"We have no further anxiety about forage; millions of buffalo have
feasted for ages on these vast prairies, and as their number have been
diminished by reason of hunters, it is absurd to think we will not have
sufficient grass for our animals....

"We have bought forty mules which cost us $50 apiece. I have been
appointed teamster, and had the good luck to draw the best wagon. I
never slept better in my life. I always find myself in the morning--or
my bed, rather--flat as a pan cake. As the darn thing leaks just enough
to land me on terra firma by morning, it saves me the trouble of
pressing out the wind; so who cares....

"Sunday morning, May 13, 1849. This is a glorious morning and having
curried my mules and washed my clothes and bathed myself, I can
recommence writing to you Eliza....

"We engaged some Mexicans to break the mules. To harness them they tied
their fore legs together and threw them down. The fellows then got on
them and wrung their ears, which like a nigger's shin, is the tenderest
part. By that time they were docile enough to take the harness. The
animals in many respects resemble sheep, they are very timid and when
frightened will kick like thunder. They got six 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 unbroken one he had bought; the bet was taken--but he had
no sooner mounted the fool mule than he landed on his hands and feet in
a very undignified manner; a roar of laughter from the spectators was
his reward. I suppose by this time you have some idea of a mule....

"I see by your letter that you have the blues a little in your anxiety
for my welfare. I do not worry about myself, then why do 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 and indulge in no more useless
anxiety. It effects nothing, and is almost universally the bugbear of
the imagination.... The reports of the gold region here are as
encouraging as they were in Massachusetts. Just imagine to yourself
seeing me return with from $10,000 to $100,000...."

On May 16th this company of intrepid men started out upon the long
overland trail to California. They traveled up the Kansas river, delayed
by frequent rains and mud hub deep, reaching the lower ford of the
Kansas on the 26th, having accomplished about fifty miles in ten days.
The wagons were 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, David
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 Nebraska-Kansas state line into Jefferson county, Nebraska.
Mr. Gould writes: "About a half hour before sunset a terrific thunder
shower arose, which baffles description, the lightning flashes 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 closed in."

To this storm is attributed George Winslow's death. The next morning he
appeared as well as usual, but at 3 o'clock became worse, and the
company encamped. He failed rapidly, and at 9 o'clock a. m., 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 were performed, by reading from the scriptures
by Mr. Burt, and prayer by Mr. Sweetser. He was then borne to the grave
by eight bearers, and followed by the rest of the company. Tears rolled
down the cheeks of those strong men as each deposited a green sprig in
the open grave.

For him the trail ended here--in these green pastures. All the rest of
his company traveled the long old trail 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. He alone of all that
company was never disillusioned.



When I look upon the little city of Fairbury and see the beautiful
trees, fine lawns, and comfortable homes, it is hard to realize the
feelings I had in July, 1873, when as a bride, coming from the dear old
Granite state, we came to our future home. I wanted to "go on" somewhere
else, for everything that is usually green was so parched and dreary
looking and desolate. The only trees were at the homes of L. C. Champlin
and S. G. Thomas.

We spent the night at the Purdy house, and the following day drove to
our homestead; and in fording the river where the Weeks bridge is now,
the water poured into the express wagon (finest conveyance in town)
driven by Will Hubbell. At least two of the party were much alarmed--our
sister Mary Weeks and the writer.

It was the first of many peculiar experiences, such as taking my sewing
and a rocking chair, on a hayrack, to the hay field, rather than stay
home alone for fear of the Otoe Indians. The first intimation of their
presence would be their faces pressed against the window glass, and that
would give one a creepy feeling.

I have ridden to town many times on loads of sand, rock, and hay; and
when the ford was impassable with wagons, I would go on horseback, with
arms around the neck of faithful Billy, and eyes closed for fear of
tumbling off into the water. On the return trip both of our horses would
be laden with bags of provisions.

In 1867 my husband went with a party of twenty-five on a buffalo hunt
with a man by the name of Soules as guide. They secured plenty of elk,
deer, and buffalo. The wagons were formed in a circle, to corral the
horses and mules nights for fear of an attack by the Indians; each one
taking turns as sentinel. The mules would always whistle if an Indian
was anywhere near, so he felt secure even if he did sleep a little. They
only saw the Indians at a distance as they were spearing the buffalo.

All things have surely changed, and now we ride in autos instead of
covered wagons. What will the next fifty years bring?



By an act of the legislature, approved June 14, 1867, it was provided
that the governor, secretary, and auditor of state, should be
commissioners for the purpose of locating the seat of government and
public buildings of the state of Nebraska, and they were vested with the
necessary powers and authority for proceeding, as soon as practicable,
to effect that purpose, and required on or before the fifteenth day of
July in the same year, to select from among certain lands belonging to
the state, and lying within the counties of Seward, Saunders, Butler,
and Lancaster, "a suitable site, of not less than six hundred and forty
acres lying in one body, for a town, due regard being had to its
accessibility from all portions of the state and its general fitness for
a capital."

The commissioners were also required, immediately upon such selections
being made, to appoint a competent surveyor and proceed to "survey, lay
off and stake out the said tract of land into lots, blocks, streets,
alleys, and public squares or reservations for public buildings"; and
the act declared that such town when so laid out and surveyed, should
"be named and known as Lincoln," and the same was thereby declared to be
"the permanent seat of government of the state of Nebraska, at which all
the public offices of the state should be kept, and at which all the
sessions of the legislature thereof should be held."

The act further provided that the lots in the alternate blocks, not
reserved as aforesaid, in said town, should, after notice thereof had
been given by advertisement for the time and in the manner therein
prescribed, be offered for sale to the highest and best bidder; and the
commissioners were authorized, after having held the sale for five
successive days, as therein provided, at Lincoln, Nebraska City, and
Omaha, to adjourn the same to be held at such other place or places
within or without the state, as they might see proper, provided that at
such sales no lots should be sold for a less price than a minimum to be
fixed on each lot by the commissioners, previous to the opening of the
sales. All moneys received for the sale of said lots were declared to be
a state building fund, and were directed to be deposited in the state
treasury and kept separate from all other funds for that purpose. Notice
was directed to be issued immediately after the sale of lots, asking
from architects plans and specifications for a building, the foundation
of which should be of stone, and the superstructure of stone or brick,
which should be suitable for the two houses of the legislature and the
executive offices of the state, and which might be designed as a portion
of a larger edifice, but the cost of which should not exceed fifty
thousand dollars. Provision was also made for the letting of the
contract for its construction, and appointing a superintendent thereof,
and also for the erection at Lincoln, as soon as sufficient funds
therefor could be secured by the sale of public lands or otherwise, of a
state university, agricultural college, and penitentiary; but no
appropriation, other than of the state lands and lots as above
described, was made for the aid of any of the enterprises herein

What was the result of sending three men fifty miles out into an
unbroken, and at that time, almost unknown prairie, to _speak_ into
existence simply by the magic of their own unconquerable, though
unaided, enterprise and perseverance, a city that should not only be
suitable for the seat of government of the state, but should be able,
almost as soon as its name was pronounced, to contribute from its own
resources sufficient funds for the erection of a state house and other
necessary public state buildings, remains to be seen.

It appears from the report of the commissioners, made to the senate and
house of representatives at its first regular session, held in January,
1869, that, having provided themselves with an outfit, and employed Mr.
Augustus F. Harvey, as surveyor, to ascertain the location of the lines
of the proposed sites, they left Nebraska City on the afternoon of the
18th of July, 1867, for the purpose of making the selection required in
the act.

After having visited and examined the town sites of Saline City, or
"Yankee Hill," and Lancaster, in Lancaster county, they proceeded to
visit and examine the several proposed sites in each of the counties
named in the act, in which occupations they were engaged until the
twenty-ninth of the same month, when they returned, and made a more
thorough examination of the two sites above referred to, at which time
the favorable impressions received of Lancaster on their first visit
were confirmed. Says the report:

"We found a gently undulating surface, its principal elevation being
near the centre of the proposed new site. The village already
established being in the midst of a thrifty and considerable
agricultural population; rock, timber, and water power available within
short distances; the centre of the great saline region within two miles;
and in addition to all other claims, the special advantage was that the
location was at the centre of a circle, of about 110 miles in diameter,
along or near the circumference of which are the Kansas state line
directly south, the important towns of Pawnee City, Nebraska City,
Plattsmouth, Omaha, Fremont, and Columbus.... Under these circumstances
we entertained the proposition of the people residing in the vicinity of
Lancaster, offering to convey to the state in _fee simple_ the west half
of the west half of section 25, the east half and the southwest quarter
of section 26, which, with the northwest quarter of section 26 (the last
named quarter being saline land), all in town 10, range 6 east; the
whole embracing 800 acres, and upon which it was proposed to erect the
new town. In addition, the trustees of the Lancaster Seminary
Association proposed to convey to the state, for an addition to the site
named in the foregoing proposition, the town site of Lancaster,
reserving, however, certain lots therein which had been disposed of in
whole or in part to the purchasers thereof."

After being satisfied of the sufficiency of the titles proposed to be
conveyed to the state, and having carefully "considered all the
circumstances of the condition of the saline lands, the advantage of the
situation, its central position, and the value of its surroundings over
a district of over _twelve thousand square miles_ of rich agricultural
country, it was determined to accept the proposition made by the owners
of the land." Accordingly on the afternoon of the 29th of July the
commissioners assembled at the house of W. T. Donavan, in Lancaster, and
by a unanimous vote formally declared the present site of the capital
city of Lincoln, which action was first made public by a proclamation
issued on the 14th day of August next following.

On the 15th of August, Messrs. Harvey and Smith, engineers, with a corps
of assistants, commenced the survey of the town, the design being
calculated for the making of a beautiful city. The streets are one
hundred and twenty feet wide, and all except the business streets
capable of being improved with a street park outside the curb line; as,
for instance: On the one hundred feet streets, pavements twelve feet
wide and a park or double row of trees outside the pavement, and planted
twelve feet apart so as to admit of a grass plat between, may be made on
both sides the street. This will leave on the one hundred feet streets a
roadway fifty-two feet wide; with pavements as above, and parks fifteen
feet wide, will leave a roadway on the one hundred and twenty feet
streets of sixty feet; while on the business streets a ninety-foot
roadway was thought to be amply sufficient for the demands of trade.

Reservations of about twelve acres each were made for the state house,
state university, and a city park, these being at about equal distances
from each other.

Reservations of one block each were made for a courthouse for Lancaster
county, for a city hall and market space, for a state historical and
library association, and _seven_ other squares in proper locations for
public schools. Reservations were also made of three lots each in
desirable locations for ten religious denominations, upon an
understanding with the parties making the selections on behalf of the
several denominations, that the legislature would require of them a
condition that the property should only be used for religious purposes,
and that some time would be fixed within which suitable houses of
worship, costing not less than some reasonable minimum amount, should be
erected. One lot each was also reserved for the use of the Independent
Order of Good Templars, and Odd Fellows, and the order of Ancient Free
and Accepted Masons. These reservations were afterwards confirmed by the
legislature, with conditions recommended by the commissioners, and
religious denominations were required to build on their reserved lots
previous to or during the summer of 1870.

In anticipation of the completion of the survey, due advertisement
thereof was made as provided by law, and a sale of lots opened at
Lincoln on the 17th day of September, for the purpose of raising the
necessary funds for commencing the construction of the state house.

Owing to the unpropitious state of the weather but few bidders were
present, and the results of the first day's sales were light and
disheartening; during their continuation, however, circumstances were
changed for the better, and at the end of five days $34,000 had been
realized. Subsequent sales were held at Nebraska City and Omaha, which
by the fourth day of October had increased that amount to the sum of
$53,000. Sales were subsequently held at Lincoln on the seventeenth of
June and September, 1868, from which were realized the sum of $22,580.

On the tenth of September, 1867, the commissioners issued their notice
to architects, inviting, for a period of thirty days, plans and
specifications for a state house; and upon the tenth of October, after
having considered the merits of the several plans presented, they
concluded to accept that of Prof. John Morris, of Chicago, whom they
thereupon appointed superintendent of construction, and issued notice to
builders, inviting proposals for a term of three months, for the
erection of the work; Prof. Morris in the meantime commencing such
preliminary work as excavations for foundations, delivery of material
for foundation, and other arrangements as should tend to facilitate the
progress of the work after the contract was let.

On the tenth of November the superintendent caused the ground to be
broken in the presence of a number of the citizens of Lancaster, the
removal of the first earth being awarded to Master Frele Morton Donavan,
the first child born in, and the youngest child of the oldest settler of
Lancaster county.

On the eleventh of January, 1868, the bid of Mr. Joseph Ward, proposing
to furnish the material and labor, and erect the building contemplated
in the contract for the sum of $49,000, was accepted, and from that time
forward the work steadily progressed, with the exception of a few
unavoidable delays, until its completion.

On account, however, of the increasing wants of the state, the
difficulties attending, the changes of material and increased amount of
work and additional accommodation found necessary and advisable, the
commissioners deemed it expedient to exceed the amount of expenditure
contemplated in the statute; the additional expense being defrayed from
the proceeds of the sales of lots and lands appropriated for that

It was originally intended that the walls of the building should be
built of red sandstone, and faced with blue limestone, but upon
proceeding with the work the architect and builder found that the
difficulties attending the procuration of the last named material would,
unless the object was abandoned, result in an impossibility of the
completion of the work at contract prices; and in so far retarding its
progress as to prevent its erection in time for the use of the next
session of the legislature. Its use, therefore, was accordingly
abandoned, and it was decided to substitute in lieu thereof the
magnesian limestone of Beatrice, which the experience of the architect
had proved to be of far better character for building purposes than the
blue limestone, it being less liable to wear or damage from frost or
fire or any other action of the elements.

This change having been made, the work was pushed vigorously forward,
and on the third day of December, 1868, was so far completed as to be
ready for the occupancy of the state officers, and the governor,
therefore, on that day issued his proclamation announcing the removal of
the seat of government from Omaha to Lincoln and ordering the
transportation of the archives of the state to the new capitol.



On February 1, 1872, I arrived in Lincoln, the capital of the state.
About the middle of January, 1875, the residents of Lincoln were greatly
startled at seeing a man, shoeless and coatless, mounted on a horse
without saddle or bridle, coming down Eleventh street at full speed, and
crying at the top of his voice, "Mutiny at the pen!" The man proved to
be a guard from the penitentiary heralding the news of this outbreak and
calling for help. The prisoners had taken advantage of the absence of
Warden Woodhurst, overpowered Deputy Warden C. J. Nobes, bound and
gagged the guard. The leader, Quinn Bohanan, disrobed the deputy warden,
exchanged his own for the clothing and hat of the deputy, and produced
the effect of a beard with charcoal. This disguise was all so complete
that the guards did not detect the ruse when the prisoners were marched
through the yards, supposed to be in charge of the deputy. When on the
inside of the prison they used the warden's family as hostages and took
possession of the arsenal, and were soon in command of the situation.

The man on horseback had spread the news through the city in a very
short time and soon hundreds of men with all kinds of guns had left
their places of business and gone to the penitentiary, which they
surrounded, holding the prisoners within the walls.

The governor wired for a detail from the regulars, stationed at Fort
Omaha, and with all possible haste they were rushed to the scene. They
were soon in charge of the situation, and negotiations were begun for a
restoration of normal conditions, which result was attained in three
days' time.

During all this time Warden Woodhurst was on the outside of the walls
and his brave little wife, with their two small children, were on the
inside. Mrs. Woodhurst used all the diplomacy at her command to save her
own life and that of the two children. She and the children had served
as shields to the prisoners, protecting them from the bullets of the
soldiers on the firing line around the penitentiary.

The incident closed without loss of life to citizen or prisoner, but has
left a lasting impression on the minds of those who were present.



In the spring of 1874 my father, Hiram Polley, came from Ohio to
Lincoln, I being a young lady of nineteen years. To say that the new
country with its vast prairies, so different from our beautiful timber
country, produced homesickness, would be putting it mildly. My parents
went on to a farm near what is now the town of Raymond, I remaining in
Lincoln with an aunt, Mrs. Watie E. Gosper. My father built the barn as
soon as possible and this was used for the house until after the crops
were put in, then work was begun on the house that they might have it
before cold weather.

The first trouble that came was the devastating plague of grasshoppers
which swept over this section of the country in the years 1874 and 1875.
Not long after this a new trouble was upon us. The day dawned bright and
fair, became hotter and more still, until presently in the distance
there could be seen the effects of a slight breeze; this however was
only the advance of a terrible windstorm. When the hurricane had passed,
the barn, which only a few months before had served as the house, was in
ruins. Undaunted, my father set about to rebuild the barn, which still
remains on the farm; the farm, however, is now owned by other parties.

In the winter of 1875 there was quite a fall of snow, and one of the
funny sights was a man driving down O street with a horse hitched to a
rocking chair. Everything that could be used for a sleigh was pressed
into service. This was a strange sight to me, having come from Ohio
where we had from three to four months of sleighing with beautiful
sleighs and all that goes to make up a merry time.

During this winter many were using corn for fuel and great quantities
were piled on the ground, which of course made rats very plentiful--so
much so that when walking on the streets at dusk one would almost have
to kick them out of the way or wait for them to pass.

In the course of time a young man appeared upon the scene, and on
December 10, 1874, I was married to Ortha C. Bell. We were married in
the house which now stands at the northeast corner of Twelfth and M
streets, then the home of my aunt, Mrs. Gosper. Four children were born
to us: the first, a daughter, dying in infancy; the second, Jennie
Bell-Ringer, of Lincoln; the third, a son, Ray Hiram Bell, dying at the
age of three; and the fourth, a daughter, Hazel Bell-Smith. Two
grandchildren have come to brighten our lives, DeEtte Bell Smith and
Edmund Burke Smith. Our home at 931 D street, which we built in 1886, is
still occupied by us.



I am a Nebraska product, having been born in the city of Lincoln, just
across the street from the state university, on R street, between
Eleventh and Twelfth.

When yet very young my proud mother entered me in an old-fashioned baby
show which was held in the old opera house, known as "The Hallo Opera
House." This show was not conducted as the "Better Babies" contest of
today is conducted, but rather along the line of a game of chance. The
judges went around and talked and played with the various babies. The
baby that made the best impression on the judges, or perhaps, more
correctly speaking, the baby that was on its good behavior, was the one
that made the best impression on the judges.

To make a long story short, I evidently, at that tender age, knew when
to put on my company manners, and when the prizes were awarded, I held
the lucky number and rode away in a handsome baby buggy, the first

The second prize was awarded to John Dean Ringer, second son of Mr. and
Mrs. Bradford Ringer. The third prize was given to Harry Hardenburg; and
an impromptu fourth prize was awarded to a colored baby.

The day I was married my newly acquired brother, in bestowing good
wishes upon me, said there was only one fault he had to find with me,
and upon inquiry as to what that might be, he answered, "You took the
first prize away from me at the baby show."


Commemorating the Council of Lewis and Clark with the Otoe and Missouri
Indians, August 3, 1804. Erected by the Daughters of the American
Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Nebraska State
Historical Society]



Looking backward for thirteen years, it is difficult for me to realize
that at the beginning of my fourth term as state regent, in 1902, there
were as yet only two chapters of the Daughters of the American
Revolution in Nebraska. From 1894 to 1902 there had been three other
state regents besides myself; and it was surely through no lack of
diligence or patriotism that the organization grew so slowly. Mrs. S. C.
Langworthy had been appointed organizing regent at Seward in 1896; Mrs.
J. A. Cline at Minden, and Mrs. Sarah G. Bates at Long Pine in 1897; and
Miss Anna Day at Beatrice in 1899. The total membership in the state
probably did not exceed two hundred and fifty, and these, with the
exception of the regents already named, belonged to the Deborah Avery
and the Omaha chapters.

In 1899, Mrs. Eliza Towle reported to the president general and the
national board of management that the Omaha chapter had decided to place
a monument at Fort Calhoun--undoubtedly at the suggestion of Mrs.
Harriet S. MacMurphy, who was much interested in the early history of
that place.

As the hundredth anniversary of the acquisition of the Louisiana
territory approached, and interest began to center around the expedition
of Lewis and Clark, it was found that the only point touched in Nebraska
by these explorers which could be positively identified was old Council
Bluff, near Fort Calhoun; and here the Omaha chapter had decided to
erect a monument. At a meeting of the Omaha chapter in 1901, the state
regent directed the attention of the members to this fact, and it was
voted to enlarge the scope of the undertaking, to make the marking of
the site a state affair, and to ask the coöperation of the Sons of the
American Revolution and of the State Historical Society. This action was
ratified at the first conference of the Daughters of the American
Revolution held in Nebraska, the meeting having been called especially
for that purpose, in October, 1902. A committee in conjunction with the
Sons of the American Revolution asked the state legislature of 1903 for
a sum of five thousand dollars to buy the site of Fort Atkinson and to
erect a suitable monument, under the auspices of the Sons and the
Daughters of the American Revolution, the monument to be erected
according to plans and specifications furnished by the two societies.

Disappointed by the failure of the legislature to make the desired
appropriation but in no way discouraged, the Daughters of the American
Revolution at the second state conference, held in October, 1903, voted
to observe the anniversary of the first official council held by Lewis
and Clark with the Indians in the Louisiana territory, and to
commemorate the event by placing a Nebraska boulder upon the site. As
chairman of the committee, it fell to my lot to raise the money and to
find the boulder; and it is with pleasure that I record the ease with
which the first part of my duty was accomplished. The Deborah Avery
chapter gave seventy-five dollars, the Omaha chapter one hundred, and
the two new chapters organized in 1902, Quivira of Fairbury and
Lewis-Clark of Fremont, raised the sum to two hundred, each promising
more if it was needed.

To find a Nebraska boulder was more difficult; and it was still more
difficult to find a firm in Nebraska willing to undertake to raise it
from its native bed and to carve upon it the insignia of the D. A. R.,
with a suitable inscription. Finally a boulder of Sioux Falls granite
was found in the Marsden farm, north of Lincoln, and it was given to the
society by the owner, who remarked that he was "glad to be rid of it."
Its dimensions were 7-1/2x8-1/3x3-1/2 feet. Its weight was between seven
and eight tons. The firm of Kimball Brothers of Lincoln took the
contract for its removal and inscription. Through the assistance of Mr.
A. E. Sheldon of the State Historical Society, the Burlington and
Missouri railroad generously transported it to Fort Calhoun, where its
placing was looked after by Mr. J. H. Daniels of the Sons of the
American Revolution. As the project had drifted away from the original
intention, and had become a memorial to commemorate an event rather than
to mark a spot, the boulder was placed on the public school grounds at
Fort Calhoun. At last, almost five years from the time of the broaching
of the project, the wish of the society was accomplished.

The following condenses an account of the unveiling of the boulder, and
the program, from the report of Miss Anna Tribell Adams of the Omaha
chapter for the _American Monthly_ of January, 1905:

"On August 3, 1904, the village of Fort Calhoun, fifteen miles above
Omaha on the Missouri river, was the scene of the unveiling of a boulder
commemorating the first peace council between the United States
government and the chiefs of the Otoe and Missouri Indian tribes. The
town as well as the school grounds were brave with bunting and flags.
Everyone wore with a small flag the souvenir button on which was a
picture of the boulder with a suitable inscription. As a matter of
history it is a pleasure to record that the button was designed by Mrs.
Elsie De Cou Troup of the Omaha chapter. One worn by one of the speakers
is in the collection of the Deborah Avery chapter in the rooms of the
State Historical Society at Lincoln.

"Among those present were Brigadier General Theodore Wint, representing
the United States government, Governor J. H. Mickey, Adjutant General
and Mrs. J. H. Culver, Mr. J. A. Barrett and Mr. A. E. Sheldon of the
State Historical Society, Senator J. H. Millard, ex-Governor J. E. Boyd,
and others.

"The Thirtieth Infantry band from Fort Calhoun opened the program. Then
came a brief reproduction, in pageant-manner, by the Knights of
Ak-Sar-Ben of Omaha, of the Council of 1804, enacting the Lewis and
Clark treaty. Mr. Edward Rosewater of the Omaha _Bee_ extended the
welcome of the day, and brought to the attention of the audience the
presence of Mr. Antoine Cabney, the first white child born in Nebraska,
whose birthplace, in 1827, was near the site of Fort Calhoun. The state
regent, Mrs. Abraham Allee, introduced Governor Mickey, who spoke
briefly. He was followed by J. A. Barrett of the State Historical
Society, who gave an account of the Lewis and Clark Council. Honorable
W. F. Gurley of Omaha then delivered the address of the day. At the
conclusion of the formal program the boulder was unveiled. In the
presentation speech by Mrs. S. B. Pound of Lincoln, the boulder was
committed formally, in the name of the Sons and the Daughters of the
American Revolution and of the State Historical Society, to the care of
the citizens of Fort Calhoun."



(Late captain Fifth U. S. Cavalry and brevet major U. S. Army)

It is supposed that the first white men who visited Lincoln county were
the Mallet brothers, who passed this way to Santa Fe in 1739. Pierre and
Auguste Chouteau were sent out from St. Louis to explore the
northwestern country in 1762. In 1780 another expedition was sent to
explore the country between the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains.

After the expedition of Lewis and Clark, which followed up the Missouri
river, the first government expedition was made in 1819, under Major
Stephen H. Long, who traveled up the north side of the Platte and
crossed just above the forks of the two rivers, then going up the valley
between the two streams to the site of the present town of North Platte.

Titian Peale, the naturalist of Philadelphia, was with this expedition
and the Peale family living at North Platte, are relatives of his. In
1835, Col. Henry Dodge visited this section of the country in the
government employ to treat with the Arikara Indians.

In 1843, Col. John C. Fremont, making his expedition up the Platte,
celebrated the Fourth of July of that year, in what is now Lincoln
county. During the year 1844 travel up the Platte river became quite
heavy and the first building in the county was erected by a Frenchman
(name unknown) near the present residence of Mrs. Burke at Fort
McPherson, and was used as a trading ranch, but was abandoned in 1848.

In 1852, a man by the name of Brady settled on the south side of the
island now known as Brady Island. Brady is supposed to have been killed
some time during the following year by the Indians.

In 1858, the first permanent settlement in the county was made at
Cottonwood Springs and the first building was erected in the fall of the
year by Boyer & Roubidoux. I. P. Boyer had charge of this ranch. In the
same year another trading ranch was built at O'Fallon's Bluffs on the
south side of the river. In 1859 Dick Darling erected the second
building at Cottonwood Springs. This building was purchased by Charles
McDonald for a store, and he stocked it with general merchandise. In
1860, Mr. McDonald brought his wife from Omaha, she being the first
white woman to settle in Lincoln county. Mrs. McDonald lived here about
three years before another white woman settled at Cottonwood Springs.
Mr. McDonald is now living at North Platte, engaged in the banking
business. Mrs. McDonald died in December, 1898, and is buried at North

In the spring of 1860, J. A. Morrow built a ranch about twelve miles
west from Cottonwood, to accommodate the great rush to California. To
give some idea of the extent of the freight and emigrant business along
this route, it was no uncommon thing to count from seven hundred to one
thousand wagons passing in one day.

During the year 1861, the Creighton telegraph line was completed through
the county. In June, 1861, the first white child was born. His name is
W. H. McDonald, son of Chas. McDonald, now of North Platte, Nebraska.

In the spring of 1860, W. M. Hinman removed from Port Laramie to
Cottonwood Springs, and opened up a farm, trading with the emigrants and
Indians. In November, 1863, Fort McPherson was established by the
government at this settlement of Cottonwood Springs. This military post
was first commanded by Major George M. O'Brien.

Fort McPherson was established none too soon, for it was in the
following year, 1864, that the war with the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians
commenced. This war continued for over five years and many emigrants and
soldiers were killed.

What is now known as Lincoln county, was first organized as a county
under the territorial government of Nebraska in 1860. Cottonwood Springs
was made the county-seat. The following officers were elected: County
commissioners--I. P. Boyer, J. C. Gilman and J. A. Morrow;
judge--Charles McDonald; treasurer--W. M. Hinman. Instead of calling the
county Lincoln, it was named "Shorter." Nothing, however, was done under
this organization. Judge McDonald qualified and the only business was
the marriage ceremony.

On September 3, 1866, a meeting was held and arrangements made to
reorganize Shorter county under the name of Lincoln county. Under the
reorganization, the following officers were elected: J. C. Gilman, W. M.
Hinman, and J. A. Morrow were elected county commissioners; S. D.
Fitchie, county judge; Wilton Baker, sheriff; and Charles McDonald,
clerk. The county seat was at Cottonwood Springs. W. M. Hinman built a
sawmill near Cottonwood Springs and did a large business. The Union
Pacific railroad was then being constructed through this county and the
cañons south of the Platte abounded with cedar timber, furnishing an
abundance of material.

During November, 1866, the Union Pacific railroad was completed to North
Platte and a town was laid out by the railroad company. The plat of the
town was filed with the clerk of the county on January 31, 1867; a
military post was established, and a garrison of soldiers was stationed

In 1867 the Union Pacific railroad began the erection of shops and
roundhouse, North Platte having been designated as a division station.
During the year 1867, a freight train was wrecked by the Indians.
Several of the trainmen were killed and the train plundered and burned.
In September, 1867, the Indian chiefs were all called to assemble at
North Platte, where they were met by the commissioners appointed by the
government to treat with them. These commissioners were General Sherman,
General Harney, and John P. Sanborne, and a treaty of peace was entered
into. During the stay of these commissioners, they were well entertained
by the citizens of North Platte. The county-seat was moved from
Cottonwood Springs to North Platte at an election held October 8, 1867.
A total of twenty-one votes were cast. The officers elected were B. I.
Hinman, representative; W. M. Hinman, county judge; Charles McDonald,
clerk; O. O. Austin, sheriff; Hugh Morgan, treasurer, and A. J. Miller,
county commissioner. There was no courthouse, and the records were kept
at the home of W. M. Hinman, who had moved from his farm to North
Platte. The first county warrant was issued in 1867. The first term of
district court was held at North Platte in 1867, Judge Gantt then being
the circuit judge for the entire state. July 1, 1867, the first levy on
the Union Pacific railroad in Lincoln county was made on an assessed
valuation of $49,000.00.

During this year, there was an Indian scare and settlers throughout the
county thronged to the military parks at McPherson and North Platte,
taking refuge in the railroad roundhouse at the latter place.

The first money collected from fines was that paid into the county
treasury on February 1, 1868, by R. C. Daugherty, a justice of the
peace, who fined a man $21.50 for stealing an overcoat.

The first school in the county was taught at North Platte during the
summer of 1868. Theodore Clark was the first teacher. The next term of
school began November 30, 1868, and was taught by Mary Hubbard, now Mrs.
P. J. Gilman.

The first Sunday school in the county was at North Platte, and was
founded by Mrs. Keith, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Cogswell, and Mrs. Kramph.
There were only three children in attendance.

During the year 1868, troubles with the Indians were on the increase. On
one occasion, "Dutch" Frank, running an engine and coming round a curve
with his train, saw a large body of Indians on each side of the road,
while a number were crowded on the track. Knowing it would be certain
death to stop, he increased the speed of his train and went through
them, killing quite a number.

In May, 1869, the Fifth U. S. Cavalry arrived at Fort McPherson under
General Carr. Eight companies were left here and four companies went to
Sidney and Cheyenne. The government was surveying this county at that
time and the troops were used to protect the surveyors. Large bands of
Indians had left the reservation and were killing settlers and stealing
horses. During the summer of 1869 the order from General Auger,
commanding the department, was to clear the country of Indians between
the Union Pacific and the Kansas Pacific. I was an officer of the Fifth
U. S. Cavalry and was in command of the post at North Platte in 1869 and
1870, and was in all the Indian campaigns until I resigned in 1878.

The first bank in North Platte was started in 1875 by Walker Brothers
and was later sold to Charles McDonald.



It is not often that one sees a real Indian chief on the streets of
Fullerton, but such happened in June, 1913, when the city was visited by
David Gillingham, as he is known in the English tongue, or Gray Eagle,
as his people call him, chief of the Pawnees.

Gray Eagle is the son of White Eagle, whom the early inhabitants of
Nance county will remember as chief of the Pawnees at the time the
county was owned by that tribe.

Gray Eagle was born about three miles this side of Genoa, in 1861. He
spent his boyhood in the county and when white men began to build at the
place that is now Genoa, he attended school there. When he was fourteen
years of age he accompanied his tribe to its new home at Pawnee City,
Oklahoma, where he has since resided. The trip overland was made mostly
on horseback, and the memories of it are very interesting as interpreted
to us by Chief Gray Eagle, and John Williamson, of Genoa, one of the few
white men to make this long journey with the red men. Gray Eagle made
one trip back here in 1879, visiting the spot that is now
Fullerton--then only a few rude shacks.

Uppermost in Gray Eagle's mind had always been the desire to return and
see what changes civilization had brought. In 1913 he was sent to St.
Louis as a delegate to the Baptist convention, after which he decided to
visit the old scenes. From St. Louis he went to Chicago and from that
city he came to Genoa.

"I have always wanted to see if I could locate the exact spot of my
birth," said Gray Eagle, in perfect English, as he talked to us on this
last visit, "and I have been successful in my undertaking. I found it
last week, three miles this side of Genoa. I was born in a little, round
mud-house, and although the house is long since gone, I discovered the
circular mound that had been its foundation. I stood upon the very spot
where I was born, and as I looked out over the slopes and valleys that
had once been ours; at the corn and wheat growing upon the ground that
had once been our hunting grounds; at the quietly flowing streams that
we had used so often for watering places in the days so long gone by; my
heart was very sad. Yet I've found that spot and am satisfied. I can now
go back to the South and feel that my greatest desire has been granted."

When asked if the Indians of today followed many of the customs of their
ancestors, he answered that they did not. Occasionally the older
Indians, in memory of the days of their supremacy, dressed themselves to
correspond and acted as in other days, but the younger generation knows
nothing of those things and is as the white man. In Oklahoma they go to
school, later engage in farming or enter business. "Civilization has
done much for them," said Gray Eagle. "They are hard workers and have
ambitions to accomplish great things and be better citizens. Only we old
Indians, who remember the strenuous times of the early days, have the
wild blood in our veins. The younger ones have never even seen a

Then he told of his early life in the county and related interesting
stories of the past--Gray Eagle, the Indian chief, and John Williamson,
the pioneer, talking together, at times, in a tongue that to us was
strange, but to them an echo of a very real past.

The Loup he called Potato Water, because of the many wild potatoes that
formerly grew upon its banks. Horse creek he remembered as Skeleton
Water, the Pawnees one time having fought a band of Sioux on its banks.
They were victorious but lost many warriors. Their own dead they buried,
leaving the bodies of their enemies to decay in the sun. Soon the banks
of the creek were strewn with skeletons and ever after the creek was
known to the Indians as Skeleton Water. The Cedar was known as Willow
creek, Council creek as the Skidi, and the Beaver as the Sandburr.



    I pause before I reach the verge
      And look, with chilling blood, below;
    Some dread attraction seems to urge
      Me nearer to the brink to go.
    The hunting red men used to force
      The buffalo o'er this frightful steep;
    They could not check their frantic course;
      By following herds pressed down they leap,

    Then lie a bleeding, mangled mass
      Beside the little stream below.
    Their red blood stained the waving grass,
      The brook carnation used to flow.
    Yet a far more pathetic tale
      The Pawnees told the pioneer
    Of dusky maid and stripling pale
      Who found in death a refuge here.

    The youth had been a captive long,
      Yet failed to friendly favor find;
    He oft was bound with cruel thong,
      Yet Noma to the lad was kind.
    She was the chieftain's only child,
      As gentle as the cooing dove.
    Pure was this daughter of the wild;
      The pale-face lad had won her love.

    Her father, angered at her choice,
      Had bid'n her wed a chieftain brave;
    She answered with a trembling voice,
      "I'd rather lie within my grave."
    The day before the appointed eve
      When Wactah was to claim his bride,
    The maid was seen the camp to leave--
      The pale-face youth was by her side.

    She led him to this dangerous place
      That on the streamlet's glee doth frown;
    The sunlight, gleaming on her face,
      Her wild, dark beauty seemed to crown.
    "Dear youth," exclaimed the dusky maid,
      "I've brought thee here thy faith to prove:
    If thou of death art not afraid,
      We'll sacrifice our lives to love."

    Hand linked in hand they looked below,
      Then, headlong, plunged adown the steep.
    The Pawnees from that hour of woe
      Have named the place The Lovers' Leap.



In 1843 Mr. and Mrs. Lester W. Platt were first engaged in missionary
work among the Pawnees, and in 1857 the government set aside a tract of
land thirty miles by fifteen miles, in the rich prairie soil of Nance
county, for their use; and when the Indian school was established at
Genoa, Mrs. Platt was made matron or superintendent.

My mother taught in this school during the years 1866-67. She found the
work interesting, learned much of the customs and legends of the Pawnees
and grew very fond of that noble woman, Mrs. Platt, who was able to tell
thrilling stories of her experiences during her mission work among the
members of that tribe.

At the time my mother taught in the Genoa school, the Sioux, who were
the greatest enemies of the Pawnees, on account of wanting to hunt in
the same territory, were supposed to be friendly with the settlers, but
drove away their horses and cattle and stole everything in sight,
furnishing much excitement.

My father, Captain S. E. Cushing, accompanied my uncle, Major Frank
North, on a number of expeditions against the hostile Indians, during
the years 1869 until 1877. He was with Major North at the time of the
famous charge on the village of the Cheyennes, when the notorious chief,
Tall Bull, was killed by my uncle.

In 1856, when Frank North came to Nebraska, a young boy, he mingled
fearlessly with the Indians along the Missouri in the region of Omaha,
where our family first settled, learning their mode of warfare and
living, and their language, which he spoke as fluently as his mother
tongue. In 1861 he took a position as clerk and interpreter at the
Pawnee reservation and by 1863 he had become known as a daring scout.

The next year the building of the Union Pacific railroad was started,
and as the work progressed westward the fierce Arapahoes, Cheyennes, and
Sioux began attacking the laborers, until it seemed deadly peril to
venture outside the camps. It was useless to call on the regular troops
for help as the government needed them all to hold in check the armies
of Lee and Johnston. A clipping from the Washington _Sunday Herald_, on
this subject, states that "a happy thought occurred to Mr. Oakes Ames,"
the main spirit of the work. He sent a trusty agent to hunt up Frank
North, who was then twenty-four years old. "What can be done to protect
our working parties, Mr. North?" said Mr. Ames. "I have an idea," Mr.
North answered. "If the authorities at Washington will allow me to
organize a battalion of Pawnees and mount and equip them, I will
undertake to picket your entire line and keep off other Indians.

"The Pawnees are the natural enemies of all the tribes that are giving
you so much trouble, and a little encouragement and drill will make them
the best irregular horse you could desire."

This plan was new but looked feasible. Accordingly Mr. Ames went to
Washington, and, after some effort, succeeded in getting permission to
organize a battalion of four hundred Pawnee warriors, who should be
armed as were the U.S. cavalry and drilled in such simple tactics as the
service required, and my uncle was commissioned a major of volunteers
and ordered to command them. The newspaper clipping also says: "It would
be difficult to estimate the service of Major North in money value."
General Crook once said, in speaking of him, "Millions of government
property and hundreds of lives were saved by him on the line of the
Union Pacific railroad, and on the Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana

There is much to be said in his praise, but I did not intend writing a
eulogy, rather to tell of the stories which have come down to me, with
which he and my other relatives were so closely connected.

During the many skirmishes and battles fought by the Pawnees, under
Major North, he never lost a man; moreover, on several different
occasions he passed through such hair-breadth escapes that the Pawnees
thought him invulnerable. In one instance, while pursuing the retreating
enemy, he discovered that his command had fallen back and he was
separated from them by over a mile. The enemy, discovering his plight,
turned on him. He dismounted, being fully armed, and by using his horse
as a breastwork he managed to reach his troops again, though his
faithful horse was killed. This and many like experiences caused the
Pawnees to believe that their revered leader led a charmed life. He
never deceived them, and they loved to call him "Little Pawnee Le-Sharo"
(Pawnee Chief), and so he was known as the White Chief of the Pawnees.

The coming of the railroad through the state, bringing thousands of
settlers with household furnishings and machinery for tilling the soil,
was of the greatest importance. It was concerning the guarding of that
right of way that a writer for the _Horse World_ has some interesting
memories and devotes an article in a number in February, 1896, to the
stories of Colonel W. F. Cody, Major Frank North, Captain Charles Morse,
Captain Luther North, Captain Fred Mathews, and my father, Captain S. E.
Cushing. The correspondent was under my father, in Company B, during one
of the scouting expeditions, when the company was sent to guard
O'Fallon's Bluffs, west of Fort McPherson on the Union Pacific. He tells
much more of camp activities and of his initiation into border life than
of the skirmishes or scouting trips. He was fond of horses and tells of
a memorable race in which a horse of Buffalo Bill's was beaten by my
father's horse "Jack."

My uncle, Captain Luther North, who also commanded a company of scouts
at that time, now resides in Omaha.

While yet a boy he freighted between Omaha and Columbus and carried the
mail, by pony, during a period when my grandmother felt that when she
bade him good-bye in the morning she might never see him again, so
unsettled was the feeling about the Indians. He was intimately
acquainted with every phase of Indian life. He knew their pastimes and
games, work of the medicine men and magicians, and especially was he
familiar with many of their legends. I am happy to have been one of the
children who often gathered 'round him to listen to the tales of his own
experiences or stories told him by the red men.

One personal experience in the family happened before the building of
the railroad, probably in sixty-one or sixty-two. A number of men,
accompanied by the wives of two of them, went to put up hay for the
government, on land located between Genoa and Monroe. One night the
Indians surrounded their camp, presumably to drive away their stock.
Naturally the party rebelled, and during the melee which followed Adam
Smith and another man were killed and one of the women, Mrs. Murray, was
wounded but saved herself by crawling away through the tall grass. The
recital of this trouble grew in magnitude the farther it traveled, until
people grew frantic with fear, believing it to mean an uprising of the
Sioux. The settlers from Shell creek and all directions, bringing
horses, cattle, and even their fowls, together with personal belongings,
flocked into the village of Columbus for mutual protection. My mother,
then a young girl, describes the first night as one of much confusion.

Some of the fugitives were sheltered with friends, others camped in the
open. Animals, feeling as strange as did their masters, were bawling or
screeching, and no one could sleep, as the greatest excitement

"They built a stockade of upright posts about eight feet high, around
the town," says my uncle Luther, thinking that as the Indians usually
fought on horseback, this would be a great help if not a first-class

They organized a militia company and men were detailed for guard duty
and stationed at different points along the stockade, so serious seemed
the situation. One night Luther North and two other young men were sent
on picket duty outside the stockade. They took their horses and blankets
and went up west of town about half a mile, to keep an eye on the
surrounding country. A Mr. Needham had gone up to his farm (now the John
Dawson farm) that day, and did not return until it was getting dark. The
guards thought it would be great fun to give him a little scare, so as
he approached they wrapped themselves in their blankets, mounted, and
rode down under a bank. Just as he passed they came up in sight and gave
the Indian war whoop and started after him. He whipped his team into a
run; they chased him, yelling at every step, but stopped a reasonable
distance from the stockade and then went back. Mr. Needham gave graphic
description of how the Indians had chased him, which so upset the entire
population that sleep was out of the question that night. Moreover he
cautioned his wife in this wise: "Now, Christina, if the Indians come,
it is everybody for himself, and you will have to skulk." This remark
made by Mr. Needham became a byword, and even down into the next
generation was a favorite saying and always provoked a smile. The young
guards had no fear whatever of marauding Indians, and, blissfully
unaware of the commotion they had aroused, went back up the road to a
melon patch, ate a sufficient amount of the luscious fruit, picketed
their horses, wrapped themselves in their blankets, and lay them down to
pleasant dreams. The next morning they rode into town and reported no
red men in sight. After a few weeks, when there was no further evidence
of trouble from the savages, the people gradually dispersed to their
homes and farms which were, by that time, much in need of attention.

[Illustration: MRS. OREAL S. WARD

Ninth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1909-1910]



On January 12, 1888, the states of Nebraska and South Dakota were
visited by a blizzard so fierce and cruel and death-dealing that
residents of those sections cannot speak of it even now without an
involuntary shudder.

The storm burst with great suddenness and fury, and many there were who
did not live to tell the story of their suffering. And none suffered
more keenly than did the occupants of the prairie schoolhouses. Teachers
and pupils lost their lives or were terribly maimed. The great storm
indicated most impressively the measure of danger and trial that must be
endured by the country school teacher in the isolated places on the

Three Nebraska country school teachers--Loie Royce of Plainfield, Etta
Shattuck of Holt county, and Minnie Freeman of Mira Valley, were the
subjects of much newspaper writing.

Miss Royce had nine pupils. Six went home for luncheon and remained on
account of the storm. The three remaining pupils with the teacher stayed
in the schoolhouse until three o'clock. Their fuel gave out, and as her
boarding house was but fifteen rods away, the teacher decided to take
the children home with her.

In the fury of the storm they wandered and were lost. Darkness came, and
with it death. One little boy sank into the eternal silence. The brave
little teacher stretched herself out on the cold ground and cuddled the
two remaining ones closer. Then the other little boy died and at
daylight the spirit of the little girl, aged seven, fluttered away,
leaving the young teacher frozen and dumb with agony. Loie Royce "hath
done what she could; angels can do no better." Miss Royce lost both feet
by amputation.

Etta Shattuck, after sending her children home (all living near) tried
to go to her home. Losing her way, she took refuge in a haystack, where
she remained, helpless and hungry Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,
suffering intensely and not able to move. She lived but a short time
after her terrible experience.

Minnie Freeman was teaching in Mira Valley, Valley county. She had in
her charge seventeen pupils. Finding it impossible to remain in the
schoolhouse, she took the children with her to her boarding place almost
a mile from the schoolhouse.

Words are useless in the effort to portray that journey to the safe
shelter of the farmhouse, with the touching obedience of the children to
every word of direction--rather _felt_ than _heard_, in that fierce
winding-sheet of ice and snow. How it cut and almost blinded them! It
was terrible on their eyes. They beat their way onward, groping blindly
in the darkness, with the visions of life and death ever before the
young teacher responsible for the destiny of seventeen souls.

All reached the farmhouse and were given a nice warm supper prepared by
the hostess and the teacher, and comfortable beds provided.

Minnie Freeman was unconscious of anything heroic or unusual. Doing it
in the simple line of duty to those placed in her care, she still
maintains that it was the trust placed in the Great Spirit who guides
and cares for His own which led the little band--

    "Through the desert and illimitable air,
    Lone wandering, but not lost."


    _Written to Miss Minnie Freeman in 1888 by Mrs. Ellis of St. Paul,
    Nebraska. Mrs. Ellis was then seventy-eight years old--now

    'Midst driving winds and blinding snows,
    Impending dangers round her close;
    No shelter from the blast and sleet,
    No earthly help to guide her feet.
    In God alone she puts her trust,
    Ever to guide the brave and just.

    Fierce and loud the awful storm,
    Racking now her slender form,
    Eager to save the little band
    Entrusted to her guiding hand.
    Marshalled her host, see, forth she goes
    And falters not while tempest blows;
    Now God alone can help, she knows.

    See them falling as they go;
    Angry winds around them blow.
    Is there none to hear their cry?
    Now her strength will almost fail;
    Tranquil, she braves the fearful gale.

    Preëminent her name shall stand,
    A beacon light o'er all the land,
    Unrivalled on the page of time;
    Let song and story swell the chime.



In 1872, after passing through a great sorrow, a longing came to me to
enter the missionary field among the Indians. At that time the Pawnee
tribe was located on their reservation, now Nance county, and I was sent
to work among them. It was interesting, at the same time sad and
depressing, to witness the degeneration and savagery of tribal life; and
ofttimes it was seemingly hopeless to civilize and christianize them.

In 1874 the Pawnees were removed by the government to Indian territory,
now Oklahoma, and the reservation was thrown on the market. This became
Nance county, and a new order of things followed. Settlers came to the
little hamlet of Genoa, that had been first settled by the Mormons in
1857, and though later given over to the Indians, it was one of the
oldest towns in Nebraska.

A church was established under the care of the New England
Congregational Mission and Rev. Charles Starbuck was put in charge. A
small farmhouse where travelers could be accommodated, and a few homes
of those who had bought land, comprised the village life. This freedom
from restraint was indeed new to one accustomed to the rush of busy life
in New York. Daily rides over the prairie on my pony were a delight.

It was wonderful how many cultured people drifted into the almost
unknown western country. It was not infrequent to see in humble sod
houses shelves filled with standard books and writings of the best
authors. This was the second wave of population, and though many things
had to be sacrificed that in the old life were considered necessary to
comfort, pioneer life had its happy features. One especially was the
kindly expression of helpfulness in time of sickness or sorrow. The
discomforts and self denials and the longing for dear ones far away grow
dim and faded! only memories of pleasant hours remain. Then came the
third wave of men and women settling all around, bringing fashion and
refining influences, and entertainment of various kinds. Churches,
elevators, banks, and business houses were built and Nance county began
to show the march of civilization and progress. Where first we knew the
flower-gemmed prairie, modern homes spring up and good roads follow the
trails of the Indian and the hunter.



    As I strolled alone, when the day had flown,
      Through the once Pawnee reserve,
    Where the memories keep of the brave asleep
      By the winding Cedar's curve--
    Methought the leaves of the old oak trees
      'Neath the sheltering hill-range spoke,
    And they said: "It's here that hearts knew no fear,
      Where arose the Pawnee smoke!

    "In the eventide, when all cares subside,
      Is the hour the tribe liked best;
    When the gold of day crossed the hills away,
      And, like those who tried, found rest.
    O'er this Lovers' Leap, where now shadows creep,
      Strode the chief, in thought, alone--
    And he said: 'Trees true, and all stars in view,
      And you very winds my own!

    "'I soon shall pass, like the blades of grass,
      Where the wandering shadows go;
    Only leaves will tell what my tribe did well--
      But you Hearts of Oak--you know!
    To those Hunting Grounds that are never found
      Shall my tribe, in time, depart;
    Then it will be you to tell who were true,
      With the dawn-song in their heart!

    "'You will sing a song, with the winds along,
      How the Pawnee loved these hills!
    Here he loved to stray, all the wind-glad day--
      In his heart the wind sings still!
    You will whisper, too, how he braved the Sioux,
      How life's days he did his part;
    Though not understood, how he wished but good,
      With but love within his heart!

    "'The White Father's call reaches us, and all
      To his South Wind land we fly,
    Yet we fain would stay with you hills alway--
      It is hard to say good-bye!
    You, our fatherland, we could once command,
      We are driven from, so fast;
    But you hills alway in our hearts will stay
      And be with us at the last!

    "'Here we took our stand for our fatherland,
      Here our sons to manhood grew;
    Here their loves were found, where these hills surround--
      Here the winds sang to them, too!
    By this Cedar's side, where the waters glide,
      We went forth to hunt and dream;
    Here we felt the spell of you oaks as well,
      And felt all that love may seem!

    "'Here we felt the pang of the hot wind tang,
      Here we felt the blizzard's breath;
    Here we faced the foe, as the stars all know--
      Here we saw the face of Death!
    Here we braved the wrath of the lightning's path,
      Here we dared starvation's worst;
    Here tonight we stand, for our fatherland,
      Banished from what was ours--first!

    "'Bravely we obey, and will go away;
      The White Father wills it so;
    But our thoughts will roam to this dawntime home
      Where our fathers sleep, below!
    And some shining day, beyond white men's sway,
      We will meet our long-lost own--
    Where you singing winds and the dawn begins,
      One will say, "Come in--come home!"

    "'Just beyond you hills, the Rest Land still
      Is waiting for us all;
    At earth's sunset hour One will wake each flower,
      And us home will softly call!
    Trees and stream, good-bye! Now our parting's nigh;
      Know you memory's sweet to me!
    Though our footsteps go, you may always know
      You've the heart of each Pawnee!'

    "As the chief passed by, stars filled the sky,
      And the moonlight softest fell--
    But the night winds said, 'Peace is overhead!'
      And the hills said, 'All is well!'"



In 1857 my brother, Charles A. Schooley, landed at Brownville and soon
after purchased several tracts of land near there, one being the old
home of Church Howe and adjoining the present site of the village of
Howe. Incidentally, my husband's father, N. G. Randall, three years
later purchased land within three miles--known later as Bedford.

In 1860, while my brother was visiting his old home, White Deer Valley,
near Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the smoldering flames of adventure were
kindled in my mind which nothing but a trip west could quench. On
March 1, 1861, we left Williamsport by train from Pittsburgh and on
arriving there went to the Monongahela hotel, then a magnificent
building. Abe Lincoln had just left the hotel, much to our
disappointment. After a few days we engaged passage on the _Argonaut_ to
St. Louis via the Monongahela, the Ohio, and the Mississippi rivers. Our
experiences were varied and exciting enough to meet my expectations.
During one night we stood tied to a tree and another night the pumps
were kept going to keep us from sinking. Small consolation we got from
the captain's remark that this was "the last trip for this old hulk." We
had ample time for seeing all the important cities along the
shore--Cincinnati, Louisville, etc.

Arriving at St. Louis we took passage on a new boat, _Sunshine_, and set
sail upstream. Perhaps we felt a few pangs of fear as we neared the real
pioneer life. We changed boats again at St. Joe and then our trip
continued, now up the treacherous Missouri. Every now and then we struck
a snag which sent the dishes scurrying from the table. I am reminded
that this trip was typical of our lives: floating downstream is easy but
upstream is where we strike the snags.

Of our valued acquaintances met on the trip were Rev. and Mrs. Barrette,
the former a Presbyterian minister coming to Brownville, and our
friendship continued after reaching our destination. Arriving in
Brownville, we went to the McPherson hotel, where we continued to hear
disturbing rumors about the coming civil war.

After a few days we took a carriage and went west ten miles over the
beautiful rolling prairies to our ranch. I was charmed with the scene,
which was vastly different from the mountains and narrow winding valleys
of Pennsylvania, and was determined to stay, though my brother had lost
his enthusiasm and gave me two weeks to change my mind. Many a homesick
spell I had when I would have very quickly returned to my father's home
of peace and plenty, but the danger of travel detained me. I assured my
brother that if he would only stay I would be very brave and economical.
I only wanted five small rooms plainly furnished and a horse and
carriage. When the place was ready we left Brownville in a big wagon,
drawn by oxen, and fortified by a load of provisions. When we came in
sight of our bungalow it proved to be a one-room, unpainted and
unplastered edifice, but I soon overcame that defect by the use of
curtains, and as all lived alike then, we were content with our
surroundings. Our first callers were three hundred Indians on an
expedition. I had been reading extensively about Indians, so knew when I
saw their squaws and papooses with them that they were friendly--in
fact, rather too familiar.

My brother fenced his land and planted it in corn and all kinds of
vegetables. The season being favorable there was an abundant crop, both
cultivated and wild. The timber abounded with grapes, plums, nuts, etc.,
and strawberries on the prairies. We had a well of fine water, a good
cellar or cave, and a genuine "creampot" cow. Instead of a carriage I
had a fine saddle horse (afterwards sold to a captain in the army), and
how we did gallop over the prairies! One of my escapades was to a
neighbor's home ten miles away for ripe tomatoes. In lieu of a sack we
tied together the neck and sleeves of a calico wrapper, filled it with
the tomatoes, then tied the bottom and balanced it astride the horse in
front of me. Going through the tall slough grass in one place near
Sheridan, now Auburn, the horse became frantic with heat and flies and
attempted to run away. The strings gave way and the tomatoes scattered.
Finally the saddle turned and the well-trained horse stopped. An
inventory revealed one sleeve full of tomatoes remaining.

Among our near neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Milo Gates and family, and
Mr. and Mrs. Engle. Mrs. Gates's cheerful optimism made this pioneer
life not only possible but enjoyable.

After five months, my brother joined the army and went south as a
captain; was several times promoted, and stayed all through the war. A
year after I went back to Brownville to stay until the war was over, and
there made many valued acquaintances: Senator Tipton's sister, Mrs.
Atkinson, Judge Wheeler, H. C. Lett, the McCrearys, Hackers, Whitneys,
Carsons, Dr. Guin, Furnas, Johnson, etc. About this time the citizens
gave a party for the boys who enlisted, and there I met E. J. Randall,
whom I married soon after he returned from the army. Of the four Randall
brothers who enlisted one was killed, one wounded, and one taken
prisoner. Two of them still live, Dr. H. L. Randall of Aurora,
forty-seven years a practicing physician in Nebraska and at one time
surgeon at the Soldiers' Home, Grand Island; and A. D. Randall of
Chapman, Nebraska, who enlisted at the age of sixteen and served all
through the war.

After a college course of four years my husband entered the ministry and
served for twenty-five years in Nebraska, except for one year of mission
work at Cheyenne, Wyoming. The itinerant life is not unlike the pioneer
life and brought with it the bitter and sweet as well, but the bitter
was soon forgotten and blessed memories remain of the dear friends
scattered all over the state of Nebraska, and indeed to the ends of the

Dr. Wharton said when paying his tribute to my departed husband, "He
still lives on in the lives of those to whom he has ministered." Our
children are Charles H. Randall of Los Angeles, California, member of
congress, and Mrs. Anna Randall Pope of Lincoln, Nebraska.



_Painting a Buffalo_

The following narrative of Albert Bierstadt's visit to what is now
Nuckolls county, Nebraska, was told to me by Mr. E. S. Comstock, a
pioneer of the county. Mr. Comstock made his first settlement in this
county at Oak Grove, in 1858, and was in charge of the Oak Grove ranch
when this incident took place.

In 1863 Mr. Bierstadt returned from the Pacific coast via the Overland
stage route, which was then conducted by Russell, Majors & Waddell, the
pioneer stage and pony expressmen of the plains. Arriving at Oak Grove
ranch, Mr. Bierstadt and his traveling companion, a Mr. Dunlap,
correspondent of the New York _Post_, decided to stop a few days and
have a buffalo hunt. In company with E. S. Comstock, his son George, and
a neighbor by the name of Eubanks, who was killed by the Indians the
next year, they proceeded to the Republican Valley and camped the first
night in the grove on Lost creek, now known as Lincoln Park. The
following morning the party proceeded up the river to the farm now owned
by Frank Schmeling. Here they discovered a large herd of buffalo grazing
along the creek to the west and covering the prairies to the north for
several miles. Mr. Comstock says that it was one of the largest herds of
buffalo he had ever encountered and that Mr. Bierstadt became greatly
excited and said, "Now, boys, is our time for fun. I want to see an
enraged wounded buffalo. I want to see him so mad that he will bellow
and tear up the ground." Mr. Comstock said they arranged for the affray:
Mr. Bierstadt was to take his position on a small knoll to the east of
the herd, fix himself with his easel so that he could sketch the
landscape and the grazing bison, and when this was done the wounding of
one of the buffalo bulls was to take place.

Bierstadt was stationed on a small knoll in plain view of the herd; Mr.
Eubanks was stationed in a draw near Bierstadt, in order to protect him
from the charges of the buffalo, if necessary. George Comstock was to
select a buffalo bull from the herd and wound him and then tantalize him
by shaking a red blanket at him until he was thoroughly enraged, then he
was to give him another wound from his rifle and lead out in the
direction of Mr. Bierstadt.

The wounded buffalo became furious and charged Comstock's horse
repeatedly, but Comstock, being an expert horseman, evaded the fierce
charges and was all the time coming nearer to Bierstadt. When within
about three hundred yards Comstock whirled his horse to the side of the
maddened monster. As a buffalo does not see well out of the side of his
eyes on account of the long shaggy hair about the face, Comstock was
lost to his view. The infuriated animal tossed his head high in air and
the only thing he saw was Bierstadt. Onward he rushed toward the artist,
pawing the ground and bellowing furiously. Bierstadt called for help and
took to his heels. The buffalo struck the easel and sent it in splinters
through the air. Onward he rushed after the fleeing artist, who was
making the best time of his life. Mr. Comstock said he was running so
fast that his coat tails stuck so straight out that you could have
played a game of euchre on them. The buffalo was gaining at every jump.

At this point in his story Mr. Comstock became greatly excited. He was
standing on the identical spot telling me the story, and was living the
exciting scene over again. "Why," he said, "I thought Eubanks never
would shoot. I was scared. The buffalo nearly had his horns under
Bierstadt's coat tail. He was snorting froth and blood all over him, but
the gun cracked and the buffalo fell and Bierstadt was so overcome he
fell at the same time entirely exhausted, but saved from a fearful
death." When he recovered sufficiently to talk, he said, "That's enough;
no more wounded buffalo for me." Mr. Bierstadt was several days
recovering from his fearful experience, but while he was recovering, he
was painting the picture. "Mr. Dunlap, the correspondent, wrote a
graphic and vivid pen picture of the exciting scene," said Mr. Comstock;
"but when Mr. Bierstadt finished his picture of the infuriated charging
buffalo and the chase, the pen picture was not in it."

This was the painting that brought Bierstadt into prominence as an
artist. It was exhibited at the first Chicago exhibition and was sold
for $75,000. I saw the picture in Chicago before I heard Mr. Comstock's
narrative, and as I was one of the owners of El Capitan Rancho, the
landscape of the famous painting, I fixed his story vividly upon my
memory. Mr. Mike Woerner now owns a portion of El Capitan Rancho, the
landscape of this famous painting. A portion of this original painting
is embraced in Mr. Bierstadt's masterpiece, "The Last of the Buffalo."

_An Indian Raid_

The settlement of the section now included in Nuckolls county was
attended with more privation and suffering from Indian raids and
depredations than any other county in the state of Nebraska. The great
Indian raids of August 7, 1864, extended from Denver, Colorado, to Gage
county, Nebraska, at which time every stage station and settlement along
the entire line of the Overland trail was included in that skilfully
planned attack. A certain number of warriors were assigned to each place
and the attack was simultaneous along the line for four hundred miles in

The Oak Grove ranch was among the most formidable in fortifications and
a band of forty well-armed braves was sent to capture and destroy it. On
the day of the attack G. S. Comstock, owner of Oak Grove ranch, was away
from home; but besides his family there were five men at the stockade.
The Indians came to the ranch about mid-day in a friendly attitude. They
had left their ponies about a quarter of a mile away. They asked for
something to eat and were permitted to come into the house with their
guns and bows and arrows on their persons. They finished their dinner
and each received a portion of tobacco and some matches. Then without
any warning they turned upon the inmates of the ranch yelling and
shooting like demons, and only for the quickness and great presence of
mind of one of the Comstock boys the whites would all have been killed
or taken away captives to submit to the cruelty of the savage foe.

A Mr. Kelly, from Beatrice, was there and was the first to fall pierced
with an arrow. He had a navy revolver in his belt. The Indians rushed
for it but young Comstock was too quick for them and seized the revolver
first and shot down the leader of the braves. Seeing the fate of their
leader, the Indians rushed to the door in great fright. The revolver was
in skilful hands and three more of the braves went down under the
unerring aim of young Comstock. Kelly and Butler were both killed
outright. Two men by the name of Ostrander and a boy were wounded. All
the other occupants of the ranch had their clothes pierced with arrows
or bullets.

The Indians ran to their ponies, and while they were away planning
another attack, the wounded were cared for as best they could. The doors
were securely barred and the living were stationed in the most
advantageous places for defense. The friendly game of the Indians had
not worked as they expected, but they were not daunted and soon they
encircled the house, riding, shooting, and yelling. This fiendish
warfare they kept up all the afternoon. They tried several times to set
the buildings on fire but shots from experienced marksmen, both men and
women, kept them at bay.

The new leader of the Indians rode a white pony and seemed at times to
work his warriors up to great desperation, and young Comstock made up
his mind to shoot him the next time that he appeared. It was now too
dark to distinguish one man from another. Mr. Comstock, senior, was
mounted on a white horse and he was enroute home about the time the
Indians were expected to return. The vigilant son raised his gun, took
aim, and was about to shoot, when one of the girls, remembering that her
father rode a white horse, called out, "Father, is it you?" An
affirmative answer came back just in time to prevent the fatal shot
which would have followed in an instant more. Mr. Comstock had ridden
through the Indian lines, while returning to his ranch, unmolested. He
said to me he believed the Indians spared his life that evening on
account of favors he had always granted them.

Five miles east of the Comstock ranch that day a boy eighteen years old
by the name of Ulig was met by two Indians. One of them shook hands with
him while the other pierced his body with a spear and then scalped him
and left him writhing in the broiling sun to die on the prairie. This
savage and brutal act was followed by others unparalleled even in savage
warfare. Four miles above Oak Grove at a place called the Narrows on the
Little Blue river, lived a family of ten persons by the name of Eubanks.
They were from the East and knew nothing of Indians' cruel warfare and
when they were attacked they left their cabin and ran for the trees and
brush along the river banks. Nine of them were murdered in the most
brutal manner: scalped and stripped of their clothing. Two of the women,
Mrs. Eubanks, with a young babe in her arms, and Laura Roper, a school
teacher who was there on a visit, were the only ones who arrived at a
place of concealment and would have escaped had not the babe from heat
and fright cried out. The practiced ear of the Indians caught the sound
and they were made captives and subjected to the most inhuman and
beastly treatment by the horrible savages. After the mother was made a
captive the baby cried from hunger. The mother was so famished she could
not nourish the babe but held it fondly in her arms trying to soothe it;
and one of the merciless savages stepped up and brained it with his
tomahawk. No pen or brush can tell the horrors of this diabolical deed.

The two women were subjected to six months of bondage impossible to
describe. I was telling this story one day to the late Captain Henry E.
Palmer of Omaha, and learned from him that he and his command of
soldiers and Pawnee scouts followed these inhuman wretches over the
plains trying to bring them to bay, and finally down on the Solomon
river in Kansas captured some of the Indian chiefs and succeeded in
exchanging them for the two women captives.

This is one of the terrible chapters in the early settlement of Nuckolls
county and was graphically detailed to me by Mr. Comstock soon after I
settled in the county.



(Read before the Nebraska State Historical Society, January 10, 1899)

Among all the glowing and glorious autumns of the forty-odd which I have
enjoyed in clear-skied Nebraska, the most delicious, dreamy, and
tranquil was that of 1861. The first day of October in that year
surpassed in purity of air, clouds, and coloring all the other October
days in my whole life. The prairies were not a somber brown, but a
gorgeous old-gold; and there drifted in the dry, crisp atmosphere
lace-like fragments of opalescent clouds which later in the afternoon
gave the horizon the look of a far-away ocean upon which one could see
fairy ships, and upon its farther-away shores splendid castles, their
minarets and towers tipped with gold. The indolence of savagery
saturated every inhalation, and all physical exertion except in the hunt
or chase seemed repellent, irksome, and unendurable.

Then it was that--like an evolution from environment--the desire and
impulse to go upon a buffalo hunt seized upon and held and encompassed
and dominated every fibre of my physical, every ambition and aspiration
of my mental, make-up. Controlled by this spontaneous reincarnation of
the barbaric tastes and habits of some nomadic ancestor of a prehistoric
generation, arrangements for an excursion to Fort Kearny on the Platte
(Colonel Alexander, of the regular army, then in command) were
completed. With food rations, tent and camping furniture, and arms and
ammunition, and pipes and tobacco, and a few drops of distilled rye (to
be used only when snake-bitten), a light one-horse wagon drawn by a
well-bred horse which was driven by the writer, was early the next
morning leaving Arbor Lodge, and briskly speeding westward on the
"Overland Trail" leading to California. And what rare roads there were
in those buoyant days of the pioneers! All the prairies, clear across
the plains from the Missouri river to the mountains, were perfectly
paved with solid, tough, but elastic sod. And no asphalt or block-paved
avenue or well-worked pike can give the responsive pressure to the touch
of a human foot or a horse-hoof that came always from those smooth and
comely trails. Especially in riding on horseback were the felicities of
those primitive prairie roads emphasized and accentuated. Upon them one
felt the magnetism and life of his horse; they animated and electrified
him with the vigor and spirit of the animal until in elation, the rider
became, at least emotionally, a centaur--a semi-horse human. The
invigoration and exaltation of careering over undulating prairies on a
beautiful, speedy, and spirited horse thrilled every sense and
satisfied, as to exhilaration, by physical exercise, the entire mental
personality. Nature's roads in Nebraska are unequaled by any of their

This excursion was in a wagon without springs; and after driving alone,
as far as the Weeping Water crossing, I overtook an ox train loaded with
goods and supplies for Gilman's ranch on the Platte away beyond Fort

One of the proprietors, Mr. Jed Gilman, was in command of the outfit,
and by his cordial and hospitable invitation I became his willing and
voracious guest for the noonday meal. With a township for a dining room
over which arched the turquoise-colored sky, like a vaulted ceiling,
frescoed with clouds of fleecy white, we sat down upon our buffalo robes
to partake of a hearty meal. There was no white settler within miles of
our camp. The cry of "Dinner is now ready in the next car" had never
been heard west of the Mississippi river nor even dreamed of in the
East. The bill of fare was substantial: bacon fried, hot bread, strong
coffee, stronger raw onions, and roasted potatoes. And the appetite
which made all exquisitely palatable and delicious descended to us out
of the pure air and the exhilaration of perfect health. And then came
the post-prandial pipe--how fragrant and solacing its fumes--from
Virginia natural leaf, compared to which the exhalations from a perfecto
cigar are today a disagreeable stench. There was then the leisure to
smoke, the liberty and impulse to sing, to whoop, and to generally
simulate the savages into whose hunting grounds we were making an
excursion. Life lengthened out before us like the Overland route to the
Pacific in undulations of continuously rising hillocks and from the
summit of each one scaled we saw a similarly attractive one beyond in a
seemingly never-ending pathway of pleasure, ambition, and satisfaction.
The gold of the Pacific coast was not more real then than the invisible
possibilities of life, prosperity, success, and contentment which were
to teem, thrive, and abound upon these prairies which seemed only farms
asleep or like thoughts unuttered--books unopened.

But the smoke over, the oxen again yoked to the wagons and the train,
like a file of huge white beetles, lumbered along to the songs,
swearing, and whip-crackings of the drivers toward the crossing of Salt
creek. However, by my persuasive insistence, Mr. Gilman left his wagon
boss in charge and getting into my wagon accompanied me. Together we
traveled briskly until quite late at night when we made camp at a point
near where the town of Wahoo now stands. There was a rough ranch cabin
there, and we remained until the following morning, when we struck out
at a brisk trot toward Fort Kearny, entering the Platte Valley at
McCabe's ranch. The day and the road were perfect. We made good time. At
night we were entertained at Warfield's, on the Platte. The water in the
well there was too highly flavored to be refreshing. Nine skunks had
been lifted out of it the day of our arrival and only Platte river water
could be had, which we found rather stale for having been hauled some
distance in an old sorghum cask. But fatigue and a square meal are an
innocent opiate and we were soon fast asleep under the open sky with the
moon and stars only to hear how loudly a big ranchman can snore in a
bedroom of a million or more acres. In the morning of our third day out,
we were up, breakfasted with the sunrise, and drove on over the then
untried railroad bed of the Platte Valley at a rattling gait. The stanch
and speedy animal over which the reins were drawn, a splendid bay of
gentle birth, had courage and endurance by heredity, and thus we made
time. Ranches were from twenty to thirty miles apart. And the night of
the third day found us at Mabin's.

This was a hotel, feed barn, dry goods establishment, and saloon all
under one roof, about thirty miles from Fort Kearny. After a reasonably
edible supper, Mr. Gilman and I were escorted to the saloon and informed
that we could repose and possibly sleep in the aisle which divided it
from the granary which was filled with oats. Our blankets and buffalo
robes were soon spread out in this narrow pathway. On our right were
about two hundred bushels of oats in bulk, and on our left the counter
which stood before variously shaped bottles containing alleged gin,
supposed whiskey, and probable brandy. We had not been long in a
recumbent position before--instead of sleep gently creeping over us--we
experienced that we were race courses and grazing grounds for
innumerable myriads of sand fleas. Immediately Gilman insisted that we
should change our apartment and go out on the prairies near a haystack;
but I stubbornly insisted that, as the fleas had not bitten me, I would
continue indoors. Thereupon Gilman incontinently left, and then the
fleas with vicious vigor and voracity assaulted me. The bites were
sharp, they were incisive and decisive. They came in volleys. Then in
wrath I too arose from that lowly but lively couch between the oats and
the bar and sullenly went out under the starlit sky to find Mr. Gilman
energetically whipping his shirt over a wagon wheel to disinfest it from
fleas. But the sand fleas of the Platte are not easily discharged or
diverted, from a fair and juicy victim. They have a wonderful tenacity
of purpose. They trotted and hopped and skipped along behind us to the
haystack. They affectionately and fervidly abided with us on the
prairie; and it is safe to say that there never were two human beings
more thoroughly perforated, more persistently punctured with flea bites
than were the two guests at Mabins's ranch during all that long and
agonizing night. However, there came an end to the darkness and the
attempt at sleep, and after an early breakfast we resumed the Fort
Kearny journey to arrive at its end in the late afternoon of the fourth

There I found Colonel Alexander, of the regular army, in command. John
Heth, of Virginia, was the sutler for the post and after some
consultation and advisement it was determined that we might without much
danger from Indians go south to the Republican river for a buffalo hunt.
At that time the Cheyennes, who were a bloodthirsty tribe, were in arms
against the white people and yearning for their scalps wherever found.
But to avoid or mitigate dangers Colonel Alexander considerately
detailed Lieutenant Bush with twelve enlisted men, all soldiers of
experience in the Indian country, to go with us to the Republican Valley
as an escort or guard--in military parlance, on detached service. Thus
our party moved southward with ample force of arms for its defense.

The four hunters of the expedition were Lieutenant Bush, John Heth, John
Talbot (who had been honorably discharged from the regular army after
some years of service) and myself. The excursion was massed and ready
for departure at 8 o'clock on the bright morning of October 6, 1861. The
course taken was nearly due south from the present site of Kearney city
in Buffalo county. The expedition consisted of two large army wagons,
four mules attached to each wagon, a light, two-horse spring wagon, and
four trained riding horses experienced in the chase, together with
twelve soldiers of the regular U. S. army and the gentlemen already
named. It had not traveled more than twenty-five miles south of Fort
Kearny before it came in view of an immense and seemingly uncountable
herd of buffalo.

My first sight of these primitive beeves of the plains I shall never
forget. They were so distant that I could not make out their individual
forms and I at once jumped to the conclusion that they were only an
innumerable lot of crows sitting about upon the knobs and hillocks of
the prairies. But in a few moments, when we came nearer, they
materialized and were, sure enough, real bellowing, snorting, wallowing
buffaloes. At first they appeared to give no heed to our outfit, but
after we saddled and mounted our horses and rode into their midst they
began to scatter and to form into small bands, single file. The herd
separated into long, black swaying strings and each string was headed by
the best meat among its numbers. The leading animal was generally a
three-year-old cow. Each of these strings, or single-file bands, ran in
a general southeast direction and each of the four hunters--Bush, Heth,
Talbot, and the writer--selected a string and went for the preëminent
animal with enthusiasm, zeal, and impulsive foolhardiness.

In the beginning of the pell-mell, hurry-scurry race it seemed that it
would be very easy to speedily overtake the desired individual buffalo
that we intended to shoot and kill. The whole band seemed to run
leisurely. They made a sort of sidewise gait, a movement such as one
often sees in a dog running ahead of a wagon on a country road. Upon the
level prairie we made very perceptible gains upon them, but when a
declivity was reached and we made a down hill gallop we were obliged to
rein in and hold up the horses, or take the chances of a broken leg or
neck by being ditched in a badger or wolf hole. But the buffaloes with
their heavy shoulders and huge hair-matted heads lumbered along down the
incline with great celerity, gaining so much upon us that every now and
then one of them would drop out from the line upon reaching an
attractive depression, roll over two or three times in his "wallow,"
jump up and join his fleeing fellows before we could reach him.

But finally after swinging and swaying hither and thither with the band
or line as it swayed and swung, the lead animal was reached and with
much exultation and six very nervous shots put to death. My trophy
proved to be a buffalo cow of two or three years of age; and after she
had dropped to the ground, a nimble calf, about three months old,
evidently her progeny, began making circles around and around the dead
mother and bleating pitifully, enlarging the circle each time, until at
last it went out of sight onto the prairie and alone, all the other
parts of the herd having scattered beyond the rising bluffs and far

That afternoon was fuller of tense excitement, savage enthusiasms, zeal
and barbaric ambition than any other that could be assorted from my life
of more than sixty years. There was a certain amount of ancestral
heathenism aroused in every man, spurring a horse to greater swiftness,
in that chase for large game. And there was imperial exultation of the
primitive barbaric instinct when the game fell dead and its whooping
captors surrounded its breathless carcass.

But the wastefulness of the buffalo hunter of those days was wicked
beyond description and, because of its utter recklessness of the future,
wholly unpardonable. Only the hump, ribs, the tongue, and perhaps now
and then one hind-quarter were saved for use from each animal. The
average number of pounds of meat saved from each buffalo killed between
the years 1860 and 1870 would not exceed twenty. In truth, thousands of
buffaloes were killed merely to get their tongues and pelts. The
inexcusable and unnecessary extermination of those beef-producing and
very valuable fur-bearing animals only illustrates the extravagance of
thoughtlessness and mental nearsightedness in the American people when
dealing with practical and far-reaching questions. It also demonstrates,
in some degree, the incapacity of the ordinary every-day law-makers of
the United States. Game laws have seldom been enacted in any of the
states before the virtual extinction of the game they purposed to
protect. Here in Nebraska among big game were many hundreds of
thousands of buffaloes, tens of thousands of elk and deer and antelope,
while among smaller game the wild turkey and the prairie chicken were
innumerable. But today Nebraska game is practically extinct. Even the
prairie chicken and the wild turkey are seldom found anywhere along the
Missouri bluffs in the southern and eastern part of the commonwealth.

Looking back: what might have been accomplished for the conservation of
game in the trans-Missouri country is suggested so forcibly that one
wonders at the stupendous stupidity which indolently permitted its

The first night outward and southeastward from Fort Kearny we came to
Turkey creek which empties into the Republican river. There, after dark,
tents were pitched at a point near the place where the government in
previous years established kilns and burned lime for the use of soldiers
in building quarters for themselves and the officers at Fort Kearny
which was constructed in 1847 by Stewart L. Van Vliet, now a retired
brigadier general and the oldest living graduate of West Point. After a
sumptuous feast of buffalo steak, a strong pint of black coffee and a
few pipes of good tobacco, our party retired; sleep came with celerity
and the camp was peacefully at rest, with the exception of two regular
soldiers who stood guard until 12 o'clock, and were then relieved by two
others who kept vigil until sunrise. At intervals I awoke during the
night and listened to the industrious beavers building dams on the
creek. They were shoveling mud with their trowel-shaped tails into the
crevices of their dams with a constantly-resounding slapping and
splashing all night. The architecture of the beaver is not unlike that
which follows him and exalts itself in the chinked and daubed cabins of
the pioneers.

The darkness was followed by a dawn of beauty and breakfast came soon
thereafter, and for the first time my eyes looked out upon the
attractive, fertile and beautiful valley of the Republican river. All
that delightful and invigorating day we zealously hunted. We found
occasionally small bands of buffaloes here and there among the bluffs
and hills along the valley of the Republican. But these animals were
generally aged and of inferior quality. Besides such hunting, we found a
great quantity of blue-winged and green-winged teal in the waters of
the Republican and bagged not a few of them. There is no water-fowl, in
my judgment, not even the redheaded duck and canvasback duck, which
excels in delicate tissue and flavor the delicious teal.

Just a little before sundown, on the third day of our encampment, by the
bluffs land of the Republican, Lieutenant Bush and Mr. Heth in one
party, and John Talbot and I in another, were exploring the steep,
wooded bluffs which skirted the valley. The timber growing at that time
on the sides of these bluffs was, much of it, of very good size and I
shall never forget going down a precipitous path along the face of a
hill and suddenly coming upon a strange and ghastly sight among the top
limbs and branches of an oak tree which sprang from the rich soil of a
lower level. The weird object which then impressed itself upon my memory
forever was a dead Indian sitting upright in a sort of wicker-work
coffin which was secured by thongs to the main trunk of the tree. The
robe with which he had been clothed had been torn away by buzzards and
only the denuded skeleton sat there. The bleached skull leered and
grinned at me as though the savage instinct to repulse an intruder from
their hunting grounds still lingered in the fleshless head. Perfectly I
recall the long scalp-lock, floating in the wind, and the sense of dread
and repellent fear which, for the startled moment, took possession of me
in the presence of this arboreally interred Indian whose remains had
been stored away in a tree-top instead of having been buried in the

Not long after this incident we four came together again down in the
valley at a great plum orchard. The plum trees covered an area of
several acres; they stood exceedingly close together. The frosts had
been just severe enough to drop the fruit onto the ground. Never before
nor since have my eyes beheld or my palate tasted as luscious fruit as
those large yellow and red plums which were found that afternoon lying
in bushels in the valley of the Republican. While we were all seated
upon the ground eating plums and praising their succulence and flavor we
heard the click-cluck of a turkey. Immediately we laid ourselves flat
upon the earth and in the course of ten minutes beheld a procession of
at least seventy-five wild turkeys feeding upon plums. We remained
moveless and noiseless until those turkeys had flown up into the tall
cottonwood trees standing thereabouts and gone to roost. Then after
darkness had settled down upon the face of the earth we faintly
discerned the black forms or hummocks of fat turkeys all through the
large and leafless limbs of the cottonwoods which had been nearly
defoliated by the early frosts of October. It required no deft
marksmanship or superior skill to bring down forty of those birds in a
single evening. That number we took into camp. In quick time we had
turkey roasted, turkey grilled, turkey broiled; and never have I since
eaten any turkey so well flavored, so juicy and rich, as that fattened
upon the wild plums of the Republican Valley in the year 1861.

At last, surfeited with hunting and its successes, we set out on our
return to Fort Kearny. When about half way across the divide, a
sergeant, one of the most experienced soldiers and plainsmen of the
party, declared that he saw a small curl of smoke in the hazy distance
and a little to the west and south of us. To my untrained eye the smoke
was at first invisible, but with a field glass I ultimately discerned a
delicate little blue thread hanging in the sky, which the soldiers
pronounced smoke ascending from an Indian camp. Readjusting the glasses
I soon made out to see three Indians stretched by the fire seemingly
asleep, while two were sitting by the embers apparently cooking, eating
and drinking. Very soon, however, the two feasters espied our wagons and
party. Immediately they came running on foot to meet us; the other
three, awaking, followed them; speedily they were in our midst. They
proved, however, to be peaceful Pawnees. Mr. John Heth spoke the
language of that tribe and I shall never forget the coolness with which
these representatives of that nomadic race informed him that Mrs. Heth
and his little two-years-of-age daughter, Minnie, were in good health in
their wigwam at Fort Kearny; they were sure of it because they had
looked into the window of the Heth home the day before and saw them
eating and drinking their noonday meal.

These Indians then expressed a wish for some turkey feathers. They were
told to help themselves. Immediately they pulled out a vast number of
the large feathers of the wings and tails and decorated their own heads
with them. The leader of the aboriginal expedition, in conversation with
Mr. Heth, informed him that although they were on foot they carried the
lariats which we saw hanging from their arms for the purpose of
hitching onto and annexing some Cheyenne ponies which they were going
south to steal. They walked away from home, but intended to ride back.
The barbaric commander in charge of this larcenous expedition was named
"The Fox," and when questioned by Mr. Heth as to the danger of the
enterprise, and informed that he might probably lose his life and get no
ponies at all, Captain Fox smiled and said grimly that he knew he should
ride back to the Pawnee village on the Loup the owner of good horses;
that only a year or two before that time he had been alone down into the
Cheyenne village and got a great many horses safely out and up onto the
Loup fork among the Pawnees without losing a single one. "The Fox"
admitted, however, that even in an expedition so successful as the one
which he recalled there were a great many courage-testing inconveniences
and annoyances. But he dwelt particularly upon the fact that the
Cheyennes always kept their ponies in a corral which was in the very
center of their village. The huts, habitations, tipis, and wigwams of
the owners of the ponies were all constructed around their communal
corral in a sort of a circle, but "The Fox" said that he nevertheless,
in his individual excursion of which he proudly boasted, crawled during
the middle of the night in among the ponies and was about to slip a
lariat on the bell-mare without her stirring, when she gave a little
jump, and the bell on her neck rang out pretty loudly. Then he laid down
in the center of the herd and kept still, very still, while the horses
walked over him and tramped upon him until he found it very unpleasant.
But very soon he saw and heard some of the Cheyennes come out and look
and walk about to see if anything was wrong. Then he said he had to stay
still and silent under the horses' hoofs and make no noise, or die and
surely be scalped. At last, however, the Cheyennes, one after another,
all went back into their wigwams to sleep, and then he very slowly and
without a sound took the bell off from the mare, put his lariat on her
neck quietly, led her out and all the herd of Cheyenne ponies followed.
He never stopped until he was safe up north of the Platte river and had
all his equine spoils safe in the valley of the Loup fork going towards
the Pawnee village where Genoa now stands.

The Fox was an "expansionist" and an annexationist out of sympathy for
the oppressed ponies of the Cheyennes.

"The Fox" declared that the number of horses he made requisition for at
that time on the stables of the Cheyennes was three hundred. At this
statement some incredulity was shown by Mr. Heth, myself, and some
others present. Immediately "The Fox" threw back his woolen blanket
which was ornamented on the inside with more than two hundred small
decorative designs of horses. Among the Pawnees, and likewise, if I
remember rightly, among the Otoes and Omahas, robes and blankets were
thus embellished and so made to pass current as real certificates of a
choice brand of character for their wearers. Each horse depicted on the
robe was notice that the owner and wearer had stolen such horse.
Finally, after expressions of friendship and good will, the expedition
in charge of "The Fox" bade us adieu and briskly walked southward on
their mission for getting horses away from their traditional enemies.

It is perhaps worth while to mention that, it being in the autumn of the
year, all these Indians were carefully and deftly arrayed in
autumn-colored costumes. Their blankets, head-gear and everything else
were the color of dead and dried prairie grass. This disguise was for
the purpose of making themselves as nearly indistinguishable as possible
on the brown surface of the far-stretching plains. For then the weeds
and grasses had all been bleached by the fall frosts. We were given an
exhibition of the nearly perfect invisibleness of "The Fox" by his
taking a position near a badger hole around which a lot of tall weeds
had grown upon the prairie, and really the almost exact similitude of
coloring which he had cunningly reproduced in his raiment made him even
at a short distance indistinguishable among the faded weeds and grasses
by which he was surrounded.

In due time we reached Fort Kearny and after a pleasant and most
agreeable visit with Mr. Heth and his family, Colonel Alexander and
Lieutenant Bush, I pushed on alone for the Missouri river, by the North
Platte route, bringing home with me two or three turkeys and a quarter
of buffalo meat.

About the second evening, as I remember it, I arrived at the agency of
the four bands of the Pawnee on the Loup fork of the Platte river, near
where the village of Genoa in Nance county now stands. Judge Gillis of
Pennsylvania was the U. S. government agent then in charge of that
tribe, and Mr. Allis was his interpreter. There I experienced the
satisfaction of going leisurely and observingly through the villages of
the four bands of Pawnees, which there made their habitation. The names
of the four confederate bands of Pawnee Indians were Grand Pawnee, Wolf
Pawnee, Republican Pawnee, and Tapage Pawnee. At that time they all
together numbered between four thousand and five thousand.

Distinguished among them for fearlessness and impetuous courage and
constant success in war was an Indian who had been born with his left
hand so shrunken and shriveled that it looked like the contracted claw
of a bird. He was celebrated among all the tribes of the plains as
"Crooked Hand, the Fighter." Hearing me express a wish for making the
acquaintance of this famous warrior and scalp accumulator, Judge Gillis
and Mr. Allis kindly volunteered to escort me to his domicile and
formally introduce me. We took the trail which lay across Beaver creek
up into the village. This village was composed of very large, earthen,
mound-like wigwams. From a distance they looked like a number of great
kettles turned wrong side up on the prairie. Finally we came to the
entrance of the abode of Crooked Hand. He was at home. I was presented
to him by the interpreter, Mr. Allis. Through him, addressing the tawny
hero who stood before me, I said:

It has come to my ears that you are and always have been a very brave
man in battle. Therefore I have made a long journey to see you and to
shake the hand of a great warrior.

This seemed to suit his bellicose eminence and to appeal to his barbaric
vanity. Consequently I continued, saying: I hear that you have skilfully
killed a great many Sioux and that you have kept the scalp of each
warrior slain by you. If this be true, I wish you would show me these
trophies of your courage and victories?

Immediately Crooked Hand reached under a sort of rude settee and pulled
out a very cheap traveling trunk, which was locked. Then taking a string
from around his neck he found the key thereunto attached, inserted it in
the lock, turned it, and with gloating satisfaction threw back the lid
of the trunk. It is fair to state that, notwithstanding Mr. Crooked
Hand's personal adornments in the way of paint, earrings, and battle
mementoes, he was evidently not a man of much personal property, for the
trunk contained not one other portable thing except a string of thirteen
scalps. This he lifted out with his right hand and held up before me as
a connoisseur would exhibit a beautiful cameo--with intense satisfaction
and self-praise expressed in his features.

The scalps were not large, averaging not much more in circumference than
a silver dollar (before the crime of 1873). Each scalp was big enough to
firmly and gracefully retain the scalp-lock which its original possessor
had nourished. Each scalp was neatly lined with flaming red flannel and
encircled by and stitched to a willow twig just as boys so stretch and
preserve squirrel skins. Then there was a strong twine which ran through
the center of each of the thirteen scalps leaving a space of something
like three or four inches between each two.

After looking at these ghastly certificates of prowess in Indian warfare
I said to the possessor: "Do you still like to go into fights with the
Sioux?" He replied hesitatingly:

"Yes, I go into the fights with the Sioux but I stay only until I can
kill one man, get his scalp and get out of the battle."

Then I asked: "Why do you do this way now, and so act differently from
the fighting plans of your earlier years when you remained to the end of
the conflict?" Instantly he replied and gave me this aboriginal

"You see, my friend, I have only one life. To me death must come only
once. But I have taken thirteen lives. And now when I go into battle
there are thirteen chances of my being killed to one of my coming out of
the fight alive."

This aboriginal application of the doctrine of chance is equally as
reasonable as some of the propositions relating to chances found in
"Hedges' Logic," which I studied in the regular college course. There is
more excuse for a savage faith in chance than can be made for the
superstitious belief in it which is held by some civilized people.

My last buffalo hunt was finished and its trophies and its choicest
memories safely stored for exhibition or reminiscence at Arbor Lodge.
More than thirty-seven years afterwards I am permitted this evening by
your indulgence and consideration to attempt faintly to portray the
country and its primitive condition at that time in that particular
section of Nebraska which is now Franklin county.

But in concluding this discursive and desultory narrative I cannot
refrain from referring to and briefly descanting on another and an
earlier and larger expedition into the valley of the Republican which
set out from Mexico in the year 1540 under the command of Coronado.

That explorer was undoubtedly the first white man to visit Nebraska. In
his report to the Spanish government is a description of buffalo which
for graphic minuteness and correctness has never been excelled. Thus it
pictures them as they appeared to him and his followers more than three
hundred and fifty years ago:

"These oxen are of the bigness and color of our bulls, but their horns
are not so great. They have a great bunch upon their foreshoulders, and
more hair upon their fore-part than on their hinder-part; and it is like
wool. They have, as it were, a horse mane upon their back bone, and much
hair, and very long from the knees downward. They have great tufts of
hair hanging down their foreheads, and it seemeth they have beards,
because of the great store of hair hanging down at their chins and
throats. The males have very long tails, and a great knob or flock at
the end, so that in some respects they resemble the lion, and in some
other the camel. They push with their horns, they run, they overtake and
kill a horse when they are in their rage and anger. Finally, it is a
fierce beast of countenance and form of body. The horses fled from them,
either because of their deformed shape, or because they had never seen
them before. Their masters [meaning no doubt the Indians] have no other
riches or substance; of them they eat, they drink, they apparel, they
shoe themselves; and of their hides they make many things, as houses,
shoes, apparel and robes; of their bones they make bodkins; of their
sinews and hair, thread; of their horns, maws and bladders, vessels; of
their dung, fire; and of their calf skins, budgets, wherein they draw
and keep water. To be short, they make so many things of them as they
have need of, or as may suffice them in the use of this life."

It is perhaps a work of supererogation for me after the lapse of three
and a half centuries to endorse and verify the accuracy of that word
picture of the buffalo. A photograph of the great herd which I rode
into during my hunt could hardly better convey to the mind the images of
buffalo. The hundreds of years intervening between my own excursion into
the valley of the Republican and the invasion of Coronado had neither
impaired, improved, nor perceptibly changed either the buffalo or the
soil of that fertile section now comprising the county of Franklin in
the state of Nebraska. Of that immediate propinquity Coronado said: "The
place I have reached is in the fortieth degree of latitude. The earth is
the best possible for all kinds of productions of Spain, for while it is
very strong and black, it is very well watered by brooks, springs and
rivers. I found prunes" [wild plums, no doubt, just as my party and the
wild turkeys were feasting upon in October, 1861] "like those of Spain,
some of which are black; also some excellent grapes and mulberries."

And Jaramillo, who was with Coronado, says: "This country has a superb
appearance, and such that I have not seen better in all Spain, neither
in Italy nor France, nor in any other country where I have been in the
service of your majesty. It is not a country of mountains; there are
only some hills, some plains and some streams of very fine water. It
satisfies me completely. I presume that it is very fertile and favorable
for the cultivation of all kinds of fruits."

And this land whence the Coronado expedition upon foot retraced its
march to Old Mexico, a distance, by the trail he made, of 3,230 miles,
was in latitude forty degrees and distant westward from the Missouri
about one hundred and forty miles. Geographically, topographically, and
in every other way, the description of Franklin and the neighborhood of
Riverton in that county.

Here then in Franklin county it is recorded that the last horse
belonging to Coronado and his band of precious-metal hunters died. At
that time all the horses on this continent had been imported. The loss
of this animal that day at that place was like the loss today of a
man-of-war for Spain in a great naval conflict with the United States.
It was discouraging and overwhelming and resulted in the relinquishment
of further exploration for the land of Quivera--the home of gold and
silver--and the return to Old Mexico. There was no use for saddles,
bridles and other equestrian trappings, for with no horse to ride even
stirrups were thrown away, and it has been the good fortune of Nebraska
to have them exhumed after a sequestration of more than three centuries.

And thus, after so many years of delay, I give you the story of the
first buffalo hunt and the last buffalo hunt in the Republican Valley
concerning which I am competent to make statement.



     "The memories that live and bloom in trees, that whisper of the
     loved and lost in summer leaves, are as imperishable as the seasons
     of the year--immortal as the love of a mother."--J. STERLING

I suppose the story of a successful pioneer will always interest and
encourage people. The narrative of a strong, far-sighted man who makes
something out of nothing seems to put heart into the average worker.
That is why I am telling the story of how my father, J. Sterling Morton,
and his young wife, set their faces toward the West, one October day in
1854, and built them a home on the prairies.

Arbor Lodge as it stands today, with its classic porticoes, its gardens,
and its arboretum, the present country home of my brother, Mr. Joy
Morton, is not the home that I remember as a boy. That was a much more
modest edifice. Yet even that house was a palace compared with the first
one, which was a little log-cabin standing on the lonely prairie,
exposed to blizzards and Indians, and with scarcely a tree in sight.

My father was a young newspaper man in Detroit, only recently out of
college, when he took his bride, two years his junior, out to the
little-known frontier. Attracted by the information about the new
country brought out by Douglas and others in the Kansas-Nebraska debates
in congress, he conceived and acted on the idea that here were fortunes
to be made. Taking such household goods as they could, they traveled to
the new land, making the last stage up the Missouri river by boat.

Nebraska at that time was the Indian's own country. There were not over
1,500 white people in the entire state. All the country west of the
Missouri was called in the geographies the Great American Desert, and it
took a good deal of faith to believe that anything could be made to grow
where annual fires destroyed even the prairie grass and the fringes of
cottonwoods and scrub-oaks along the rivers. Today this section, within
a radius of some two hundred miles, includes perhaps the most fertile
soil in the world and has become a center of industry, agriculture, and
horticulture for the middle west. There was then no political
organization, no laws; men went about fully armed. There were no roads
and no bridges to speak of in the entire state; it was "waste land."

This was part of the land of the Louisiana Purchase, and my father
bought a quarter section (160 acres) from the man who preëmpted it from
the government. The price paid was $1.25 an acre. Today the estate
comprises about 1,000 acres, and the land is readily saleable at a
hundred times this price.

On the spot where Arbor Lodge now stands, my father built his first
log-cabin. This was soon replaced by a modest frame house; there was not
then another frame house between it and the Rocky Mountains, six hundred
miles away. On the same place two succeeding houses were built by my
father, the present, and fifth, Arbor Lodge having been built by his
sons after his death. My father called these first four houses, "seed,
bud, blossom, and fruit."

The first winter was a mild one, fortunately, but there were plenty of
hardships for the young people. There were no very near neighbors, the
village of Kearny Heights, now Nebraska City, being then over two miles
away. The Indians formed the greatest danger. I can remember a day in my
boyhood when we had everything packed up, ready to flee across the
Missouri to Iowa from the murderous Pawnees and Cheyennes, who,
fortunately, did not come that time. A part of that first winter my
father and mother spent in Bellevue.

When spring came they set about building their home. Later on they had
young trees sent to them from the East, including some excellent
varieties of apples, peaches, cherries, pears, etc. Things grew fast; it
was only the prairie fires that had kept the land a desert so long, and
year by year these fires had enriched the soil.

The farm was located on the Overland trail, the favorite route to Pike's
Peak and the El Dorado. Many of the Mormon emigrants crossed the river
at that place. I can remember the big trains of ox and mule teams
passing the house.

My father's interests were always inseparably joined with those of the
community; he was in public life from the start, and Nebraska's fortunes
were his. His neighbors all had the same experiences, and many a farmer
who started with nothing is now wealthy. The farmers had to bring in
from Missouri and Iowa all the food for themselves and their horses and
cattle the first year. They were living on faith. During the first
spring and summer the anxiety was great, but they were rewarded by a
good harvest in the fall. The success of that harvest settled the
Nebraska question forever. It was a land that could support its

But the end was not yet. The "get-rich-quick" fever struck the
community. Immigration was over-stimulated, and town lots were
manufactured at a great rate. In a few months they increased in price
from $300 to $3,000 apiece. Banks were created and money was made plenty
by legislation. My father never caught this fever, being always a
sound-money man and believing in wealth based on the soil.

At the end of the second summer the crop of town lots and Nebraska
bank-notes was greater than the crop of corn. But the lesson was not
learned until the panic of 1857 drove out the speculators and left the
farmers in possession of the territory. With the spring of 1858 sanity
came to rule once more, and there was less bank making and more prairie
breaking. The citizens had learned that agriculture was to be the
salvation of the new country. In 1857, two dollars a bushel had been
paid for imported corn, but in 1859 the same steamers that had brought
it in bore thousands of bushels south at forty cents a bushel, bringing
more money into the territory than all the sales of town lots for a

The first territorial fair was held in Nebraska City in 1859, and on
that occasion my father made a speech in which he reviewed the history
of the new territory up to that time. I speak of these things because my
father was always a man of public interests, and his fortunes were
wrapped up in those of the territory. His hardships came when the
community went crazy, and his fortune grew when sanity was once more

I know of nothing that better illustrates my father's private character
than an editorial which he wrote and published in _The Conservative_ a
short time before the untimely death of my brother Carl. The fact that
both the author and the two loved ones of whom he so tenderly wrote have
passed to the Great Beyond, imparts to this beautiful passage a most
exquisite pathos:

"It was a bright, balmy morning in April more than a quarter of a
century ago. The sun was nursing the young grass into verdure, and the
prairie was just beginning to put off its winter coat of somber
colorings. Tranquil skies and morning mists were redolent at Arbor Lodge
of the coming resurrection of the foliage and flowers that died the
autumn before. All about the cottage home there was hope and peace; and
everywhere the signs of woman's watchful love and tidy care, when,
suddenly, toned with affectionate solicitude, rang out: 'Carl, Carl!'
but no answer came. Downstairs, upstairs, at the barn, even in the well,
everywhere, the mother's voice called anxiously, again and again. But
the silence, menacing and frightening, was unbroken by an answer from
the lost boy. At last, however, he was found behind a smokehouse, busily
digging in the ground with a small spade, though only five years of age,
and he said: 'I'm too busy to talk. I'm planting an orchard,' and sure
enough, he had set out a seedling apple tree, a small cottonwood, and a
little elm.

"The delighted mother clasped him in her arms, kissed him, and said:
'This orchard must not be destroyed.'

"And so now

    "'I hear the muffled tramp of years
      Come stealing up the slopes of Time;
    They bear a train of smiles and tears
      Of burning hopes and dreams sublime.'

"The child's orchard is more than thirty years of age. The cottonwood is
a giant now, and its vibrant foliage talks, summer after summer, in the
evening breeze with humanlike voice, and tells its life story to the
graceful, swaying elm near by, while the gnarled and scrubby little
apple tree, shaped, as to its head, like a despondent toadstool, stands
in dual shade, and bears small sweet apples, year after year, in all
humility. But that orchard must not be destroyed. It was established by
the youngest tree planter who ever planted in this tree planter's
state, and for his sake and the memory of the sweet soul who nursed and
loved him, it lives and grows, one cottonwood, one apple tree, one elm.

    "'But O, for the touch of a vanished hand,
    And the sound of a voice that is still.'

"The memories that live and bloom in trees, that whisper of the loved
and lost in summer leaves, are as imperishable as the seasons of the
year--immortal as the love of a mother."



_Social Aspects_

As a girl graduate I came to Nebraska City from Virginia, at an early
day. It seemed to me that I was leaving everything attractive socially
and intellectually, behind me, but I was mistaken. On arriving here, I
expected to see quite a town, was disappointed, for two large brick
hotels, and a few scattered houses comprised the place. Among my first
acquaintances was the family of Governor Black, consisting of his
daughter about my own age, his wife, and himself. He was not only bright
and clever, but a wit as well, and famous as a story-teller. Alas a sad
fate awaited him. For leaving here to take command of a Pennsylvania
regiment, he was killed early in the civil war.

Those were freighting days and Russell, Majors and Waddell, government
freighters, made this their headquarters. Alexander Majors brought his
family here adding much socially to the town. Major Martin, an army
officer, was stationed here. He was a charming gentleman and had a
lovely wife. Dancing was the principal amusement with the young people.
Informal dances at private homes and occasionally on a steamboat when it
arrived, brilliantly lighted and having a band of music on board. At the
"Outfit" as it was called, where the supplies for the freighting company
were kept, dwelt a family, Raisin by name, who were exceedingly
hospitable, not only entertaining frequently, but often sending an
ambulance for their guests. At these parties no round dancing was
indulged in, just simple quadrilles and the lancers. Mr. and Mrs. J.
Sterling Morton, who lived on a country place, a short distance from
town, which has since become widely known as Arbor Lodge, were among the
most active entertainers, dispensing that delightful hospitality for
which in later times they were so well known.

And so we lived without railroads, without telephones, automobiles, or
theaters. But I believe that our social enjoyment was greater than it is
now. Instead of railroads, we had steamboats arriving almost daily
from St. Louis, St. Joseph, and other towns. In carriages we drove to
Omaha and back, and the social intercourse of the two towns was much
greater than it is now.


Dedicated May 12, 1914. Cost $350. Trail crosses state line 1,986 feet
east, and crosses Jefferson-Gage county line 2,286 feet north of this
point. Erected by the citizens of Gage and Jefferson counties, Nebraska,
Washington county, Kansas, and Elizabeth Montague Chapter, Daughters of
the American Revolution]

Amateur theatricals took the place of the theater, and often brilliant,
undreamed of talent was shown. Literature also was not neglected, many
highly educated men and women were among our pioneers and literary
societies were a prominent part of our social life. We played chess in
those days, but not cards. This alone might be taken as an index of how
much less frivolous that day was than the present.

In 1860 Bishop Talbot arrived here from Indianapolis and made this his
home, adding greatly socially and intellectually to the life of the
community. In his family was the Rev. Isaac Hager, beloved and revered
by all who knew him, a most thorough musician, as well as a fine

Remembering old times we sometimes ask ourselves, where now are the men
and women, equal to the ones we knew in those days, certainly there are
none superior to them, in intellect, manners, wit, and true nobility.

    "Oh brave hearts journeyed to the west,
    When this old town was new!"



My father and family came to Nebraska in 1858, living two years at
Genoa. At this time the government assigned what is now Nance county, to
the Pawnee Indians, as a reservation. When the white settlers sought
other homes our family located eight miles east of Columbus, at
McAllister's lake. Every fall my father hired about sixty squaws to husk
out his crop of corn. Only one buck ever came to work, and he was always
known as "Squaw Charlie" after that. He spoke English quite well. They
were slow workers, husking about twenty bushels per day. They were very
gluttonous at meals, eating much bread, with meat soup containing
potatoes and other vegetables, cooked in large twenty gallon camp
kettles. This was supplemented by watermelons by the wagonload. It
required a week or ten days to harvest the corn crop. The Indians were
very thievish, stealing almost as much as their wages amounted to.
During these years I often witnessed their "Medicine Dances."

When fifteen years old I enlisted in Company B, Second Nebraska Cavalry,
and went to Fort Kearny. Our company relieved the Tenth Infantry, which
went to the front. In less than twenty days this company was nearly
annihilated at the battle of Fredericksburg.

While at the fort a buffalo hunt was organized by the officers, and I
had an opportunity to go. Our party went south to the valley of the
Republican. The first night we camped at the head of the Big Blue, and
the second day I noticed south of us, about eight miles distant, a dark
line along the horizon extending as far east and west as the eye could
reach. I inquired what it was and an old hunter replied "buffaloes." I
could not believe him, but in a few hours found he was right, for we
were surrounded by millions of them. They were hurrying to the east with
a roaring like distant thunder. Our sportsmen moved in a body through
the herd looking for calves, not caring to carry back the meat of the
old specimens. Strange to say this tremendous herd seemed to be
composed of males, for the cows were still on the Oklahoma ranges caring
for their calves, until strong enough to tramp north again. We noticed
an old fellow making good progress on three legs, one foot having been
injured. One of the party wished to dispose of him, but his wooly
forehead covered with sand, turned every bullet. Finally the hunter
asked me to attract his attention, while he placed a bullet in his
heart. In doing this, he almost succeeded in goring my pony, but I
turned a second too quickly for him. I was near enough to see the fire
flashing from his angry eyes. In a few minutes he fell with a thud.

Several years after the war being over, I worked for the Union Pacific
railroad company. At Kearney, in 1869, we met the Buck surveying party,
who had come west to lay out, for the government, the lands of the
Republican Valley. In this company was a young man from Pontiac,
Illinois, named Harry McGregor. He left a home of plenty to hunt buffalo
and Indians, but found among other privations, he could not have all the
sugar he wished, so at Kearney he decided to leave the party and work
with us. This decision saved his life, for the rest of the surveyors,
about ten in all, after starting south next morning, were never seen
again. They were surprised and killed by the Indians. Their skeletons
were found several years later, bleaching on the Nebraska prairie.



A party under the direction of Major Frank North set out with six wagon
teams and four buffalo horses on November 13, 1871, to engage in a
buffalo hunt. The other men were Luther North, C. Stanley, Hopkins
Brown, Charles Freeman, W. E. Freeman, W. E. Freeman, Jr., and Messrs.
Bonesteel, Wasson, and Cook. They camped the first night at James
Cushing's ranch, eighteen miles out; the second night at Jason Parker's
home at Lone Tree, now Central City, and the third night arrived at
Grand Island. On the way to Grand Island one of the party accidentally
started a prairie fire six miles east of Grand Island. A hard fight was
made and the flames subdued just in time to save a settler's stable.

Leaving Grand Island on the sixteenth they crossed the Platte river and
camped on the West Blue. From this point in the journey the party
suffered incredible hardships until their return.

About midnight the wind changed to the north, bringing rain and sleet,
and inside of an hour a blizzard was raging on the open prairie. The
horses were covered with snow and ice and there was no fuel for the
fires. The men went out as far as they dared to go for wood, being
unsuccessful. It was decided to try to follow the Indian trail
south--made by the Pawnee scouts under Major North. Little progress
could be made and they soon "struck camp" near some willows that
afforded a little protection to their horses and a "windbreak" was made
for man and beast. This camp was at the head of the Big Sandy, called by
this party the "Big Smoky" for the men suffered agonies from the smoke
in the little tipi.

For two days the storm continued in all its terrible force. The wind
blew and the air was so full of snow that it was blinding. The cold was
intense. The men finally determined to find some habitation at any price
and in groups of two and three left camp following the creek where they
were sure some one had settled. A sod house was found occupied by two
English families who received the party most hospitably. Charles
Freeman, older than the other men of the party, suffered a collapse and
remained at this home. During the night the storm abated and next
morning, finding all the ravines choked with heavy snow drifts, it was
decided by vote to abandon the hunt. They dug out their belongings from
under many feet of snow, sold their corn to the English families to
lighten their load and started back. The journey home was full of
accidents, bad roads, and drifted ravines. Reaching the Union Pacific
railroad at Grand Island Major North and Mr. Bonesteel returned to
Columbus by rail, also Mr. Stanley from Lone Tree. The rest of the party
returned by team, arriving on November 24.

Major North admitted that of all his experiences on the prairie--not
excepting his years with the Pawnee scouts--this "beat them all" as
hazardous and perplexing.

The foregoing is taken from my father's diary.



It is almost impossible for people of the present day to realize the
hardships and privations that the first settlers in Nebraska underwent.
Imagine coming to a place where there was nothing but what you had
brought with you in wagons. Add to the discomfort of being without
things which in your former home had seemed necessities, the pests which
abound in a new country: the rattlesnake, the coyote, the skunk, the
weasel, and last--but not least--the flea.

My father, Samuel C. Smith, held the post of "trader" for the Pawnee
Indians under Major Wheeler in 1865-66. We lived in a house provided by
the government, near the Indian school at Genoa, or "The Reservation,"
as it was commonly called. I was only a few weeks old, and in order to
keep me away from the fleas, a torture to everyone, they kept me in a
shallow basket of Indian weave, suspended from the ceiling by broad
bands of webbing, far enough from the floor and wall to insure safety.

I have heard my mother tell of how the Indians would walk right into the
house without knocking, or press their faces against a window and peer
in. They were usually respectful; they simply knew no better. Sometimes
in cold weather three or four big men would walk into the kitchen and
insist upon staying by the fire, and mother would have hard work to
drive them out.

The next year my father moved his family to a homestead two miles east
of Genoa where he had built a large log house and stables surrounded by
a high tight fence, which was built for protection against the
unfriendly Indians who frequently came to make war on the Pawnees. The
government at times kept a company of soldiers stationed just north of
us, and when there would be an "Indian scare," the officers' wives as
well as our few neighbors would come to our place for safety. Major
Noyes was at one time stationed there. Firearms of all sorts were
always kept handy, and my mother could use them as skilfully as my

One night my father's barn was robbed of eight horses by the Sioux and
the same band took ten head from Mr. Gerrard, who lived four miles east
of us. E. A. Gerrard, Luther North, and my father followed their trail
to the Missouri river opposite Yankton, South Dakota, and did not see a
white man while they were gone. They did not recover the horses, but
twenty years after the government paid the original cost of the horses
without interest. The loss of these horses and the accidental death of a
brother of mine so discouraged my father that he moved to Columbus in

One of the delights of my childhood were the nights in early autumn when
all the neighborhood would go out to burn the grass from the prairie
north of us for protection against "prairie fires," as great a foe as
was the unfriendly Indian of a few years before.

In the summer of 1874, which in Nebraska history is known as "the
grasshopper year," my grandmother, Mrs. William Boone, accompanied by
her daughter, Mrs. Mary Hemphill, and granddaughter, Ada Hemphill, came
to make us a visit. For their entertainment we drove in a three-seated
platform spring wagon or carryall to see the Indians in their village
near Genoa. Their lodges were made of earth in a circular form with a
long narrow entrance extending out like the handle of a frying pan. As
we neared the village we came upon an ordinary looking Indian walking in
the road, and to our surprise my father greeted him very cordially and
introduced him to us. It was Petalesharo, chief of the Pawnees, but
without the feathers and war-paint that I imagined a chief would always
wear. He invited us to his lodge and we drove to the entrance, but my
grandmother and aunt could not be persuaded to leave the surrey. My
cousin, being more venturesome, started in with my father, but had gone
only a few steps when she gathered up her skirts and cried, "Oh, look at
the fleas! Just see them hop!" and came running back to the rig,
assuring us she had seen enough. The Indians must have taken the fleas
with them when they moved to Oklahoma, for we seldom see one now.



In the early history of the county, county warrants were thicker than
the leaves on the trees (for trees were scarce then), and of money in
the pockets of most people there was none. Those were the days when that
genial plutocrat, William H. Waters, relieved the necessities of the
needy by buying up county warrants for seventy-five cents on the dollar.
Don't understand this as a reflection on the benevolent intentions of
Mr. Waters, for he paid as high a price as anybody else offered; I
mention it only to illustrate the financial condition of the people and
the body politic.

Henry Mahan was postmaster and general merchant. The combined postoffice
and store which, with a blacksmith shop, constituted the business part
of the town of Osceola, was located on the west side of the square. It
was a one and one-half story frame and on the second floor was _The
Homesteader_ (now the Osceola _Record_). Here H. T. Arnold, W. F.
Kimmel, Frank Burgess, the writer, and Stephen Fleharty exercised their
gray matter by grinding out of their exuberant and sometimes lurid
imaginations original local items and weighty editorials. In those days
if a top buggy was seen out on the open, treeless prairie, the entire
business population turned out to watch it and soon there were bets as
to whether it came from Columbus or Seward, for then there was not a top
buggy in Polk county. The first drug store was opened by John Beltzer, a
country blacksmith who suddenly blossomed from the anvil into a
full-fledged pharmacist. Doctor Stone compounded the important
prescriptions for a while.

I need not try to describe the grasshopper raid of 1874 for the
old-timers remember it and I could not picture the tragedy so that
others could see it. To see the sun's rays dimmed by the flying agents
of destruction; to witness the disappearance of every vestige of green
vegetation--the result of a year's labor, which was to most of the
inhabitants the only resource against actual want, to see this I say,
one must live through it. Many of the early settlers were young people
newly married, who had left their homes in the East with all their
earthly possessions in a covered wagon, or "prairie schooner" as it was
called, and making the trip overland, had landed with barely enough
money to exist until the first crop was harvested. Added to the loss and
privation entailed by the visitation of the winged host was the constant
dread that the next season would bring a like scourge.

On Sunday afternoon, April 13, 1873, I left the farm home of James Bell
in Valley precinct for Columbus, expecting to take the train there
Monday morning for Omaha. The season was well advanced, the treeless
prairie being covered with verdure. It was a balmy sunshiny spring day,
as nearly ideal as even Nebraska can produce.

As I left the Clother hotel that evening to attend the Congregational
church I noticed that the clouds were banking heavily in the northwest.
There was a roll of distant thunder, a flash of lightning, and a series
of gentle spring showers followed and it was raining when I went to bed
at my hotel. Next morning when I looked out of my window I could not see
half-way across the street. The wind was blowing a gale, which drove
large masses of large, heavy snow-flakes southward. Already where
obstructions were met the huge drifts were forming. This continued
without cessation of either snow or wind all day Monday and until late
Tuesday night. Wednesday about noon the snow plow came, followed by the
Monday train, which I boarded for Omaha. As the train neared Fremont I
could see the green knolls peeping up through the snow, and at Omaha the
snow had disappeared. There they had had mainly rain instead of snow. I
may say that the storm area was not over two hundred miles wide with
Clarks as about the center, the volume gradually diminishing each way
from that point. It should be borne in mind that the farmers raised
mainly spring wheat and oats. These grains had been sown several weeks
before the storm and were all up, but the storm did not injure them in
the least.

On leaving Omaha a few days later I went to Grand Island. At Gardner's
Siding, between Columbus and Clarks, a creek passed under the track.
This had filled bank high with snow which now melting, formed a lake.
The track being bad the train ran so slowly that I had time to count
fifty floating carcasses of cattle upon the surface of the water. This
was the fate of many thousands of head of stock.

Nobody dared to venture out into that storm for no human being could
face it and live. The great flakes driven by a fifty-mile gale would
soon plaster shut eyes, nose and mouth--in fact, so swift was the gale
that no headway could be made against it.

In those days merchants hauled their goods from Columbus or Seward and
all the grain marketed went to the same points. Wheat only was hauled,
corn being used for feed or fuel.

A trip to Columbus and return the same day meant something. A start
while the stars still twinkled; the mercury ten, twenty, or even thirty
degrees below, was not a pleasure trip, to the driver on a load of
wheat. But the driver was soon compelled to drop from the seat, and
trudge along slapping his hands and arms against his body to keep from
freezing. Leaving home at three or four o'clock in the morning he was
lucky if he got home again, half frozen and very weary, several hours
after dark. Speaking of exposure to wintry blasts, reminds me of a trip
on foot I made shortly after my arrival in Polk county. December 24,
1872, I started to walk from the Milsap neighborhood in Hamilton county,
several miles west of where Polk now stands, to the home of William
Stevens, near the schoolhouse of District No. 5. It was a clear, bitter
cold morning, the wind blowing strongly from the northwest, the ground
coated with a hard crust of snow. I kept my bearings as best I could,
for it should be remembered that there were no roads or landmarks and I
was traveling purely by guess. Along about mid-day I stumbled upon a
little dugout, somewhere north of where Stromsburg now stands--the first
house I had seen. On entering I found a young couple who smiled me a
welcome, which was the best they could do, for, as I saw from the
inscriptions on a couple of boxes, they were recent arrivals from
Sweden. The young lady gave me some coffee and rusks, and I am bound to
say that I never tasted better food than that coffee and those rusks. I
did not see another house until I reached the bluffs, where, about
sunset, I was gladdened by the sight of the Stevens house in the valley,
a couple of miles distant. When I finally reached this hospitable home
the fingers of both hands were frozen and my nose and ears badly

In the early days we traveled from point to point by the nearest and
most direct route, for while the land was being rapidly taken up, there
were no section line roads. Whenever the contour of the land permitted,
we angled, being careful to avoid the patches of cultivated land. There
were no trees, no fences, and very few buildings, so, on the level
prairie, nothing obstructed the view as far as the eye could carry. The
sod houses and stables were a godsend, for lumber was very expensive and
most of the settlers brought with them lean purses. It required no
high-priced, skilled labor to build a "soddy," and properly built they
were quite comfortable.

When I grow reminiscent and allow my mind to go back to those pioneer
days, the span of time between then and now seems very brief, but when I
think longer and compare the _then_ with the _now_, it seems as though
that sod house-treeless-ox driving period must have been at least one
hundred years ago. It is a far cry from the ox team to the automobile.



In March, 1865, my husband, George Roy, and I started from our home in
Avon, Illinois, to Nebraska territory. The railroad extended to St.
Joseph, Missouri. There they told us we would have to take a steamboat
up the Missouri river to Rulo, forty miles from St. Joseph. We took
passage on a small steamboat, but the ice was breaking up and the boat
ran only four miles up the river. They said it was too dangerous to go
farther so told us we would have to go back or land and get some one to
drive us to Rulo, or the Missouri side of the river across from Rulo. We
decided to land, and hired a man to drive us across country in an old
wagon. It was very cold and when we reached the place where we would
have to cross the Missouri, the ice was running in immense blocks. It
was sunset, we were forty miles from a house on that side of the river.
There was a man on the other side of the river in a small skiff. Mr. Roy
waved to him and he crossed and took us in. Every moment it seemed those
cakes of ice would crush the little skiff, but the man was an expert
dodger and after a perilous ride he let us off at Rulo. By that time it
was dark. We went to a roughly boarded up shanty they called a tavern.
It snowed that night and the snow beat in on our bed. The next morning
we hired a man to take us to Falls City, ten miles from Rulo. Falls City
was a hamlet of scarcely three hundred souls. There was a log cabin on
the square; one tiny schoolhouse, used for school, Sunday school, and
church. As far as the eye could reach, it was virgin prairie.

There was very little rain for two years after we came. All provisions,
grain, and lumber were shipped on boats to Rulo. There was only an
Indian trail between Rulo and Falls City. Everything was hauled over
that trail.

After the drouth came the grasshoppers, and for two years they took all
we had. The cattle barely lived grazing in the Nemaha valley. All grain
was shipped in from Missouri.

The people had no amusements in the winter. In the summer they had
picnics and a Methodist camp-meeting, on the Muddy river north of Falls


Tenth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1911-1912]

Over the Nemaha river two and one-half miles southwest of Falls City, on
a high hill above the falls from which the town was named, was an Indian
village. The Sac and Foxes and Iowa Indians occupied the village. Each
spring and fall they went visiting other tribes, or other tribes visited
them. They would march through the one street of Falls City with their
ponies in single file. The tipi poles were strapped on each side of the
ponies and their belongings and presents, for the tribe they were going
to visit, piled on the poles. The men, women, and children walked beside
the ponies, and the dogs brought up the rear. Sometimes, when the
Indians had visitors, they would have a war-dance at night and the white
people would go out to view it. Their bright fires, their scouts
bringing in the news of hostile Indians in sight, and the hurried
preparations to meet them, were quite exciting. The Indians were great
beggars, and not very honest. We had to keep things under lock and key.
They would walk right into the houses and say "Eat!" The women were all
afraid of them and would give them provisions. If there was any food
left after they had finished their eating, they would take it away with

Their burying-ground was very near the village. They buried their dead
with all accoutrements, in a sitting posture in a grave about five feet
deep, without covering.

The Indians cultivated small patches of land and raised corn, beans,
pumpkins, etc. A man named Fisher now owns the land on which the Indians
lived when I reached the country.

The people were very sociable. It was a healthy country, and we had
health if very little else. We were young and the hardships did not seem
so great as they do in looking backward fifty years.

     NOTE--Thyrza Reavis Roy was born August 7, 1834, in Cass county,
     Illinois, the daughter of Isham Reavis and Mahala Beck Reavis. Her
     great-grandfather, Isham Reavis, fought in the war of the
     Revolution. Her grandfather, Charles Reavis, and her own father,
     Isham Reavis, fought in the war of 1812. She is a real daughter of
     the war of 1812. She is a member of the U. S. Daughters of 1812, a
     member of the Deborah Avery Chapter D. A. R. of Lincoln, and a
     member of the Territorial Pioneers Association of Nebraska. Her
     husband, George Roy, died at Falls City March 2, 1903.



I recall one reminiscence of my early life in Nebraska which occurred in
1876, when we first located in Seward. We could have gone no farther,
even had we wished, as Seward was then the terminus of the Billings line
of the Burlington railroad.

We soon learned that a county celebration was to be held on the fourth
of July, and I naturally felt a great curiosity to know how a crowd of
people would look to whom we had been sending boxes of clothing and
bedding in response to appeals from the grasshopper sufferers. My
surprise cannot be imagined when I saw people clothed as well as
elsewhere and with baskets filled with an abundance of good things for a
picnic dinner.

The same pretty grove in which this gathering occurred thirty-nine years
ago is now our beautiful city park, where during the summer of 1914 our
commercial club gave an old-time barbecue costing the members twelve
hundred dollars. They secured the state band and fine speakers, and
served a bounteous dinner to about fifteen thousand people. Everything
was free to all who came, and a happier crowd can not be imagined. I
speak of this because in the years to come it will be a pleasant
reminiscence to many who may have been present.

     NOTE--Elizabeth C. (Bennett) Langworthy, fourth state regent of the
     Nebraska Society D. A. R., is a daughter of Jacob and Caroline
     (Valentine) Bennett. Her paternal grandfather was also Jacob
     Bennett, a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He was taken prisoner
     and held in an English ship off the coast of Quebec for some time.
     Mrs. Langworthy was born in Orleans county, New York, in 1837. The
     family moved to Wisconsin in 1849, and the daughter finished her
     education at Hamline University, then located at Red Wing,
     Minnesota. In 1858 she was married to Stephen C. Langworthy, and in
     1876 became a resident of Seward, Nebraska. Mr. Langworthy died
     March 3, 1904.

     Mrs. Langworthy has been active and prominent in club work, and is
     widely known. She served for five years as a member of the school
     board at Seward and organized the History and Art Club of Seward of
     which she was president for several years. She was the first
     secretary of the State Federation of Woman's Clubs, and was elected
     president in 1898. Mrs. Langworthy is the mother of six children.



Seward county shared with other counties all of the privations and
experiences of pioneer life, though it seems to have had less trouble
with hostile Indians than many localities in the state.

The struggles of pioneer settlers in the same country must necessarily
be similar, though of course differing in detail. The first settlers
deemed it important to locate on a stream where firewood could be
obtained, and they were subject to high waters, prairie fires, constant
fear of the Indian, and lack of provisions.

At one time the little band of settlers near the present site of Seward
was reduced to one pan of corn, though they were not quite as reduced as
their historic Pilgrim forefathers, when a load of provisions arrived
that had been storm-bound.

Reminiscences are best at first hand, and the following letters, taken
from the _History of Seward County_ by W. W. Cox, recount some of the
incidents of early pioneer life by those who really lived it.

Mrs. Sarah F. Anderson writes as follows:

"At the time of the great Indian scare of 1864, my father's family was
one of the families which the Nebraska City people had heard were
killed. It had been rumored throughout the little settlement that there
were bands of hostile Indians approaching, and that they were committing
great depredations as they went.

"One Sunday morning my uncle and Thomas Shields started down the river
on a scouting expedition. After an all-day search, just at nightfall,
they came suddenly upon an Indian camp. The men thought their time had
come, but the redskins were equally scared. There was no chance to back
out, and they resolved to know whether the Indians were friendly or
hostile. As they bravely approached the camp, the Indians began to
halloo, 'Heap good Omaha!' The men then concluded to camp over night
with them, and they partook of a real Indian supper. The next morning
they went home satisfied that there were no hostile Indians in the

"A day or two after this, my father (William Imlay) and his brothers
were on upper Plum creek haying, when grandfather Imlay became
frightened and hastened to our house and said the Indians were coming
upon the settlement. He then hurried home to protect his own family.
About three o'clock in the afternoon we saw a band of them approaching.
They were about where the B. & M. depot now stands. We were living about
eighty rods above the present iron bridge. My mother, thinking to escape
them, locked the cabin door, and took all the children across the creek
to the spring where she kept the milk. To kill time, she commenced
churning. Very soon, four Indians (great, big, ugly creatures) came
riding up to the spring and told mother that she was wanted over to the
house. She said, 'No, I can't go; I am at work.' But they insisted in
such a menacing manner that she felt obliged to yield and go. They said,
'Come, come,' in a most determined manner. The children all clinging to
her, she started, and those great sneaking braves guarded her by one
riding on each side, one before, and one behind. Poor mother and we four
children had a slim show to escape. They watched our every movement,
step by step. When we reached the cabin, there sat sixteen burly Indians
in a circle around the door. When we came up, they all arose and saluted
mother, then sat down again. They had a young Indian interpreter. As
they thought they had the family all thoroughly frightened, the young
Indian began in good shape to tell just what they wanted. They would
like to have two cows, two sacks of flour, and some meat. Mother saw
that she must guard the provisions with desperation, as they had cost
such great effort, having been hauled from the Missouri river. The
Indians said, 'The Sioux are coming and will take all away, and we want
some.' 'No,' said mother, 'we will take our cattle and provisions and go
to Plattsmouth.' 'But,' said the Indian, 'they will be here tonight and
you can't get away.' Mother at this point began to be as much angry as
frightened. 'I will not give you anything. You are lying to me. If the
Sioux were so close, you would all be running yourselves.' At this point
another brave, who had been pacing the yard, seeing mother grow so warm,
picked up our axe and marched straight up to her and threw it down at
her feet. She picked it up and stood it beside her. Mother said
afterward that her every hair stood on end, but knowing that Indians
respect bravery, she resolved to show no cowardice. We could all see
that the whole river bend was swarming with Indians. Mother said with
emphasis, 'I now want you to take your Indians and be gone at once.'
Then they said, 'You are a brave squaw,' and the old chief motioned to
his braves and they marched off to camp. The next day our family all
went over to Plum creek and remained until things became settled.

"The following winter father was at Omaha attending the legislature; and
I am sure that over a thousand Indians passed our place during the
winter. It required pluck to withstand the thievish beggars. Sometimes
they would sneak up and peep in at the window. Then others would beg for
hours to get into the house.

"A great amount of snow had fallen, and shortly after father's return
home, a heavy winter rain inundated all the bottom lands. We all came
pretty near being drowned but succeeded in crawling out of the cabin at
the rear window at midnight. Our only refuge was a haystack, where we
remained several days entirely surrounded by water, with no possible
means of escape. Mr. Cox made several attempts to rescue us. First he
tried to cross the river in a molasses pan, and narrowly escaped being
drowned, as the wind was high and the stream filled with floating ice.
The next day he made a raft and tried to cross, but the current was so
rapid he could not manage it. It drifted against a tree where the water
was ten feet deep, and the jar threw him off his balance, and the upper
edge of the raft sank, so that the rapid current caught the raft and
turned it on edge against the tree. Mr. Cox caught hold of a limb of the
tree and saved himself from drowning. A desperate struggle ensued but he
finally kicked and stamped until he got the raft on top of the water
again, but it was wrong side up. We then gave up all hopes of getting
help until the water subsided. The fourth day, tall trees were chopped
by father on one side and by Mr. Cox on the other, and their branches
interlocked, and we made our escape to his friendly cabin, where we
found a kindly greeting, rest, food, and fire."

The following from the pen of Addison E. Sheldon is recorded in the same
_History of Seward County_:

"My recollections of early Seward county life do not go back as far as
the author's. They begin with one wind-blown day in September, 1869,
when I, a small urchin from Minnesota, crossed the Seward county line
near Pleasant Dale on my way with my mother and step-father (R. J.
McCall), to the new home on the southeast quarter of section 18, town 9,
range 2 east--about three miles southeast of the present Beaver
Crossing. Looked back upon now, through all the intervening years, it
seems to me there never was an autumn more supremely joyous, a prairie
more entrancing, a woodland belt more alluring, a life more captivating
than that which welcomed the new boy to the frontier in the beautiful
West Blue valley. The upland 'divides' as I remember them were entirely
destitute of settlement, and even along the streams, stretches of two,
three, and five miles lay between nearest neighbors.

"What has become of the Nebraska wind of those days? I have sought it
since far and wide in the Sand Hills and on the table lands of western
Nebraska--that wind which blew ceaselessly, month after month, never
pausing but to pucker its lips for a stronger blast! Where are the seas
of rosin-weed, with their yellow summer parasols, which covered the
prairie in those days? I have sought them too, and along gravelly ridges
or some old ditch yet found a few degenerate descendants of the old-time

"Mention of merely a few incidents seeming to hold the drama and poetry
of frontier life at that time: 'Pittsburgh, the city of vision, at the
junction of Walnut creek and the West Blue, inhabited by a population of
20,000 people, with a glass factory, a paper factory, a brick factory,
oil wells, a peat factory, woolen mills, junction of three railway
lines, metropolis of the Blue Valley.' All this and so much more that I
dare not attempt to picture it; a real existence in the brain of
Christopher Lezenby in the years of 1871-72. What unwritten dramas sleep
almost forgotten in the memories of early settlers! When Mr. Lezenby
began to build his metropolis with the assistance of Attorney Boyd of
Lincoln and a few other disinterested speculators, he was the possessor
of several hundred acres of land, some hundreds of cattle, and other
hundreds of hogs, and a fair, unmarried daughter. What pathetic
memories of the old man, month after month, surveying off his beautiful
farm into city lots for the new metropolis, while his cattle disappeared
from the prairies and his swine from the oak thickets along the Walnut;
with sublime and childish simplicity repeating day after day the
confession of his faith that 'next week' work would begin; 'next week'
the foundation for the factories would be laid; 'next week' the railway
surveyors would set the grade stakes. And this real rural tragedy lasted
through several years, ending in the loss of all his property, the
marriage of his daughter to Irwin Stall, and the wandering forth of the
old man until he died of a broken heart in California.

"One monument yet remains to mark the site and perpetuate the memory of
Pittsburgh, a flowing well, found I think at the depth of twenty-eight
feet in the year 1874 and continuously flowing since that. Strange that
no one was wise enough to take the hint and that it was twenty years
later before the second flowing well was struck at Beaver Crossing,
leading to the systematic search for them which dotted the entire valley
with their fountains.

"There were no high water bridges across the West Blue in those days. I
remember acting as mail carrier for a number of families on the south
bank of the Blue during the high waters of two or three summers,
bringing the mail from the city of Pittsburgh postoffice on the north
bank. A torn shirt and a pair of short-legged blue overalls--my entire
wardrobe of those days--were twisted into a turban about my head, and
plunging into the raging flood of the Blue which covered all the lower
bottoms, five minutes' vigorous swimming carried me through the froth
and foam and driftwood to the other side where I once more resumed my
society clothes and, after securing the mail, upon my return to the
river bank, tied it tightly in the turban and crossed the river as

"I remember my first lessons in political economy, the fierce fight
between the northern and the southern parts of the county upon the
question of voting bonds to the Midland Pacific railway during the years
1871-72. It was a sectional fight in fact, but in theory and in debate
it was a contest over some first principles of government. The question
of the people versus the corporation, since grown to such great
proportions, was then first discussed to my childish ears. One incident
of that contest is forever photographed on my brain--a crowd of one
hundred farmers and villagers lounging in the shadow of T. H. Tisdale's
old store. A yellow-skinned, emaciated lawyer from Lincoln who looked,
to my boyish vision, like a Chinese chieftain from Manchuria, was
speaking with fluent imaginative words in favor of the benefits the
people of Seward county might secure by voting the bonds. This was H. W.
Sommerlad, registrar of Lincoln land office. A short Saxon opponent,
Rev. W. G. Keen of Walnut creek, was picked from the crowd by
acclamation to reply to the Lincoln lawyer. The impression of his fiery
words denouncing the aggressions of capital and appealing to the
memories of the civil war and the Revolutionary fathers to arouse the
people's independence is with me yet.

"Next in the economic vista is the old Brisbin sod schoolhouse east of
Walnut creek where a grange was organized. Here a lyceum was held
through several winters in which the debates were strongly tinctured
with the rising anti-monopoly sentiment of those hard times. George
Michael and Charley Hunter, leaders of the boyish dare-deviltry of those
days, were chosen as judges upon the debates in order to insure their
good behavior, and they gravely decided for the negative or affirmative
many deep discussions of doubtful themes.

"Beaver Crossing in the early days was remarkable for the great number
of boys in its surrounding population, and I have observed in these
later years when visiting there, that the custom of having boy babies in
the family does not appear to have entirely gone out of fashion. That
great swarm of restless boy population which gathered, sometimes two
hundred strong, Saturday afternoons on the Common! What 'sleights of art
and feats of strength' went round! What struggles of natural selection
to secure a place upon the 'First Nine' of the baseball team! For years
Beaver Crossing had the best baseball club in three or four counties,
and some of her players won high laurels on distant diamonds.

"One custom which obtained in those frontier days seems to have been
peculiar to the time, for I have not found it since in other frontier
communities. It was the custom of 'calling off' the mail upon its
arrival at the postoffice. The postmaster, old Tom Tisdale--a genuine
facsimile of Petroleum V. Nasby--would dump the sacks of mail, brought
overland on a buckboard, into a capacious box upon the counter of his
store, then pick up piece by piece, and read the inscriptions thereon in
a sonorous voice to the crowd, sometimes consisting of one or two
hundred people. Each claimant would cry out 'Here!' when his name was
called. Sometimes two-thirds of the mail was distributed in this way,
saving a large amount of manual labor in pigeon-holing the same. Nasby
had a happy and caustic freedom in commenting upon the mail during the
performance, not always contemplated, I believe, by the United States
postal regulations. A woman's handwriting upon a letter addressed to a
young man was almost certain to receive some public notice from his
sharp tongue, to the great enjoyment of the crowd and sometimes the
visible annoyance of the young man. At one time he deliberately turned
over a postal card written by a well-known young woman of Beaver
Crossing who was away at school, and on observing that the message was
written both horizontally and across, commented, 'From the holy mother,
in Dutch.' If I should ever meet on the mystic other shore, which poets
and philosophers have tried to picture for us, old Tom Tisdale, I would
expect to see him with his spectacles pushed back from his nose,
'calling off' the mail to the assembled spirits, the while entertaining
them with pungent personal epigrams.

"One startling picture arises from the past, framed as Browning writes
'in a sheet of flame'--the picture of the great prairie fire of October,
1871, which swept Seward county from south to north, leaving hardly a
quarter section of continuous unburnt sod. A heavy wind, increasing to a
hurricane, drove this fire down the West Blue valley. It jumped the Blue
river in a dozen places as easily as a jack rabbit jumps a road. It left
a great broad trail of cindered haystacks and smoking stables and
houses. A neighbor of ours who was burnt out remarked that he had 'been
through hell in one night,' and had 'no fear of the devil hereafter.'

"At the other end of the scale of temperature are recollections of the
'Great Storm' of April 13, 14, 15, 1873. There burst from a June
atmosphere the worst blizzard in the history of the state. For three
days it blew thick, freezing sleet, changing to snow so close and dense
and dark that a man in a wagon vainly looked for the horses hitched to
it through the storm. Men who were away from home lost their lives over
the state. Stock was frozen to death. In sod houses, dugouts, and log
cabins settlers huddled close about the hearth, burning enormous baskets
of ten-cent corn to keep from freezing.

"In these later years of life, Fate has called me to make minute study
of many historical periods and places. Yet my heart always turns to
review the early scenes of settlement and civilization in Seward county
with a peculiar thrill of personal emotion and special joy in the risen
and rising fortunes of those who there built the foundations of a great
commonwealth. No land can be dearer than the land of one's childhood and
none can ever draw my thoughts further over plain or ocean than the
happy valley upon West Blue whose waters spring spontaneously from
beneath the soil to water her fortunate acres."



On September 15, 1885, I crossed the Missouri river at Omaha, and came
west through Lincoln. The state fair was in full blast but our party did
not stop, as we were bound for Benkleman, Parks, and Haigler, Nebraska.

After looking over Dundy county, Nebraska, and Cheyenne county, Kansas,
the rest of the party returned to Illinois.

I went to Indianola, and with Mr. Palmatier, I started for the Medicine.
He carried the mail to Stockville and Medicine, which were newly
established postoffices in the interior to the north, and his conveyance
was the hind wheels of an ordinary wagon, to which he had fashioned a
pair of thills. He said that he was using such a vehicle because it
enabled him to cut off several miles in the very rough country through
which we passed.

The jolting was something fierce, but being young and used to riding in
lumber wagons, I did not mind. I was very much interested in everything,
but the things that linger most clearly in my mind after all these years
are the bushy whiskered, hopeful faces of the men who greeted us from
dugouts and sod cabins. The men's eyes were alight with enthusiasm and
candor, but I do not remember of having seen a woman or child upon the

It seems that men can drop back into the primitive so much more easily
than women: not perhaps with all the brutality of the First Men, but
they can adjust themselves to the environment of the wilderness, and the
rusticity of the frontier, with comparative ease.

I stopped for the night in Hay cañon, a branch of Lake cañon, at Hawkins
brothers' hay camp, and I remember when they told me that they had three
hundred tons of hay in the stack, that it seemed almost an inconceivable
quantity. On our old Illinois farm twenty-five or thirty tons seemed a
large amount, but three hundred tons was beyond our range of reasoning.
However, we now stack that much on eighty acres in the Scottsbluff

In due time I went on over the great tableland to the city of North
Platte, and going down the cañon on the south side of the south river, I
killed my first jack rabbit, an event which seemed to make me feel more
of a westerner than any circumstance up to that time.

My first impression of North Platte, with its twelve saloons, was not of
the best. And my conception of Buffalo Bill dropped several notches in
esteem when I saw the Wild West saloon. But in the light of years, I am
less puritanical in my views of the first people of the plains. In
subsequent years I rode the range as a cowboy, and drove twenty-mule
teams with a single line and a black-snake, and while always I remained
an abstainer and occasionally found others that did likewise, I learned
to tolerate, and then enjoy, the witticisms and foolishness of those
that did indulge. Sometimes the boys in their cups would "smoke up" the
little cities of the plains, but they never felt any resentment if one
of their number did not participate in their drinking and festive

I spent the winter of 1885 on the ranch of Hall & Evans, near North
Platte, and one of the pleasantest acquaintanceships of my life has been
that of John Evans, now registrar of the land office at North Platte.

In the spring of '86 the constant stream of emigrant wagons going west
gave one an impression that in a little time the entire West would be
filled, and I grew impatient to be upon my way and secure selections. In
May I arrived at Sidney and from there rode in a box car to Cheyenne.
When we topped the divide east of Cheyenne, I saw the snow-capped peaks
of the Rockies for the first time.

During the summer I "skinned mules," aiding in the construction of the
Cheyenne & Northern, now a part of the Hill system that connects Denver
with the Big Horn basin and Puget sound.

Returning to Sidney in the autumn, I fell in with George Hendricks, who
had been in the mines for twenty years and finally gave it up. We
shoveled coal for the Union Pacific until we had a grub stake for the
winter. I purchased a broncho, and upon him we packed our
belongings--beds, blankets, tarpaulin, provisions, cooking utensils,
tools, and clothing, and started north over the divide for "Pumpkin
creek," our promised land. In a little over a day's travel, one leading
the horse and the other walking behind to prod it along, we reached
Hackberry cañon, and here, in a grove by a spring, we built our first

Three sides were log, the cracks filled with small pieces of wood and
plastered with mud from the spring, and the back of the cabin was
against a rock, and up this rock we improvised a fireplace, with loose
stones and mud.

When we had rigged a bunk of native red cedar along the side of this
rude shelter, and the fire was burning in our fireplace, the coffee
steaming, the bread baking in the skillet, the odor of bacon frying, and
the wind whistling through the tree-tops, that cabin seemed a mighty
cozy place.

We could sometimes hear the coyotes and the grey wolves howl at night,
but a sense of security prevailed, and our sleep was sound. Out of the
elements at hand, we had made the rudiments of a home on land that was
to become ours--our very own--forever.


_Statement by Andrew J. Bottorff_

I came to Nebraska at the close of the civil war, having served during
the entire campaign with the Seventeenth Indiana regiment. I came west
with oxen and wagon in the fall of 1866, bringing my family. We wintered
at Rockport, but as soon as spring opened went to Stanton county, where
I took a homestead. Here we had few neighbors and our share of
hardships, but thrived and were happy.

One day I heard my dogs barking and found them down in a ravine, near
the Elkhorn river, with an elk at bay, and killed him with my axe.

The first year I was appointed county surveyor. Having no instruments at
hand, I walked to Omaha, over a hundred miles distant, and led a fat cow
to market there. I sold the cow but found no instruments. I was told of
a man at Fort Calhoun who had an outfit I might get, so wended my way
there. I found E. H. Clark, who would sell me the necessary supplies,
and I bought them; then carried them, with some other home necessities
obtained in Omaha, back to Stanton, as I had come, on foot.

I am now seventy-five years old, and have raised a large family; yet
wife and I are as happy and spry as if we had never worked, and are
enjoying life in sunny California, where we have lived for the last ten

_Statement by Sven Johanson_

With my wife and two small children I reached Omaha, Nebraska, June 26,
1868. We came direct from Norway, having crossed the stormy Atlantic in
a small sailboat, the voyage taking eight weeks.

A brother who had settled in Stanton county, 107 miles from Omaha, had
planned to meet us in that city. After being there a few days this
brother, together with two other men, arrived and we were very happy.
With two yoke of oxen and one team of horses, each hitched to a load of
lumber, we journeyed from Omaha to Stanton county. Arriving there, we
found shelter in a small dugout with our brother and family, where we
remained until we filed on a homestead and had built a dugout of our

We had plenty of clothing, a good lot of linens and homespun materials,
but these and ten dollars in money were all we possessed.

The land office was at Omaha and it was necessary for me to walk there
to make a filing. I had to stop along the way wherever I could secure
work, and in that way got some food, and occasionally earned a few
cents, and this enabled me to purchase groceries to carry back to my
family. There were no bridges across rivers or creeks and we were
compelled to swim; at one time in particular I was very thankful I was a
good swimmer. A brother-in-law and myself had gone to Fremont, Nebraska,
for employment, and on our return we found the Elkhorn river almost out
of its banks. This frightened my companion, who could not swim, but I
told him to be calm, we would come to no harm. I took our few groceries
and our clothing and swam across, then going back for my companion, who
was a very large man, I took him on my back and swam safely to the other

While I was away, my family would be holding down our claim and taking
care of our one cow. We were surrounded by Indians, and there were no
white people west of where we lived.

In the fall of 1869 we secured a yoke of oxen, and the following spring
hauled home logs from along the river and creek and soon had a
comfortable log house erected.

Thus we labored and saved little by little until we were able to erect a
frame house, not hewn by hand, but made from real lumber, and by this
time we felt well repaid for the many hardships we had endured. The old
"homestead" is still our home, but the dear, faithful, loving mother who
so bravely bore all the hardships of early days was called to her rich
reward January 28, 1912. She was born June 15, 1844, and I was born
October 14, 1837.



Fred E. Roper, a pioneer of Hebron, Nebraska, was eighty years old on
October 10, 1915. Sixty-one years ago Mr. Roper "crossed the plains,"
going from New York state to California.

Eleven years more than a half-century--and to look back upon the then
barren stretch of the country in comparison with the present fertile
region of prosperous homes and populous cities, takes a vivid stretch of
imagination to realize the dreamlike transformation. At that time San
Francisco was a village of about five hundred persons living in adobe
huts surrounded by a mud wall for a fortified protection from the
marauding Indians.

Fred E. Roper was born in Candor Hill, New York, October 10, 1835. When
three years old he moved with his parents to Canton, Bradford county,
Pennsylvania, and later moved with his brother to Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Then he shipped as a "hand" on a raft going down the Wisconsin and
Mississippi rivers to St. Louis, getting one dollar a day and board. He
returned north on a steamer, stopping at Burlington, Iowa, where his
sister resided.

In 1854, when he was nineteen years of age, Mr. Roper "started west."
His sister walked to the edge of the town with him as he led his
one-horned cow, which was to furnish milk for coffee on the camp-out
trip, which was to last three months, enroute to the Pacific coast.

There were three outfits--a horse train, mule train, and ox train. Mr.
Roper traveled in an ox train of twenty-five teams. The travelers
elected officers from among those who had made the trip before, and
military discipline prevailed.

At nights the men took turns at guard duty in relays--from dark to
midnight and from midnight to dawn, when the herder was called to turn
the cattle out to browse. One man herded them until breakfast was ready,
and another man herded them until time to yoke up. This overland train
was never molested by the Indians, although one night some spying
Cheyennes were made prisoners under guard over night until the oxen were
yoked up and ready to start.


Erected by the citizens of Hebron and Thayer county, and Oregon Trail
Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, dedicated May 24, 1915.
Cost $400]

The prospectors crossed the Missouri river at Omaha, which at that time
had no residences or business buildings. Enroute to Salt Lake City, the
South Platte route was followed, averaging about twenty miles a day.
Enough provisions were carried to last through the journey and as they
had some provisions left when they reached Salt Lake City, they were
sold to the half-starved Mormons at big prices.

Some perplexing difficulties were encountered on the journey. At one
point in the mountains, beyond Salt Lake City, the trail was so narrow
that the oxen were unhitched and led single file around the cliff, while
the wagons were taken apart and lowered down the precipice with ropes.

When crossing the desert, additional water had to be carried in extra
kegs and canteens. When the tired cattle got near enough to the river to
smell the fresh water, they pricked up their ears, stiffened their
necks, and made a rush for the stream, so the men had to stand in front
of them until the chains were loosened to prevent their crazily dashing
into the water with the wagons.

Mr. Roper worked by the day for three months in the mines northeast of
San Francisco. While placer mining, he one day picked up a gold nugget,
from which his engagement ring was made by a jeweler in San Francisco,
and worn by Mrs. Roper until her death, October 28, 1908. The ring was
engraved with two hearts with the initials M. E. R., and is now in the
possession of their son Maun, whose initials are the same.

Mr. Roper was one of a company of three men who worked a claim that had
been once worked over, on a report that there was a crevasse that had
not been bottomed. The first workers did not have "quicksilver," which
is necessary to catch fine gold, but Mr. Roper's company had a jug
shipped from San Francisco. Nothing less than a fifty-pound jug of
quicksilver would be sold, at fifty cents a pound. This was used in
sluice-boxes as "quicksilver riffles," to catch the fine float gold,
when it would instantly sink to the bottom of the quicksilver, while the
dirt and stones would wash over; the coarse rock would be first tossed
out with a sluice-fork (similar to a flat-tined pitchfork). In three
years the three men worked the mine out, making about fifteen hundred
dollars apiece.

With his share carried in buckskin sacks belted around his waist under
his clothes, Mr. Roper started in a sailing vessel up north along the
coast on a trip, hunting for richer diggings. Then he went on a steamer
to the Isthmus of Panama, which he crossed with a hired horse team, then
by steamer to New York and by railroad to Philadelphia to get his gold

After his marriage in 1861 Mr. Roper returned to the West and in '64 ran
a hotel at Beatrice called "Pat's Cabin." When Nebraska voted on the
question of admission to statehood, Mr. Roper's ballot was vote No. 3.

Desiring to get a home of his own, Fred Roper came on west into what is
now Thayer county, and about six miles northwest of the present site of
Hebron up the Little Blue, he bought out the preëmption rights of Bill
and Walt Hackney, who had "squatted" there with the expectation of
paying the government the customary $1.25 per acre. In certain
localities those claims afterwards doubled to $2.50 per acre. Mr. Roper
paid only the value of the log cabin and log stables, and came into
possession of the eighty acres, which he homesteaded, and later bought
adjoining land for $1.25 per acre.

Occasionally he made trips to St. Joe and Nebraska City for supplies,
which he freighted overland to Hackney ranch. At that time Mr. Roper
knew every man on the trail from the Missouri river to Kearney. On these
trips he used to stop with Bill McCandles, who was shot with three other
victims by "Wild Bill" on Rock creek in Jefferson county.

The first house at Hackney ranch was burned by the Cheyenne Indians in
their great raid of 1864, at which time Miss Laura Roper (daughter of
Joe B. Roper) and Mrs. Eubanks were captured by the Indians near Fox
Ford in Nuckolls county and kept in captivity until ransomed by Colonel
Wyncoop of the U. S. army for $1,000. Si Alexander of Meridian
(southeast of the present town of Alexandria), was with the government
troops at the time of Miss Roper's release near Denver. Her parents,
believing her dead, had meanwhile moved back to New York state. (Laura
Roper is still alive, being now Mrs. Laura Vance, at Skiatook,
Oklahoma.) At the time of the above-mentioned raid, the Indians at
Hackney ranch threw the charred cottonwood logs of the house into the
well, to prevent travelers from getting water. Fred Roper was then at
Beatrice, having just a few days before sold Hackney ranch to an
overland traveler. After the raid the new owner deserted the place, in
the fall of 1869, and in a few months Mr. Roper returned from Beatrice
and again preëmpted the same place.

In 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Roper moved to Meridian and ran a tavern for about
a year, then moved back to Hackney, where they resided until the fall of
1893, when they moved into Hebron to make their permanent home. Mr.
Roper was postmaster at Hebron for four years under Cleveland's last



The memories of the long hot days of August, 1874, are burned into the
seared recollection of the pioneers of Nebraska. For weeks the sun had
poured its relentless rays upon the hopeful, patient people, until the
very atmosphere seemed vibrant with the pulsing heat-waves.

One day a young attorney of Hebron was called to Nuckolls county to "try
a case" before a justice of the peace, near a postoffice known as
Henrietta. Having a light spring wagon and two ponies he invited his
wife and little baby to accompany him for the drive of twenty-five
miles. Anything was better than the monotony of staying at home, and the
boundless freedom of the prairies was always enticing. An hour's drive
and the heat of the sun became oppressively intense. The barren distance
far ahead was unbroken by tree, or house, or field. There was no sound
but the steady patter of the ponies' feet over the prairie grass; no
moving object but an occasional flying hawk; no road but a trail through
the rich prairie grass, and one seemed lost in a wilderness of unvarying
green. The heat-waves seemed to rise from the ground and quiver in the
air. Soon a wind, soft at first, came from the southwest, but ere long
became a hot blast, and reminded one of the heated air from an opened
oven door. Added to other inconveniences came the intense thirst
produced from the sun and dry atmosphere--and one might have cried "My
kingdom for a drink!"--but there was no "kingdom."

After riding about nine miles there came into view the homestead of
Teddy McGovern--the only evidence of life seen on that long day's drive.
Here was a deep well of cold water. Cheery words of greeting and hearty
handclasps evidenced that all were neighbors in those days. Again
turning westward a corner of the homestead was passed where were several
little graves among young growing trees--"Heartache corner" it might
have been called. The sun shone as relentless there as upon all
Nebraska, that scorching summer.

As the afternoon wore on, looking across the prairies the heat-waves
seemed to pulse and beckon us on; the lure of the prairies was upon us,
and had we chosen we could not but have obeyed. Only the pioneers knew
how to endure, to close their eyes to exclude the burning light, and
close the lips to the withering heat.

At last our destination was reached at the homestead of the justice of
the peace. We were gladly seated to a good supper with the host and
family of growing boys. After the meal the "Justice Court" was held out
of doors in the shade of the east side of the house, there being more
room and "more air" outside. The constable, the offender, the witness
and attorney and a few neighbors constituted the prairie court, and
doubtless the decisions were as legal and as lasting as those of more
imposing surroundings of later days.

But the joy of the day had only just begun, for as the sun went down, so
did even the hot wind, leaving the air so heavy and motionless and
oppressive one felt his lungs closing up. The boys of the family sought
sleep out of doors, the others under the low roof of a two-roomed log
house. Sleep was impossible, rest unknown until about midnight, when
mighty peals of thunder and brilliant lightning majestically announced
the oncoming Nebraska storm. No lights were needed, as nature's
electricity was illuminatingly sufficient. The very logs quivered with
the thunder's reverberations, and soon a terrific wind loaded with hail
beat against the little house until one wondered whether it were better
to be roasted alive by nature's consuming heat, or torn asunder by the
warring elements. But the storm beat out its fury, and with daylight Old
Sol peeped over the prairies with a drenched but smiling face.

Adieus were made and the party started homeward. After a few miles'
travel the unusual number of grasshoppers was commented upon, and soon
the air was filled with their white bodies and beating wings; then the
alarming fact dawned upon the travelers that this was a grasshopper
raid. The pioneers had lived through the terrors of Indian raids, but
this assault from an enemy outside of the human realm was a new
experience. The ponies were urged eastward, but the hoppers cheerfully
kept pace and were seen to be outdistancing the travelers. They filled
the air and sky and obliterated even the horizon. Heat, thirst, distance
were all submerged in the appalling dread of what awaited.

As the sun went down the myriads of grasshoppers "went to roost." Every
vegetable, every weed and blade of grass bore its burden. On the
clothes-line the hoppers were seated two and three deep; and upon the
windlass rope which drew the bucket from the well they clung and
entwined their bodies.

The following morning the hungry millions raised in the air, saluted the
barren landscape and proceeded to set an emulating pace for even the
busy bee. They flew and beat about, impudently slapping their wings
against the upturned, anxious faces, and weary eyes, trying to penetrate
through the apparent snowstorm--the air filled with the white bodies of
the ravenous hordes. This appalling sight furnished diversion sufficient
to the inhabitants of the little community for that day.

People moved quietly about, in subdued tones wondering what the outcome
would be. How long would the hoppers remain? Would they deposit their
eggs to hatch the following spring and thus perpetuate their species?
Would the old progenitors return?

But, true to the old Persian proverb, "this too, passed away." The
unwelcome intruders departed leaving us with an occasional old boot-leg,
or leather strap, or dried rubber, from which the cormorants had sucked
the "juice."

The opening of the next spring was cold and rainy. Not many of the
grasshopper eggs hatched. Beautiful Nebraska was herself again and
"blossomed as the rose."


_Statement by Mrs. Gertrude M. McDowell_

When I was requested to write a short article in regard to woman's
suffrage in Nebraska I thought it would be an easy task. As the days
passed and my thoughts became confusedly spread over the whole question
from its incipiency, it proved to be not an easy task but a most
difficult one. There was so much of interest that one hardly knew where
to begin and what to leave unsaid.

This question has been of life-long interest to me and I have always
been in full sympathy with the movement. When the legislature in 1882
submitted the suffrage amendment to the people of the state of Nebraska
for their decision, we were exceedingly anxious concerning the outcome.

A state suffrage association was formed. Mrs. Brooks of Omaha was
elected president; Mrs. Bittenbender of Lincoln, recording secretary;
Gertrude M. McDowell of Fairbury, corresponding secretary.

There were many enthusiastic workers throughout the state. Among them, I
remember Mrs. Clara Bewick Colby, of Beatrice, whom we considered our
general; Mrs. Lucinda Russell and Mrs. Mary Holmes of Tecumseh, Mrs.
Annie M. Steele of Fairbury, Mrs. A. J. Sawyer, Mrs. A. J. Caldwell, and
Mrs. Deborah King of Lincoln, Mrs. E. M. Correll of Hebron and many more
that I do not now recall.

There were many enthusiastic men over the state who gave the cause
ardent support. Senator E. M. Correll of Hebron was ever on the alert to
aid in convention work and to speak a word which might carry conviction
to some unbeliever.

Some years previous to our campaign, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy
Stone on one of their lecture tours in the West were so impressed with
the enthusiasm and good work of Hon. E. M. Correll that they elected him
president of the National Suffrage Association, for one year. I also
recall Judge Ben S. Baker, now of Omaha, and C. F. Steele of Fairbury,
as staunch supporters of the measure. During the campaign, many
national workers were sent into the state, among them Susan B. Anthony,
Phoebe Couzens, Elizabeth Saxon of New Orleans, and others. They
directed and did valiant work in the cause. We failed to carry the
measure in the state, but we are glad to note that it carried in our own
town of Fairbury.

Thanks to the indomitable personality of our Nebraska women, they began
immediately to plan for another campaign. In 1914, our legislature again
submitted an amendment and it was again defeated. Since then I have been
more than ever in favor of making the amendment a national one,
President Wilson to the contrary notwithstanding--not because we think
the educational work is being entirely lost, but because so much time
and money are being wasted on account of our foreign population and
their attitude towards reform. It is a grave and a great question. One
thing we are assured of, viz: that we will never give up our belief in
the final triumph of our great cause.

It is a far cry from the first woman's suffrage convention in 1850,
brought about by the women who were excluded from acting as delegates at
the anti-slavery convention in London in 1840.

Thus a missionary work was begun then and there for the emancipation of
women in "the land of the free and the home of the brave." We can never
be grateful enough to Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B.
Anthony, and other noble, self-sacrificing women who did so much pioneer
work in order to bring about better laws for women and in order to
change the moth-eaten thought of the world.

Many felt somewhat discouraged when the election returns from New
Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York announced the defeat of the measure,
but really when we remember the long list of states that have equal
suffrage we have reason to rejoice and to take new courage. We now have
Wyoming, Kansas, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington,
Nevada, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, and Illinois, besides the
countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, New Zealand,
Australia, Nova Scotia, and some parts of England.

In the future when the cobwebs have all been swept from the mind of the
world and everyone is enjoying the new atmosphere of equal rights only a
very few will realize the struggle these brave women endured in order
to bring about better conditions for the world.

_Statement by Lucy L. Correll_

Hebron, Thayer county, Nebraska, was the cradle of the Nebraska woman
suffrage movement, as this was the first community in the state to
organize a permanent woman's suffrage association.

Previous to this organization the subject had been agitated through
editorials in the Hebron _Journal_, and by a band of progressive,
thinking women. Upon their request the editor of the _Journal_, E. M.
Correll, prepared an address upon "Woman and Citizenship." Enthusiasm
was aroused, and a column of the _Journal_ was devoted to the interests
of women, and was ably edited by the coterie of ladies having the
advancement of the legal status of women at heart.

Through the efforts of Mr. Correll, Susan B. Anthony was induced to come
to Hebron and give her lecture on "Bread versus the Ballot," on October
30, 1877. Previous to this time many self-satisfied women believed they
had all the "rights" they wanted, but they were soon awakened to a new
consciousness of their true status wherein they discovered their
"rights" were only "privileges."

On April 15, 1879, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, upon invitation,
lectured in Hebron and organized the Thayer County Woman's Suffrage
Association. This society grew from fifteen, the number at organization,
to about seventy-five, many leading business men becoming members.

Other organizations in the state followed, and at the convening of the
Nebraska legislature of 1881, a joint resolution providing for the
submission to the electors of this state an amendment to section 1,
article VII, of the constitution, was presented by Representative E. M.
Correll, and mainly through his efforts passed the house by the
necessary three-fifths majority, and the senate by twenty-two to eight,
but was defeated at the polls.

During that memorable campaign of 1881-82, Lucy Stone Blackwell, and
many other talented women of note, from the eastern states, lectured in
Nebraska for the advancement of women, leaving the impress of the
nobility of their characters upon the women of the middle West.

The Thayer County Woman's Suffrage Association was highly honored, as
several of its members held positions of trust in the state association,
and one of its members, Hon. E. M. Correll, who was publishing the
_Woman's Journal_, at Lincoln, at the time of the annual conference of
the American Woman's Suffrage Association, at Louisville, Kentucky, in
October, 1881, was elected to the important position of president of
that national organization, in recognition of the work he had performed
for the advancement of the cause of "Equality before the Law."

This association served its time and purpose and after many years was
instrumental in organizing the Hebron Library Association.

The constitution and by-laws of this first woman's suffrage association
of the state are still well preserved. The first officers were: Susan E.
Ferguson, president; Harriet G. Huse, vice president; Barbara J.
Thompson, secretary; Lucy L. Correll, treasurer; A. Martha Vermillion,
corresponding secretary. Of these first officers only one is now



In 1869, Fayette Kingsley and family resided on the Haney homestead at
the southeast corner of Hebron, where Mr. Haney had been brutally
murdered in the presence of his three daughters in 1867, the daughters
escaping and eventually reaching their home, "back east."

On May 26, 1869, "Old Daddy" Marks, accompanied by a young man for
protection, drove over from Rose creek to warn Kingsley's that the
Indians were on a raid. While they were talking, Mr. Kingsley heard the
pit-pat of the Indian horses on the wet prairie. From the west were
riding thirty-six Indians, led by a white man, whose hat and fine boots
attracted attention in contrast to the bare-headed Indians wearing

In the house were enough guns and revolvers to shoot sixty rounds
without loading. When Mrs. Kingsley saw the Indians approaching she
scattered the arms and ammunition on the table where the men could get
them. There were two Spencer carbines, a double-barreled shotgun, and
two navy revolvers, besides other firearms.

Mr. Kingsley and Charlie Miller (a young man from the East who was
boarding with them) went into the house, got the guns, and leveled them
on the Indians, who had come within 250 yards of the log-house, but who
veered off on seeing the guns. One of the party at the house exclaimed,
"The Indians are going past and turning off!" Mr. Marks then said, "Then
for God's sake, don't shoot!"

The Indians went on down the river and drove away eleven of King
Fisher's horses. Two of Fisher's boys lay concealed in the grass and saw
the white leader of the Indians remove his hat, showing his close-cut
hair. He talked the Indian language and ordered the redskins to drive up
a pony, which proved to be lame and was not taken. The Indians continued
their raid nearly to Meridian.

Meanwhile at Kingsley's preparations were made for a hurried flight. Mr.
Marks said he must go home to protect his own family on Rose creek, but
the young man accompanying him insisted that he cross the river and
return by way of Alexander's ranch on the Big Sandy, as otherwise they
would be following the Indians. Mr. Kingsley, with his wife and three
children, went with them to Alexander's ranch, staying there two weeks
until Governor Butler formed a company of militia composed of the
settlers, to protect the frontier. A company of the Second U. S. Cavalry
was sent here and stationed west of Hackney, later that summer. The
Indians killed a man and his son, and took their horses, less than two
miles from the soldiers' camp.

On returning to the homestead, two cows and two yoke of oxen were found
all right. Before the flight, Mr. Kingsley had torn down the pen,
letting out a calf and a pig. Sixty days later, on recovering the pig,
Mr. Kingsley noticed a sore spot on its back, and he pulled out an arrow
point about three inches long.

The Indians had taken all the bedding and eatables, even taking fresh
baked bread out of the oven. They tore open the feather-bed and
scattered the contents about--whether for amusement or in search of
hidden treasures is not known. They found a good pair of boots, and cut
out the fine leather tops (perhaps for moccasins) but left the heavy
soles. From a new harness they also took all the fine straps and left
the tugs and heavy leather. They had such a load that at the woodpile
they discarded Mr. Kingsley's double-barreled shotgun, which had been
loaded with buckshot for them.

Captain Wilson, a lawyer who boarded with Mr. Kingsley, had gone to warn
King Fisher, leaving several greenbacks inside a copy of the Nebraska
statutes. These the Indians found and appropriated--perhaps their white
leader was a renegade lawyer accustomed to getting money out of the

In 1877 Mr. Kingsley's family had a narrow escape from death in a
peculiar manner. After a heavy rain the walls of his basement caved in.
His children occupied two beds standing end to end and filling the end
of the basement. When the rocks from the wall caved in, both beds were
crushed to the floor and a little pet dog on one of the beds was killed,
but the children had no bones broken. Presumably the bedding protected
them and the breaking of the bedsteads broke the jar of the rocks on
their bodies.

Mr. Kingsley has a deeply religious nature, and believes that Divine
protection has been with him through life.



In September, 1884, Rev. E. A. Russell was transferred by the American
Baptist Publication Society from his work in the East to Nebraska, and
settled on an eighty-acre ranch near Ord. Mr. Russell had held
pastorates for twenty-six years in New Hampshire, New York, and Indiana,
but desired to come west for improvement in health. He was accompanied
by his family of seven. Western life was strange and exciting with
always the possibility of an Indian raid, and dangerous prairie fires.
It was the custom to plow a wide furrow around the home buildings as a
precaution against the latter.

The first year in Nebraska, our oldest daughter, Alice M. Russell, was
principal of the Ord school, and Edith taught in the primary grade.

On the fifth of August, 1885, late in the afternoon, a terrific
hail-storm swept over the country. All crops were destroyed; even the
grass was beaten into the earth, so there was little left as pasture for
cattle. Pigs and poultry were killed by dozens and the plea of a
tender-hearted girl, that a poor calf, beaten down by hailstones, might
be brought "right into the kitchen," was long remembered. Not a window
in our house remained unbroken. The floor was covered with rain and
broken glass and ice; and our new, white, hard-finished walls and
ceilings were bespattered and disfigured.

This hail-storm was a general calamity. The whole country suffered and
many families returned, disheartened, to friends in the East.

The Baptist church was so shattered that, for its few members, it was no
easy task to repair it. But they soon put it in good condition, only to
see it utterly wrecked by a small cyclone the following October.

The income that year from a forty-acre cornfield was one small "nubbin"
less than three inches in length.

All these things served to emphasize the heart-rending stories we had
heard of sufferings of early pioneers. The nervous shock sustained by
the writer was so great that a year elapsed before she was able to see
clearly, or to read. As she was engaged on the four years' post-graduate
course of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, her eldest son
read aloud to her during that year and her work was completed at the
same time as he and his younger sister graduated with the class of 1887.

Some time later the writer organized a Chautauqua Circle, Ord's first
literary society. Its president was a Mr. King and its secretary E. J.
Clements, now of Lincoln, Nebraska.

During our second winter in Nebraska the writer did not see a woman to
speak to after her daughters went to their schools in Lincoln, where one
was teaching and the other a University pupil.

Of the "Minnie Freeman Storm" in January, 1888, all our readers have
doubtless heard. Our two youngest boys were at school a mile away; but
fortunately we lived south of town and they reached home in safety.

In 1881 Fort Hartsuff, twelve miles away, had been abandoned. The
building of this fort had been the salvation of pioneers, giving them
work and wages after the terrible scourge of locusts in 1874. It was
still the pride of those who had been enabled to remain in the desolated
country and we heard much about it. So, when a brother came from New
England to visit an only sister on the "Great American Desert," we took
an early start one morning and visited "The Fort." The buildings, at
that time, were in fairly good condition. Officers' quarters, barracks,
commissary buildings, stables, and other structures were of concrete, so
arranged as to form a hollow square; and, near by on a hill, was a
circular stockade, which was said to be connected with the fort by an
underground passage.

A prominent figure in Ord in 1884 was an attractive young lady who later
married Dr. F. D. Haldeman. In 1904 Mrs. Haldeman organized _Coronado_
chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Her sister, Dr. Minerva
Newbecker, has practiced medicine in Ord for many years. Another sister,
Clara Newbecker, has long been a teacher in the public schools of
Chicago. These three sisters, who descended from Lieutenant Philip
Newbecker, of Revolutionary fame, and Mrs. Nellie Coombs, are the only
living charter members of _Coronado_ chapter. The chapter was named in
honor of that governor of New Galicia in Mexico who is supposed to have
passed through some portion of our territory in 1540 when he fitted out
an expedition to seek and christianize the people of that wonderful
region where "golden bells and dishes of solid gold" hung thick upon the

About all that is definitely known is that he set up a cross at the big
river, with the inscription: "Thus far came Francisco de Coronado,
General of an expedition."

And now, in 1915, the family of seven, by one marriage after another,
has dwindled to a lonely--two.

The head of our household, with recovered health, served his
denomination twenty years in this great field, comprising Nebraska,
Upper Colorado, and Wyoming. He retired in 1904 to the sanctuary of a
quiet home.



I reached Fort Calhoun in May, 1856, with my friends, Mr. and Mrs. John
Allen; coming with team and wagon from Edgar county, Illinois. I was
then eleven years old. Fort Calhoun had no soldiers, but some of the
Fort Atkinson buildings were still standing. I remember the liberty
pole, the magazine, the old brick-yard, at which places we children
played and picked up trinkets. There was one general store then, kept by
Pink Allen and Jascoby, and but few settlers. Among those I remember
were, my uncle, Thomas Allen; E. H. Clark, a land agent; Col. Geo.
Stevens and family, who started a hotel in 1856, and Orrin Rhoades,
whose family lived on a claim five miles west of town. That summer my
father took a claim near Rhoades', building a log house and barn at the
edge of the woods. We moved there in the fall, and laid in a good supply
of wood for the huge fireplace, used for cooking as well as heating. Our
rations were scanty, consisting of wild game for meat, corn bread,
potatoes and beans purchased at Fort Calhoun. The next spring we cleared
some small patches for garden and corn, which we planted and tended with
a hoe. There were no houses between ours and Fort Calhoun, nor any
bridges. Rhoades' house and ours were the only ones between Fontenelle
and Fort Calhoun. Members of the Quincy colony at Fontenelle went to
Council Bluffs for flour and used our place as a half-way house,
stopping each way over night. How we children did enjoy their company,
and stories of the Indians. We were never molested by the red men, only
that they would come begging food occasionally.

I had no schooling until 1860 when I worked for my board in Fort Calhoun
at E. H. Clark's and attended public school a few months. The next two
years I did likewise, boarding at Alex. Reed's.

From 1866 to 1869 inclusive I cut cord-wood and railroad ties which I
hauled to Omaha for use in the building of the Union Pacific railroad.
I received from $8.00 to $15.00 per cord for my wood, and $1.00 each for

Deer were plentiful and once when returning from Omaha I saw an old deer
and fawn. Unhitching my team I jumped on one horse and chased the young
one down, caught and tamed it. I put a bell on its neck and let it run
about at will. It came to its sleeping place every night until the next
spring when it left, never to be seen by us again.

In the fall of 1864 I was engaged by Edward Creighton to freight with a
wagon train to Denver, carrying flour and telegraph supplies. The cattle
were corralled and broke at Cole's creek, west of Omaha known then as
"Robber's Roost," and I thought it great fun to yoke and break those
wild cattle. We started in October with forty wagons, seven yoke of oxen
to each wagon. I went as far as Fort Cottonwood, one hundred miles
beyond Fort Kearny, reaching there about November 20. There about a
dozen of us grew tired of the trip and turned back with a wagon and one
ox team. On our return, at Plum creek, thirty-fives miles west of Fort
Kearny we saw where a train had been attacked by Indians, oxen killed,
wagons robbed and abandoned. We waded the rivers, Loup Fork and Platte,
which was a cold bath at that time of year.

I lived at this same place in the woods until I took a homestead three
miles farther west in 1868.

My father's home was famous at that time, also years afterward, as a
beautiful spot, in which to hold Fourth of July celebrations, school
picnics, etc., and the hospitality and good cooking of my mother, "Aunt
Polly Allen" as she was familiarly called, was known to all the early
settlers in this section of the country.



I came to Washington county, Nebraska, with my parents in the fall of
1865, by ox team from Indiana. We stopped at Rockport, where father and
brothers got work at wood chopping. They built a house by digging into a
hill and using logs to finish the front. The weather was delightful, and
autumn's golden tints in the foliage were beautiful.

We gathered hazel nuts and wild grapes, often scaring a deer from the
underbrush. Our neighbors were the Shipleys, who were very hospitable,
and shared their garden products with us.

During the winter father bought John Frazier's homestead, but our home
was still in a dugout, in which we were comfortable. We obtained all
needed supplies from Fort Calhoun or Omaha.

In the spring Amasa Warrick, from Cuming City, came to our home in
search of a teacher and offered me the position, which I accepted. Elam
Clark of Fort Calhoun endorsed my teacher's certificate. I soon
commenced teaching at Cuming City, and pupils came for miles around. I
boarded at George A. Brigham's. Mr. Brigham was county surveyor,
postmaster, music teacher, as well as land agent, and a very fine man.

One day, while busy with my classes, the door opened and three large
Indians stole in, seating themselves near the stove. I was greatly
alarmed and whispered to one of my pupils to hasten to the nearest
neighbor for assistance. As soon as the lad left, one Indian went to the
window and asked "Where boy go?" I said, "I don't know." The three
Indians chattered together a moment, and then the spokesman said. "I
kill you sure," but seeing a man coming in the distance with a gun, they
all hurried out and ran over the hill.

I taught at Cuming City until the school fund was exhausted, and by that
time the small schoolhouse on Long creek was completed. Allen Craig and
Thomas McDonald were directors. I boarded at home and taught the first
school in this district, with fourteen pupils enrolled. At this time
Judge Bowen of Omaha was county superintendent, and I went there to have
my certificate renewed.

When all the public money in the Long Creek district was used up, I went
back to Cuming City to teach. The population of this district had
increased to such an extent that I needed an assistant, and I was
authorized to appoint one of my best pupils to the position. I selected
Vienna Cooper, daughter of Dr. P. J. Cooper. I boarded at the Lippincott
home, known as the "Halfway House" on the stage line between Omaha and
Decatur. It was a stage station where horses were changed and drivers
and passengers stopped over night.

At the close of our summer term we held a picnic and entertainment on
the Methodist church grounds, using the lumber for the new church for
our platform and seats. This entertainment was pronounced the grandest
affair ever held in the West.

The school funds of the Cuming City district being again exhausted, I
returned to Long Creek district in the fall of 1867, and taught as long
as there was any money in the treasury. By that time the village of
Blair had sprung up, absorbing Cuming City and De Soto, and I was
employed to teach in their new log schoolhouse. T. M. Carter was
director of the Blair district. Orrin Colby of Bell Creek, was county
superintendent, and he visited the schools of the county, making the
rounds on foot. I taught at Blair until April, 1869, when I was married
to William Henry Allen, a pioneer of Fort Calhoun. Our license was
issued by Judge Stilts of Fort Calhoun, where we were married by Dr.
Andrews. We raised our family in the Long Creek district, and still
reside where we settled in those pioneer days.



I came to Nebraska in the spring of 1857 from Edgar county, Illinois,
with my husband, Thomas Frazier, and small daughter, Mary. We traveled
in a wagon drawn by oxen, took a claim one and one-half miles south of
Fort Calhoun and thought we were settling near what would be Nebraska's
metropolis. My husband purchased slabs at the saw mill at Calhoun and
built our shanty of one room with a deck roof. For our two yoke of oxen
he made a shed of poles and grass and we all were comfortable and happy
in our new home. In the spring Mr. Frazier broke prairie, put in the
most extensive crops hereabouts, for my husband was young and ambitious.
We had brought enough money with us to buy everything obtainable in this
new country, but he would often say, "I'd hate to have the home folks
see how you and Mary have to live." Deer were a common sight and we ate
much venison; wild turkeys were also plentiful. They could be heard
every morning and my husband would often go in our woods and get one for
our meat.

In 1859 he went to Boone county, Iowa, and bought a cow, hauling her
home in a wagon. She soon had a heifer calf and we felt that our herd
was well started. The following winter was so severe that during one
storm we brought the cow in our house to save her. The spring of 1860
opened up fine and as we had prospered and were now making money from
our crops we built us a frame house, bought a driving team, cows, built
fences, etc. I still own this first claim, and although my visions of
Fort Calhoun were never realized I know of no better place in which to
live and my old neighbors, some few of whom are still here, proved to be
everlasting friends.



Mother Bouvier, a kind old soul, who settled in De Soto in the summer of
1855, had many hardships. Just above her log house, on the ridge, was
the regular Indian trail and the Indians made it a point to stop at our
house regularly, as they went to Fort Calhoun or to Omaha. She
befriended them many times and they always treated her kindly. "Omaha
Mary," who was often a caller at our house was always at the head of her
band. She was educated and could talk French well to us. What she said
was law with all the Indians. Our creek was thick with beavers and as a
small boy I could not trap them, but she could, and had her traps there
and collected many skins from our place. I wanted her to show me the
trick of it, but she would never allow me to follow her. At one time I
sneaked along and she caught me in the act and grabbed me by the collar
and with a switch in her hand, gave me a severe warming. This same squaw
was an expert with bow and arrow, and I have seen her speedily cross the
Missouri river in a canoe with but one oar. Our wall was always black
and greasy by the Indians sitting against it while they ate the plates
of mush and sorghum my mother served them. I have caught many buffalo
calves out on the prairies, and one I brought to our De Soto home and
tamed it. My sister Adeline and myself tried to break it to drive with
an ox hitched to a sled, but never succeeded to any great extent. One
day Joseph La Flesche came along and offered us $50.00 for it and we
sold it to him but he found he could not separate it from our herd, so
bought a heifer, which it would follow and Mr. Joseph Boucha and myself
took them up to the reservation for him. He entertained us warmly at his
Indian quarters for two or three days. I have cured many buffalo steak
(by the Indian method) and we used the meat on our table.



In the spring of 1855, with my brother, Alex Carter, E. P. and D. D.
Stout, I left the beautiful hills and valleys of Ohio, to seek a home in
the west. After four weeks of travel by steamboat and stage, horseback
and afoot, we reached the town of Omaha, then only a small village. It
took us fourteen days to make the trip from St. Louis to Omaha.

While waiting at Kanesville or Council Bluffs as it is now called, we
ascended the hills back of the town and gazed across to the Nebraska
side. I thought of Daniel Boone as he wandered westward on the Kentucky
hills looking into Ohio. "Fair was the scene that lay before the little
band, that paused upon its toilsome way, to view the new found land."

At St. Mary we met Peter A. Sarpy. He greeted us all warmly and invited
all to get out of the stage and have a drink at his expense. As an
inducement to settle in Omaha, we were each offered a lot anywhere on
the townsite, if we would build on it, but we had started for De Soto,
Washington county, and no ordinary offer could induce us to change our

We thought that with such an excellent steamboat landing and quantities
of timber in the vicinity, De Soto had as good a chance as Omaha to
become the metropolis. We reached De Soto May 14, 1855, and found one
log house finished and another under way. Zaremba Jackson, a newspaper
man, and Dr. Finney occupied the log cabin and we boarded with them
until we had located a claim and built a cabin upon the land we
subsequently entered and upon which the city of Blair is now built.

After I had built my cabin of peeled willow poles the Cuming City Claim
Club warned me by writing on the willow poles of my cabin that if I did
not abandon that claim before June 15, 1855, I would be treated to a
free bath in Fish creek and free transportation across the Missouri
river. This however proved to be merely a bluff. I organized and was
superintendent of the first Sunday school in Washington county in the
spring of 1856.

The first board of trustees of the Methodist church in the county was
appointed by Rev. A. G. White, on June 1, 1866, and consisted of the
following members, Alex Carter, L. D. Cameron, James Van Horn, M. B.
Wilds, and myself. The board met and resolved itself into a building
committee and appointed me as chairman. We then proceeded to devise
means to provide for a church building at Cuming City, by each member of
the board subscribing fifty dollars. At the second meeting it was
discovered that this was inadequate and it was deemed necessary for this
subscription to be doubled. The church was built, the members of the
committee hewing logs of elm, walnut, and oak for sills and hauling with
ox teams. The church was not completely finished but was used for a
place of worship. This building was moved under the supervision of Rev.
Jacob Adriance and by his financial support from Cuming City to Blair in
1870. Later it was sold to the Christian church, moved off and remodeled
and is still doing service as a church building in Blair.

Jacob Adriance was the first regular Methodist pastor to be assigned to
the mission extending from De Soto to Decatur. His first service was
held at De Soto on May 3, 1857, at the home of my brother, Jacob Carter,
a Baptist. The congregation consisted of Jacob Carter, his family of
five, Alex Carter, myself and wife.

The winter before Rev. Adriance came Isaac Collins was conducting
protracted meetings in De Soto and so much interest was being aroused
that some of the ruffians decided to break up the meetings. One night
they threw a dead dog through a window hitting the minister in the back,
knocking over the candles and leaving us in darkness. The minister
straightened up and declared, "The devil isn't dead in De Soto yet."

I was present at the Calhoun claim fight at which Mr. Goss was killed
and Purple and Smith were wounded.

The first little log school was erected on the townsite of Blair, the
patrons cutting and hauling the lumber. I was the first director and
Mrs. William Allen _nee_ Emily Bottorff, first teacher.

I served as worthy patriarch of the First Sons of Temperance
organization in the county and lived in De Soto long enough to see the
last of the whiskey traffic banished from that township.

I have served many years in Washington county as school director,
justice of the peace, and member of the county board.

In October, 1862, I joined the Second Nebraska cavalry for service on
the frontier. Our regiment lost a few scalps and buried a number of
Indians. We bivouacked on the plains, wrapped in our blankets, while the
skies smiled propitiously over us and we dreamed of home and the girls
we left behind us, until reveille called to find the drapery of our
couch during the night had been reinforced by winding sheets of drifting



E. H. Clark came from Indiana in March, 1855, with Judge James Bradley,
and was clerk of the district court in Nebraska under him. He became
interested in Fort Calhoun, then the county-seat of Washington county.
The town company employed him to survey it into town lots, plat the
same, and advertise it. New settlers landed here that spring and lots
were readily sold. In June, 1855, Mr. Clark contracted with the
proprietors to put up a building on the townsite for a hotel; said
building to be 24x48 feet, two stories high, with a wing of the same
dimensions; the structure to be of hewn logs and put up in good style.
For this he was to receive one-ninth interest in the town. Immediately
he commenced getting out timber, boarding in the meantime with Major
Arnold's family, and laboring under many disadvantages for want of
skilled labor and teams, there being but one span of horses and seven
yoke of cattle in the entire precinct at this time. What lumber was
necessary for the building had to be obtained from Omaha at sixty
dollars per thousand and hauled a circuitous route by the old Mormon
trail. As an additional incident to his trials, one morning at breakfast
Mr. Clark was told by Mrs. Arnold that the last mouthful was on the
table. Major Arnold was absent for supplies and delayed, supposedly for
lack of conveyance; whereupon Mr. Clark procured two yoke of oxen and
started at once for Omaha for provisions and lumber. Never having driven
oxen before he met with many mishaps. By traveling all night through
rain and mud he reached sight of home next day at sunrise, when the oxen
ran away upsetting the lumber and scattering groceries all over the
prairies. Little was recovered except some bacon and a barrel of flour.

Finally the hotel was ready for occupancy and Col. George Stevens with
his family took up their residence there. It was the best hostelry in
the west. Mr. Stevens was appointed postmaster and gave up one room to
the office. The Stevens family were very popular everywhere.

Mr. and Mrs. John B. Kuony were married at the Douglas house, Omaha,
about 1855 and came to the new hotel as cooks; but soon afterward
started a small store which in due time made them a fortune. This
couple were also popular in business, as well as socially.

In March, 1856, my husband sent to Indiana for me. I went to St. Louis
by train, then by boat to Omaha. I was three weeks on the boat, and had
my gold watch and chain stolen from my cabin enroute. I brought a set of
china dishes which were a family heirloom, clothes and bedding. The
boxes containing these things we afterward used for table and lounge. My
husband had a small log cabin ready on my arrival.

I was met at Omaha by Thomas J. Allen with a wagon and ox team. He
hauled building material and provisions and I sat on a nail keg all the
way out. He drove through prairie grass as high as the oxen's back. I
asked him how he ever learned the road. When a boat would come up the
river every one would rush to buy furniture and provisions; I got a
rocking chair in 1857, the first one in the town. It was loaned out to
sick folks and proved a treasure. In 1858 we bought a clock of John
Bauman of Omaha, paying $45.00 for it, and it is still a perfect time

My father, Dr. J. P. Andrews, came in the spring of 1857 and was a
practicing physician, also a minister for many years here. He was the
first Sunday school superintendent here and held that office continually
until 1880 when he moved to Blair.

In 1858 the Vanier brothers started a steam grist mill which was a great
convenience for early settlers. In 1861 Elam Clark took it on a mortgage
and ran it for many years. Mr. Clark also carried on a large fur trade
with the Indians, and they would go east to the bottoms to hunt and camp
for two or three weeks.

At one time I had planned a dinner party and invited all my lady
friends. I prepared the best meal possible for those days, with my china
set all in place and was very proud to see it all spread, and when just
ready to invite my guests to the table, a big Indian appeared in the
doorway and said, "hungry" in broken accents. I said, "Yes I get you
some" and started to the stove but he said, "No," and pointed to the
table. I brought a generous helping in a plate but he walked out doors,
gave a shrill yell which brought several others of his tribe and they at
once sat down, ate everything in sight, while the guests looked on in
fear and trembling; having finished they left in great glee.



Alfred D. Jones, the first postmaster of Omaha, tells in the _Pioneer
Record_ of the first Fourth of July celebration in Nebraska.

"On July 4, 1854, I was employed in the work of surveying the townsite
of Omaha. At this time there were only two cabins on the townsite, my
postoffice building and the company claim house. The latter was used as
our boarding house. Inasmuch as the Fourth would be a holiday, I
concluded it would be a novelty to hold a celebration on Nebraska soil.
I therefore announced that we would hold a celebration and invited the
people of Council Bluffs, by inserting a notice in the Council Bluffs
paper, and requested that those who would participate should prepare a
lunch for the occasion.

"We got forked stakes and poles along the river, borrowed bolts of
sheeting from the store of James A. Jackson; and thus equipped we
erected an awning to shelter from the sun those who attended. Anvils
were procured, powder purchased and placed in charge of cautious
gunners, to make a noise for the crowd. The celebration was held on the
present high school grounds.

"The picnickers came with their baskets, and the gunner discharged his
duty nobly. A stranger, in our midst, was introduced as Mr. Sawyer, an
ex-congressman from Ohio."

I had a life-long acquaintance with one of those early picnickers, Mrs.
Rhoda Craig, a daughter of Thomas Allen, who built the first house in
Omaha. Mrs. Craig was the first white girl to live on the site of Omaha.
She often told the story of that Fourth of July in Omaha. Their fear of
the Indians was so great that as soon as dinner was over, they hurried
to their boats and rowed across to Council Bluffs for safety.

Another pioneer woman was Aimee Taggart Kenny, who came to Fontenelle
with her parents when a small child. Her father was a Baptist missionary
in Nebraska, and his earliest work was with the Quincy colony. I have
heard her tell the following experience:

"On several occasions we were warned that the Indians were about to
attack us. In great fear, we gathered in the schoolhouse and watched all
night, the men all well armed. But we were never molested. Another time
mother was alone with us children. Seeing the Indians approaching we
locked the doors, went into the attic by means of an outside ladder and
looked out through a crack. We saw the red men try the door, peep in at
the windows, and then busy themselves chewing up mother's home-made
hop-yeast, which had been spread out to dry. They made it into balls and
tossed it all away."

John T. Bell of Newberg, Oregon, contributed the following:

"I have a pleasant recollection of your grandfather Allen. My father's
and mother's people were all southerners and there was a kindliness
about Mr. and Mrs. Allen that reminded me of our own folks back in
Illinois. I often stopped to see them when going to and from the Calhoun

"I was also well acquainted with Mrs. E. H. Clark, and Rev. Mr. Taggart
and his family were among the most highly esteemed residents of our
little settlement of Fontenelle. Mr. Taggart was a man of fine humor. It
was the custom in those early days for the entire community to get
together on New Year's day and have a dinner at 'The College.' There
would be speech-making, and I remember that on one of these occasions
Mr. Taggart said that no doubt the time would come when we would all
know each others' real names and why we left the states.

"The experiences of the Bell family in the early Nebraska days were ones
of privation. We came to Nebraska in 1856 quite well equipped with
stock, four good horses, and four young cows which we had driven behind
the wagon from western Illinois. The previous winter had been very mild
and none of the settlers were prepared for the dreadful snow storm which
came on the last day of November and continued for three days and
nights. Our horses and cows were in a stable made by squaring up the
head of a small gulch and covering the structure with slough grass. At
the end of the storm when father could get out to look after the stock
there was no sign of the stable. The low ground it occupied was levelled
off by many feet of snow. He finally located the roof and found the
stock alive and that was about all. The animals suffered greatly that
winter and when spring came we had left only one horse and no cows. That
lone horse was picking the early grass when he was bitten in the nose by
a rattlesnake and died from the effects. One of those horses, 'Old Fox,'
was a noble character. We had owned him as long as I could remember, and
when he died we children all cried. I have since owned a good many
horses but not one equalled Old Fox in the qualities that go to make up
a perfect creature.

"After the civil war my brother Will and I were the only members of our
family left in Nebraska. We served with Grant and Sherman and then went
back to Fontenelle, soon afterward beginning the improvement of our farm
on Bell creek in the western part of the county. By that time conditions
had so improved in Nebraska that hardships were not so common. I was
interested in tree planting even as a boy and one of the distinct
recollections of our first summer in Nebraska was getting so severely
poisoned in the woods on the Elkhorn when digging up young sprouts, that
I was entirely blind. A colored man living in Fontenelle told father
that white paint would cure me and so I was painted wherever there was a
breaking out, with satisfactory results.

"Later the planting of cottonwood, box elder, maple, and other trees
became a general industry in Nebraska and I am confident that I planted
twenty thousand trees, chiefly cottonwood. To J. Sterling Morton, one of
Nebraska's earliest and most useful citizens, Nebraska owes a debt of
gratitude. He was persistent in advocating the planting of trees. In his
office hung a picture of an oak tree; on his personal cards was a
picture of an oak tree with the legend 'Plant Trees'; on his
letterheads, on his envelopes was borne the same injunction and the
picture of an oak tree. On the marble doorstep of his home was cut a
picture of an oak tree and the words 'Plant Trees'; on the ground-glass
of the entrance door was the same emblem. I went to a theater he had
built and on the drop curtain was a picture of an oak tree and the words
'Plant Trees.' Today the body of this useful citizen lies buried under
the trees he planted in Wyuka cemetery, near Nebraska City."



In 1855 an act was passed by the territorial legislature reorganizing
Washington county and designating Fort Calhoun as the county-seat.

De Soto, a small village five miles north of Fort Calhoun, wished the
county-seat to be moved there. In the winter of 1858 a crowd of De Soto
citizens organized and with arms went to Fort Calhoun to take the
county-seat by force. Fort Calhoun citizens barricaded themselves in the
log courthouse and held off the De Soto band until the afternoon of the
second day, when by compromise, the county-seat was turned over to De
Soto. One man was killed in this contest, in which I was a participant.

The county-seat remained in De Soto until an election in the fall of
1866 when the vote of the people relocated it at Fort Calhoun, where it
remained until 1869. An election in the latter year made Blair the

A courthouse was built in Blair, the present county-seat of Washington
county, in 1889, at a cost of $50,000.

     NOTE--In the early days every new town, and they were all new, was
     ambitious to become the county-seat and many of them hopefully
     sought the honor of becoming the capital of the territory.
     Washington county had its full share of aspiring towns and most of
     them really got beyond the paper stage. There were De Soto, Fort
     Calhoun, Rockport, Cuming City, and last but not least--Fontenelle,
     then in Washington county, now a "deserted village" in Dodge
     county. Of these only Fort Calhoun remains more than a memory. De
     Soto was founded by Potter C. Sullivan and others in 1854, and in
     1857 had about five hundred population. It began to go down in
     1859, and when the city of Blair was started its decline was rapid.
     Rockport, which was in the vicinity of the fur trading
     establishments of early days, was a steamboat landing of some
     importance and had at one time a population of half a hundred or
     more. Now only the beautiful landscape remains. Cuming City, like
     De Soto, received its death blow when Blair was founded, and now
     the townsite is given over to agricultural purposes.



When Nebraska was first organized as a territory, a party of people in
Quincy, Illinois, conceived the idea of starting a city in the new
territory and thus making their fortune. They accordingly sent out a
party of men to select a site.

These men reached Omaha in 1854. There they met Logan Fontenelle, chief
of the Omahas, who held the land along the Platte and Elkhorn rivers. He
agreed to direct them to a place favorable for a town. Upon reaching the
spot, where the present village is now situated, they were so pleased
that they did not look farther, but paid the chief one hundred dollars
for the right to claim and locate twenty square miles of land. This
consisted of land adjoining the Elkhorn river, then ascending a high
bluff, a tableland ideal for the location of the town.

These men thought the Elkhorn was navigable and that they could ship
their goods from Quincy by way of the Missouri, Platte, and Elkhorn

Early in the spring of 1855 a number of the colonists, bringing their
household goods, left Quincy on a small boat, the "Mary Cole," expecting
to reach Fontenelle by way of the Elkhorn; and then use the boat as a
packet to points on the Platte and Elkhorn rivers.

But the boat struck a snag in the Missouri and, with a part of the
cargo, was lost. The colonists then took what was saved overland to

By the first of May, 1855, there were sufficient colonists on the site
to hold the claims. Then each of the fifty members drew by lot for the
eighteen lots each one was to hold. The first choice fell to W. H.
Davis. He chose the land along the river, fully convinced of its
superior situation as a steamboat landing.

The colonists then built houses of cottonwood timber, and a store and
hotel were started. Thus the little town of about two hundred
inhabitants was started with great hopes of soon becoming a large city.

Land on the edge of the bluff had been set aside for a college building.
This was called Collegeview. Here a building was begun in 1856 and
completed in 1859. This was the first advanced educational institution
to be chartered west of the Missouri river.

In 1865 this building was burned. Another building was immediately
erected, but after a few years' struggle for patronage, they found it
was doomed to die, so negotiated with the people of Crete, Nebraska, and
the Congregational organizations (for it was built by the
Congregationalists) in Nebraska. It therefore became the nucleus of what
is now Doane College.

The bell of the old building is still in use in the little village.

The first religious services were held by the Congregationalists. The
church was first organized by Rev. Reuben Gaylord, who also organized
the First Congregational church in Omaha.

In Fontenelle the Congregationalists did not have a building but
worshiped in the college. This church has long since ceased to exist,
but strange as it may seem after so many years, the last regular pastor
was the same man, Rev. Reuben Gaylord, who organized it.

There was a little band of fifteen Methodists; this was called the
Fontenelle Mission. In 1857 an evangelist, Jerome Spillman, was sent to
take charge of this little mission. He soon had a membership of about
three score people. A church was organized and a building and parsonage
completed. This prospered with the town, but as the village began to
lose ground the church was doomed to die. The building stood vacant for
a number of years but was finally moved to Arlington.

The settlers found the first winter of 1855-56 mild and agreeable. They
thought that this was a sample of the regular winter climate; so when
the cold, blizzardy, deep-snow winter of 1856-57 came it found the
majority ill prepared. Many were living in log cabins which had been
built only for temporary use. The roofs were full of holes and just the
dirt for floors.

On awaking in the morning after the first blizzard many found their
homes drifted full of snow; even the beds were covered. The snow lay
four or five feet deep on the level and the temperature was far below

Most of the settlers lost all of their stock. Food was scarce, but wild
game was plentiful. Mr. Sam Francis would take his horse and gun and
hunt along the river. The settlers say he might be seen many times that
winter coming into the village with two deer tied to his horse's tail
trailing in the snow. By this means, he saved many of the colonists from

Provisions were very high priced. Potatoes brought four and five dollars
a bushel; bacon and pork could not be had at any price. One settler is
said to have sold a small hog for forty-five dollars; with this he
bought eighty acres of land, which is today worth almost one hundred
eighty dollars an acre.

A sack of flour cost from ten to fifteen dollars.

At this time many who had come just for speculation left, thus only the
homebuilders or those who had spent their all and could not return,

Then came trouble with the Indians. In the year 1859 the Pawnees were
not paid by the government, for some reason. They became desperate and
began stealing cattle from the settlers along the Elkhorn around
Fontenelle. The settlers of Fontenelle formed a company known as the
"Fontenelle Mounted Rangers," and together with a company sent out by
Governor Black from Omaha with one piece of light artillery, started
after the Pawnees who were traveling west and north.

They captured six prisoners and held them bound. While they were camped
for rest, a squaw in some way gave a knife to one of the prisoners. He
pretended to kill himself by cutting his breast and mouth so that he
bled freely. He then dropped as if dead. Amidst the confusion the other
five, whose ropes had been cut, supposedly by this same squaw, escaped.

As the settlers were breaking camp to still pursue the fleeing tribe,
they wondered what to do with the dead Indian. Someone expressed doubt
as to his really being dead. Then one of the settlers raised his gun and
said he would soon make sure. No sooner had the gun been aimed than the
Indian jumped to his feet and said, "Whoof! Me no sick!" They then
journeyed on to attack the main tribe. When near their camp the settlers
formed a semi-circle on a hill, with the artillery in the center.

As soon as the Indians saw the settlers, they came riding as swiftly as
possible to make an attack, but when within a short distance and before
the leader of the settlers could call "Fire!" they retreated. They
advanced and retreated in this way three times. The settlers were at a
loss to understand just what the Indians intended to do; but decided
that they did not know of the artillery until near enough to see it,
then were afraid to make the attack, so tried to scare the settlers, but
failing to do this they finally advanced with a white rag tied to a

The Indians agreed to be peaceable and stop the thieving if the settlers
would pay for a pony which had been accidentally killed, and give them
medicine for the sick and wounded.

Some of the men who took part in this fight say that if the leader had
ordered the settlers to fire on the first advance of the Indians every
settler would have been killed. There were twice as many Indians in the
first place and the settlers afterwards found that not more than
one-third of their guns would work; and after they had fired once, while
they were reloading, the Indians with their bows and arrows would have
exterminated them. They consider it was the one piece of light artillery
that saved them, as the Indians were very much afraid of a cannon. This
ended any serious Indian trouble, but the housewives had to be ever on
the alert for many years.

Each spring either the Omahas or Pawnees passed through the village on
their way to visit some other tribe, and then returned in the fall. Then
through the winter stray bands would appear who had been hunting or
fishing along the river.

As they were seen approaching everything that could be was put under
lock, and the doors of the houses were securely fastened. The Indians
would wash and comb their hair at the water troughs, then gather
everything about the yard that took their fancy. If by any chance they
got into a house they would help themselves to eatables and if they
could not find enough they would demand more. They made a queer
procession as they passed along the street. The bucks on the horses or
ponies led the way, then would follow the pack ponies, with long poles
fastened to each side and trailing along behind loaded with the baggage,
then came the squaws, with their babies fastened to their backs,
trudging along behind.

One early settler tells of her first experience with the Indians. She
had just come from the far East, and was all alone in the house, when
the door opened and three Indians entered, a buck and two squaws. They
closed the door and placed their guns behind it, to show her that they
would not harm her. They then went to the stove and seated themselves,
making signs to her that they wanted more fire. She made a very hot
fire in the cook stove.

The old fellow examined the stove until he found the oven door; this he
opened and took three frozen fish from under his blanket and placed them
upon the grate. While the fish were cooking, he made signs for something
to eat. The lady said she only had bread and sorghum in the house. This
she gave them, but the Indian was not satisfied; he made a fuss until
she finally found that he wanted butter on his bread. She had to show
him that the sorghum was all she had. They then took up the fish and
went out of doors by the side of the house to eat it. After they were
gone she went out to see what they had left. She said they must have
eaten every bit of the fish except the hard bone in the head, that was
all that was left and that was picked clean.

Among the first settlers who came in 1855 was a young German who was an
orphan and had had a hard life in America up to this time.

He took a claim and worked hard for a few years. He then went back to
Quincy and persuaded a number of his own countrymen to come out to this
new place and take claims, he helping them out, but they were to pay him
back as they could.

Years passed; they each and all became very prosperous. But this first
pioneer prospered perhaps to the greatest degree. The early settlers
moved away one by one; as they left he would buy their homes.

The houses were torn down or moved away, the trees and shrubs were
uprooted, until now this one man, or his heirs--for he has gone to his
reward--owns almost the whole of the once prosperous little village, and
vast fields of grain have taken the place of the homes and streets.

It is hard to stand in the streets of the little village which now has
about one hundred fifty inhabitants and believe that at one time it was
the county-seat of Dodge county, and that it lacked only one vote of
becoming the capital of the state. There are left only two or three of
the first buildings. A short distance south of this village on a high
bluff overlooking the river valley, and covered with oaks and
evergreens, these early pioneers started a city which has grown for many
years, and which will continue to grow for years to come. In this city
of the dead we find many of the people who did much for the little
village which failed, but who have taken up their abode in this
beautiful spot, there to remain until the end of time.

This story of Fontenelle has been gathered from my early recollections
of the place and what I have learned through grandparents, parents, and
other relatives and friends.

My mother was raised in Fontenelle, coming there with her parents in
1856. She received her education in that first college.

My father was the son of one of the first Congregational missionaries to
be sent there. I received my first schooling in the little village

[Illustration: MRS. WARREN PERRY

Eleventh State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1913-1914]


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wilkinson, early Nebraska settlers, were of English
birth, and came to America when very young. They met in Illinois and
were married in 1859 at Barrington. They moved to Louisiana, remaining
there until the outbreak of the civil war, when they returned to
Illinois for a short time, and then emigrated to the West, traveling in
a covered wagon and crossing the Missouri river on the ferry. They
passed through Omaha, and arrived at Elk City, Nebraska, July 27, 1864,
with their two children, Ida and Emma, who at the present time are
married and live in Omaha.

Soon after arriving in Elk City, Mr. Wilkinson lost one of his horses,
which at that time was a great misfortune. He purchased another from the
United States government, which they called "Sam" and which remained in
the family for many years.

At one time provisions were so high Mr. Wilkinson traded his watch for a
bushel of potatoes.

At that time land was very cheap and could be bought for from two to
five dollars per acre. The same land is now being held at two hundred
dollars per acre. Labor was scarce, with the exception of that which
could be obtained from the Indians. There were a large number of Indians
in that part of the country, and the settlers often hired the squaws to
shuck corn and cut firewood.

Mrs. Wilkinson has often told of the Indians coming to her door and
demanding corn meal or beef. They always wanted beef and would not
accept pork. They would come at night, look in at the windows, and call
for firewater, tobacco, and provisions. Their visits were so frequent
that Mrs. Wilkinson soon mastered much of their language and was able to
talk to them in their own tongue.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson first settled about twenty-five miles from Omaha
on the old military road. During the early days of their life there,
Mrs. Wilkinson made large quantities of butter for regular customers in
Omaha. They often arose at three o'clock, hitched up the lumber wagon,
and started for town, there to dispose of her butter and eggs and return
with a supply of provisions.

As a rule the winters were extremely severe and Mrs. Wilkinson has often
told of the terrible snow storms which would fill the chimneys so full
of snow it would be impossible to start a fire, and she would have to
bundle the children up in the bedclothes and take them to the nearest
house to keep from freezing.

During their second year in Nebraska they went farther west and located
at "Timberville," which is now known as Ames. There they kept a "ranch
house" and often one hundred teams arrived at one time to remain over
night. They would turn their wagons into an immense corral, build their
camp fires, and rest their stock. These were the "freighters" of the
early days, and generally got their own meals.

During their residence at Elk City, two more children were born, Nettie
and Will.

They continued to live on the farm until the year 1887, when they moved
to Blair, Nebraska, there to rest in their old age.

Mr. Wilkinson died July 18, 1912. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Lucy
Wilkinson, a son, Wm. W. Wilkinson, and two daughters, Mrs. J. Fred
Smith and Mrs. Herman Shields. Mrs. George B. Dyball, another daughter,
died May 13, 1914.



He glanced from the letter in his hand to the Indian woman sitting in
the door of the skin tipi, and the papoose on the ground beside her,
then down the river, his eyes moving on, like the waters, and seeing
some vision of his brain, far distant. After a time his gaze came back
and rested upon the woman and her babe again.

"If I could take the child," he murmured.

The squaw watched him furtively while she drew the deer sinew through
the pieces of skin from which she was fashioning a moccasin. She
understood, although spoken in English, the words he was scarce
conscious of uttering, and, startled out of her Indian instinct of
assumed inattention, looked at him with wide-opened eyes, trying to
fathom a matter hardly comprehended but of great moment to her.

"Take the child"--where, and for what? Was he going to leave and sail
down the great river to the St. Louis whence came all traders and the
soldiers on the boats? Going away again as he had come to her many
seasons ago? "Take the child," her child and his? Her mouth closed
firmly, her eyes darkened and narrowed, as she stooped suddenly and
lifted the child to her lap; and the Indian mother's cunning and
watchfulness were aroused and pitted against the white father's love of
his child.

Fort Atkinson was the most western post of the line established by
President Monroe in 1819, after the Louisiana Purchase, to maintain the
authority of the United States against Indian turbulence and British
aggression, and had been in existence about four years before our story

Here had been stationed the Sixth U. S. Infantry, who had wearily
tramped for two months the banks of the Missouri river and dragged their
boats after them, a distance of nearly a thousand miles of river travel
to reach this post in the wilderness. Not a white man then occupied what
is now the state of Iowa, except Julien Dubuque and a score or so of
French traders. Not a road was to be found nor a vehicle to traverse
it. But one or two boats other than keel boats and barges had ever
overcome the swift current of the great Missouri thus far.

The Santa Fe trail, that wound over the hills west of the fort,
connected them with the Mexican Spanish civilization of the Southwest,
and the great rivers with their unsettled land far away on the Atlantic

Seventy-five years ago these soldiers dropped the ropes with which they
had dragged the barges and keel boats and themselves thither, and
picking up spade and shovel, dug foundations, molded and burned brick,
cut down trees, and built barracks for themselves and the three
detachments of artillery who terrified the redmen with the mysterious
shells which dropped down amongst them and burst in such a frightful

They numbered about twelve hundred men, and the bricks they molded and
the cellars they dug still remain to tell of the Fort Atkinson that was,
beside whose ruins now stands the little village of Fort Calhoun,
sixteen miles north of Omaha on the Missouri river.

Dr. Gale, whom we have thus seen considering a question of great
importance both to himself and to the Indian woman with whom he seems to
have some relation, was the surgeon of the Sixth Infantry, an
Englishman, short, thick-set, and evidently of good birth, although the
marks of his rough life and rather dissolute habits obscured it in some

The point where Fort Atkinson was built was the noted "Council Bluff" at
which Lewis and Clark held the Indian council famous in the first annals
of western explorations, and it still remains a rendezvous for the
various tribes of Indians, the "Otoes, Pawnees, 'Mahas, Ayeaways, and
Sioux," attracted thither by the soldiers and the trading posts, and
secure from each others' attacks on this neutral ground.

Shortly after the troops were located here an Ayeaway (Iowa) chief and
his band pitched their tents near the fort. The daughter of this chief
was named Nikumi; she was young and had not been inured to the hard
tasks which usually fell to the squaws, so her figure was straight, her
eyes bright, and her manner showed somewhat the dignity of her position.

Not a white woman was there within a radius of five hundred miles except
a few married ones belonging to the fort; was it strange that Dr. Gale,
the younger son of an English family who had left civilization for a
life of adventure in the New World, and who seemed destined to dwell
away from all women of his own race, should woo this Indian princess and
make her his wife? He had chosen the best of her race, for all who
remember her in after years speak of her dignified carriage, her
well-formed profile, and her strength of will and purpose, so remarkable
among Indian women.

For four years she had been his wife, and the child she had just seized
and held in her arms as if she would never let her go, was their child,
little Mary, as her father named her, perhaps from his own name, Marion.

But now this union, which her unknowing mind had never surmised might
not be for all time, and his, alas, too knowing one had carelessly
assumed while it should be his pleasure, was about to be severed.

A boat had come up the river and brought mail from Chariton or La
Charette, as the Frenchmen originally named it, several hundred miles
below, and the point to which mail for this fort was sent.

These uncertain arrivals of news from the outside world made important
epochs in the life of the past. The few papers and letters were handled
as if they had been gold, and the contents were read and reread until
almost worn out. For Dr. Gale came a bulky letter or package of letters
tied together and sealed over the string with a circle of red wax. There
was no envelope, as we have now, but each letter was written so as to
leave a blank space after folding for the superscription, and the
postage was at least twenty-five cents on the three letters so tied
together. The postmark of the outer one was New York City; it was from a
law firm and informed Dr. Marion F. Gale, surgeon of the Sixth Infantry,
stationed at Fort Atkinson, the "camp on the Missouri river," that the
accompanying letters had been received by them from a firm of London
solicitors, and begging to call his attention to the same. His attention
being most effectually called thereto elicited first that Messrs.
Shadwell & Fitch of London desired them to ascertain the whereabouts of
Marion F. Gale, late of Ipswich, England, and now supposed to be serving
in the U. S. army in the capacity of surgeon, and convey to him the
accompanying information, being still further to the effect that by a
sudden death of James Burton Gale, who died without male issue, he,
Marion F. Gale, being next of kin, was heir to the estate of Burton
Towers, Ipswich, England. Last came a letter from the widow of his
brother, telling him the particulars of his brother's death.

Ten years before he had left home with a hundred pounds in his pocket
and his profession, to make himself a career in the new country.

There were two brothers older than he, one of them married, and there
seemed little prospect that he would ever become proprietor of Burton
Towers; but they, who lived apparently in security, were gone, and he
who had traversed the riverway of an unknown and unsettled country,
among Indians and wild animals, was alive and well to take their place.

He thought of the change, back to the quiet life of an English country
squire, after these ten years of the free life of the plains, and the
soldiers and the Indians. The hunting of the buffalo, the bear, and the
elk exchanged for the tame brush after a wild fox, or the shooting of a
few partridges.

But the family instinct was strong, after all, and his eye gleamed as he
saw the old stone house, with its gables and towers, its glorious lawns
and broad driveway with the elms meeting overhead. Oh, it would satisfy
that part of his nature well to go back as its master. This vision it
was that had filled his eyes as they looked so far away. But then they
came back again and rested on Nikumi and the child.

A certain kind of love had been begotten in his heart for the Indian
maiden by her devotion to him, although he had taken her without a
scruple at the thought of leaving her when circumstances called him
away. But now he felt a faint twinge of the heart as he realized that
the time had come, and a stronger one when he thought that he must part
with the child. "But why need I do it?" he soliloquized. "I can take the
child with me and have her educated in a manner to fit her for my
daughter; if she is as bright as her mother, education and environment
will fit her to fill any position in life, but with Nikumi it is too
late to begin, and she has no white blood to temper the wildness of the
Indian. I will take the child."

Not a care for the mother love and rights. "Only a squaw." What rights
had she compared with this English gentleman who had taken her from her
tribe, and now would cast her back again and take away her child? But
ah, my English gentleman, you reckoned without your ordinary sagacity
when you settled that point without taking into consideration the mother
love and the Indian cunning and watchfulness, their heritage from
generations of warfare with each other.

"What have you got?" she asked in the flowing syllables of the Indian
tongue, for like the majority of Indians, though she understood much
English she never, to the end of her days, deigned to speak it.

"Some words from my friends in the far-away country over the waters,
Nikumi," he answered. "My brother is dead."

"Ah, and you are sad. You will go there to that land?" she said.

"I don't know, Nikumi; I may have to go over, for there is much land and
houses and fields to be cared for. I am going down to see Sarpy, now. He
came up on the boat today."

She watched him as he strode off down past the cattle station towards
the fort. In the summer time her love of her native life asserted
itself, and she left the log quarters which Dr. Gale provided for her,
and occupied a tipi, or tent of skins, down among the cottonwoods and
willows of the bottom lands where portions of her tribe were generally
to be found. When he passed out of sight she took her baby and went to a
tipi a short distance from hers, where a stalwart buck lay on a shaggy
buffalo robe on the shady side, smoking a pipe of kinnikinick, and
playing with some young dogs. She spoke with him a few minutes. He
ceased playing with the dogs, sat up and listened, and finally with a
nod of assent to some request of hers started off towards the fort. She
followed shortly after and glided about from the post store to the
laundresses' quarters, stopping here and there where groups of soldiers
were gathered, and listening attentively to their talk about the news
that had come by the boats.

She learned that these boats were to be loaded with furs from Sarpy's
trading post and go back to St. Louis in a few days. In the meantime the
young buck, who was her brother, had gone by her directions to Sarpy's
trading post, just below the fort. She had told him what she knew and
surmised; that the "pale-faced medicine man," as the Indians called him,
had received a paper from his friends across the great waters towards
the rising sun which told his brother was dead, and that he might have
to go there to care for the houses and lands his brother had left; that
she had heard him say "If I could take the child," and she feared he
might take her papoose away; "and he shall not," she said passionately.
"I must know what he will do. Go you and listen if the medicine man
talks with Sarpy; watch him closely and find out all."

He had followed the Indian trail which skirted along the edge of the
high bluffs on the eastern boundary of the fort, and reached the trading
post from the north. Going in he uttered the single word "tobac," and
while the clerk was handing it out to him he glanced around in the
aimless, stolid Indian manner, as if looking over the blankets and skins
hung against the logs. Back at the further, or southwest, corner of the
store, near a window, and partially screened by a rude desk made of a
box set upon a table and partitioned into pigeon-holes, sat two men. One
of them was Dr. Gale, the other, Peter A. Sarpy.

To the ears of most readers the name will convey no particular
impression; if a resident of Nebraska it would call to mind the fact
that a county in that state was named Sarpy, and the reader might have a
hazy consciousness that an early settler had borne that name; but in the
days of this story and for thirty years later it meant power and fame.
The agent of the American Fur Company in that section, Peter A. Sarpy's
word was law; to him belonged the trading posts, or so it was believed;
he commanded the voyageurs who cordelled the boats and they obeyed.
Every winter he went down the great river before it was frozen over, to
St. Louis, and every spring his boats came up after the ice had broken
up, and before the great mountain rise came on in June, with new goods
that were anxiously looked for, and eagerly seized in exchange for the
buffalo robes, the beaver, mink, otter, and deer skins that had been
collected through the winter. He was of French parentage, a small man,
with the nervous activity of his race; the brightest of black eyes;
careful of his dress, even in the wilds; the polish of the gentleman
always apparent in his punctilious greeting to everyone; but making the
air blue with his ejaculations if his orders were disobeyed or his ire
aroused. Famous the length of the river for his bravery and
determination, he was a man well fitted to push actively the interests
of the company of which he was the agent as well as a member.

The Indian passed noiselessly out and going around to the side of the
building seated himself upon the ground, and pulling his long pipe from
the folds of his blanket, filled it with the "tobac," rested it on the
ground, and leisurely began to smoke. It was no unusual thing for the
Indians thus to sit round the post, and no one took any notice of him,
nor in fact that he was very near the open window, just out of the range
of vision of the two men sitting within.

"So upon me devolves the succession of the estate of Burton Towers,"
Gale was saying to Sarpy, "and my sister-in-law writes that some one is
imperatively needed to look after the estate as there is no male member
of the family left in England."

"And you will leave your wild life of the prairies to go back to the
tame existence of rural English life? Egad, I don't believe I could
stand it even to be master of the beautiful demesnes which belong to my
family. Power is sweet, but Mon Dieu, the narrowness, the
conventionalities, the tameness of existence!"

"No worse than the tameness of this cursed fort for the last year or
two. It was very well at first when the country was new to us and the
Indians showed some fight that gave us a little excitement, but now
we've exhausted all the resources, and an English squire, even, will be
a great improvement. You've some change, you know. St. Louis in winter
gives you a variety."

"What are you going to do with Nikumi and Mary?"

"That's what I want to talk to you about. I find I'm fonder of the child
than I thought, and indeed it gives my heartstrings a bit of a wrench to
leave Nikumi behind; but to take her is out of the question. Mary,
however, I can educate; she is bright enough to profit by it, and young
enough to make an English woman of. I believe I shall try to get her
away quietly, and take her with me."

"You ought to have lived here long enough to have some knowledge of the
Indians, but I'm damned if I think you are smart enough to get that
child away from its mother," said Sarpy.

"Well, I'll try it, anyway. The worst trouble I apprehend is getting
away myself at so short notice. When do your boats go down again?"

"In about a week."

"To leave the troops without any surgeon is rather risky, but they're
pretty healthy at this season, and young Carver has been studying with
me considerably, and can take my place for a short time. If I succeed in
getting leave of absence to go on to Washington, Atkinson will probably
send some one up from St. Louis as soon as possible. I shall have to get
leave of absence from Leavenworth here, and then again from Atkinson at
St. Louis. Then I can send in my resignation after I arrive at
Philadelphia. All this beside the intermediate hardships and delays in
reaching there."

To the Indian outside much of this was unintelligible, but he heard and
understood perfectly "I think I shall try to get her away from her
mother and take her with me," and later the reply that the boats would
go down in about a week.

That was sufficient for him, and he arose, gathered up his blanket that
had dropped down from his shoulders, slipped the pipe into his belt
which held it around his waist, and then his moccasined feet trod the
narrow trail, one over the other, the great toe straight in a line with
the instep, giving the peculiar gait for which the Indian is famous.

He found Nikumi back at her tipi: the kettle was hung from the tripod of
three sticks over the fire, and a savory smell arose which he sniffed
with pleasure as he approached, for Nikumi was favored above her tribe
in the supplies which she received from the camp, and which included
great luxuries to the Indians. Nikumi was very generous to her relatives
and friends, and often shared with them the pot which she had varied
from the original Indian dish of similar origin by diligently observing
the methods of the camp cooks.

She had learned to use dishes, too, and bringing forth two bowls, some
spoons, and a tin cup, ladled some of the savory mixture into them, for
she had evidently learned the same lesson as her white sisters: when you
would get the best service from a man, feed him well.

On the present site of Fort Atkinson may be found, wherever the ground
is plowed over or the piles of bricks and depressions that mark the
cellars of the buildings are overhauled, a profusion of old buttons,
fragments of firearms, cannon balls and shells, and many pieces of delf.
A quaint old antiquarian who lives there has a large collection of them
which he shows with delight.

Who knows but that some of the fragments are pieces of Nikumi's bowl,
for as her brother told her of Gale's words to Sarpy, her face added to
its bronze hue an indescribable grayish tinge, and starting suddenly,
the bowl fell from her hand, striking the stones which formed a circle
for the fire, and broke into fragments. She forgot to eat, and a rapid
flow of words from her lips was accompanied by gestures that almost
spoke. They should keep strict watch of the loading of the boats, she
said, and of the voyageurs in charge of them, and when they saw signs of
departure of them, she would take the child and go--and she pointed, but
spoke no word. He must make a little cave in the hillside, and cover it
with trees and boughs, and she would provide food. When the white
medicine man had gone he could tell her by a strip of red tied in the
branch of a tree like a bird, which could be seen down the ravine from
her hiding place, and she would be found again in her tipi as if she had
never been absent. He grunted assent as well as satisfaction at the
innumerable bowls of soup, and then stretched himself comfortably and
pulled out his pipe.

Meanwhile little Mary, the heroine of this intrigue, was eating soup and
sucking a bone contentedly. Would she be an Indian or an English maiden?
She was an Indian one now and happy, too. And Nikumi? She had come to
her white husband and remained with him contented and happy. He had been
good to her in the main, although he swore at her and abused her
sometimes when he got drunk or played at cards too long, but he was
better than the braves were to their squaws, and she did not have to
work as they did; she had wood and food and she could buy at the trading
post the blankets and the strouding and the gay red cloths, and the
beads with which the squaws delighted to adorn their necks and to stitch
with deer sinew into their moccasins. She had lived each day unconscious
that there might not be a tomorrow like it. But it had dropped from the
skies, this sudden knowledge that had changed everything.

Had she had no child she would doubtless have mourned silently for the
man who had come and taken her life to be lived beside his and then left
her worse than alone; but the greater blow had deadened the force of the
lesser, and only her outraged mother love cried out.

She sat on the buffalo robe inside the tipi and watched the child
rolling about outside with the little fat puppy, hugging it one moment,
savagely spatting it over the eyes the next. She had no right to rebel;
an Indian did what he would with his squaw, how much more a white man,
and to any decree concerning herself she would doubtless have submitted
silently, but to lose her child--that she would not do, and she knew how
to save it.

All unconscious of this intrigue, Gale made his preparations for
departure, and it was soon known through the camp that he was about to
go to the "states."

He had taken pains to conceal the fact of his intended final departure
for England.

He secretly made arrangements with the man who acted as cook for the
boats to take charge of little Mary until they got to St. Louis, where
they could get a servant, and going down the river would take but a few

Gale's condition of mind was not to be envied during the interval before
he started. He scarcely felt the injustice to Nikumi in thus leaving
her, but he could not quite reconcile with even his weak sense of her
rights that he should take the child away from her, and yet he fully
intended to do so. He spent much of the time with Nikumi at her summer
residence, the tipi, and she treated him with the same gentle deference
and quiet submissiveness that were usual to her, so completely deceiving
him that he did not once surmise she knew anything of his plans. The
last two or three days he occupied himself in packing a case of articles
of various kinds that he had accumulated: an Indian pipe of the famous
red pipestone of the Sioux country, with its long flat stem of wood cut
out in various designs and decorated with feathers and bits of metal;
moccasins of deer skin, handsomely beaded and trimmed with fringes, some
of them made by Nikumi's own hands; specimens of the strange Mexican
cloths woven from the plumage of birds, brought by the trading Mexicans
up the Santa Fe trail; a pair of their beautiful blankets, one robe, a
few very fine furs, among them a black bear skin of immense size, a
little mat woven of the perfumed grasses, which the Indians could find
but the white man never, some of the nose and ear rings worn by the

Nikumi came to his quarters while he was taking these things down from
the walls and shelves where she had always cared for them with so much
pride. In answer to her inquiring gaze he said: "I go Nikumi, to the far
eastern land, and these I shall take with me to show my friends what we
had that is beautiful in the land of the Indian and the buffalo, that
they wish to know all about." "And when will you return to Nikumi and
Mary?" "I can not tell; I hope before many moons; will you grieve to
have me go Nikumi?" "Nikumi will look every day to the rising sun and
ask the Great Spirit to send her pale-faced medicine man back safely to
her and the child." He put his arms about her with a strange spasm of
heart relenting, realizing for a moment the wrong he was purposing to
commit. But ah, the stronger taking advantage of the weaker. The strong
race using for their own pleasure the weak one. "Ye that are strong
ought to help the weak." He also prepared at Sarpy's trading post, and
by his advice, a smaller package of such things as would be desirable
for little Mary's welfare and comfort.

It was greatly lacking in the articles we should consider necessary
these times, but when we realize that every piece of merchandise which
reached this far away post had to be transported thousands of miles by
river it is matter of wonder how much there was.

The morning of the day before the boats were to start he occupied
himself with some last preparations, giving Nikumi a number of articles
that she had used around his quarters to take to her tipi, and telling
her he would leave money with Sarpy so that she might get what was
necessary for herself and Mary. In the afternoon he went down to the
post and did not return to the quarters until late, where he supped at
the mess table and then went in the direction of Nikumi's tent. He had
devised, he thought, a cunning plan to get Nikumi to go the next morning
for some fresh leaves of a shrub which she often procured for him to mix
in his tobacco, and of which he was very fond; and after her departure
he would make for the boat and embark hastily with little Mary, whom he
would keep. Resolving the broaching of his plan as he approached the
tipi, he did not notice that it failed to show the usual signs of
habitation until he drew near when he observed that the kettle hanging
from the tripod over the circle of stones had no fire beneath it, and no
steam issuing from it, no dogs were playing about, and there was no sign
of Nikumi and little Mary. He began to look about for them; the flap of
skin usually fastened up to form a doorway was dropped down; he put it
up and stooping, entered the tipi. It was almost entirely empty; the
skins which had formed the beds were gone; the dishes seemed to be
there, but the food of which he knew she always kept a supply, was all
gone, and there were no signs of the articles of clothing belonging to
them. Sarpy's words come to him, "I'm damned if I think you are smart
enough to get the child away from its mother," and he knew that Nikumi
had outwitted him. He should never see mother or child again.

He turned and traced angrily the narrow trail to Sarpy's. Striding in
and down the low, dingy, fur odorous room to the rear where Sarpy sat
lazily smoking his pipe he exclaimed, "You were right, Sarpy, Nikumi has
gone with the child." Sarpy took his pipe from his mouth slowly, "Well
I'm sorry you are disappointed, but it will be better for you and the
child, too; she would have grieved herself to death, and worried you
almost to the verge of lunacy first, and you would have had the burden
on your conscience of Nikumi unhappy, and all for no good." "But I'll
not give her up. I had set my heart on it; I shall start a search party
for her at once." "And much good it will do you. There isn't a soldier
in your camp that can find what an Indian chooses to hide, if it is not
more than six feet away from him. You will only inform the camp of your
design and of the fact that a squaw has outwitted you."

Gale knew too well the truth of his statement, but he paced up and down
the building angrily for some time, determining at each turn towards the
door to start out at the head of a search party, but turning again with
an oath toward the rear as the futility of it all was forced upon him.

Sarpy regarded him quietly, a half smile in his eyes. He understood the
conflict of feelings, the pain at leaving Nikumi, not very great, but
enough to cause him some discomfort; the now added pain of separation
from the child, also; the chagrin at being outwitted by a squaw, and one
who had always seemed so submissive, and whom he had not dreamed
possessed so much acuteness; the English obstinacy aroused by
antagonism, all struggling against his knowledge that he could do
nothing. Sarpy in his place would have invoked all the spirits of the
darker regions, but he probably would never have put himself in a like
predicament. To his class, seekers of fortunes in the New World, the
Indian was simply a source of revenue and pleasure, treated fairly well
to be sure, because that was the better policy; while it suited their
convenience to use them they did so; when the need was supplied they
cast them off; possibly Gale, if he analyzed the situation at all,
thought the same, but under the present circumstances, a different set
of emotions dominated him. Nikumi, superior to her tribe, had inspired
inconveniently deep feelings, and he found his fatherly love a factor he
had not counted on.

At last he approached Sarpy, and throwing himself in a chair, took out
one of the two great soothers of man's woes, his pipe, lighted it and
proceeded to mingle its smoke with that of Sarpy's. "I suppose I shall
have to give it up, but I'm damned if I can submit to it with
equanimity, yet; outwitted by an apparently innocent and submissive
squaw, I suppose two months from now I'll be thanking my lucky stars
that I'm not saddled with a brat of an Indian, and at intervals
thereafter shall be falling upon my knees, and repeating the operation.
But I'm blessed if I can see it so now."

"Yes it will be better for you as well as the others, and as soon as you
get away from here you will view it very differently," said Sarpy.

And Nikumi in her cave dug into the bluff, held her baby tight in her
arms, and listened to every sound, while she watched by aid of the rude
but cunningly devised dark lantern, the reptiles and insects which
crawled about, moving only to dispatch a snake or two that were

Could Gale have seen her would he have relented and left the child to
her? Has it been the history of the union of the stronger and weaker
races that the stronger have given up their desires?

"You will have to look out for Mary, too, Sarpy, as you have promised to
do for Nikumi. I haven't any more money to leave with you at present,
but I will send you some from England. I don't want her to grow up
without any education at all, and have to slave and toil as squaws do
generally, nor Nikumi either." "I'll see to them," said Sarpy, briefly,
"there isn't much chance for education unless they keep up the post here
and she be permitted to learn with the white children; for I don't
suppose Nikumi will ever let her go away to school as Fontenelle sends
his boys, but she shall have what education she can get and Nikumi shall
not be obliged to go back to her tribe for support as long as I am
here," and the smoke of the Frenchman's and Englishman's pipes ascended
to ratify this compact.

The next day at sunrise the boats dropped swiftly down the river. A
figure at the stern of one of them watched until the last sign of the
landing place faded in the early morning light.

Dr. Gale had played a brief part in the settlement of a new country from
which he now disappeared as if he had never been.

In after years only the few who belonged to that early settlement
remembered that Mary was his child, and told of it sometimes, when they
recounted the adventurous life of those early days. A young man listened
to these reminiscences from the lips of the strange, irascible, but warm
hearted Frenchman, and treasured them in memory. Hence this true tale.
Nikumi released from her reptile inhabited cave by the little red bird
in the tree down the ravine, came back to her tipi. She had kept her
child but she had lost her lover and her life. How should she take it up
again? She had been always quiet and little given to the chatter and
laughter of the young squaws; she was only a little more quiet now, and
Mary's lot was decided; she would always be an Indian woman.

One day Sarpy came to her and told her that Gale had left money for her
and she was to come to the fort for what she wished. And after a time it
came to pass that Sarpy took her to wife as Gale had done. Perhaps that
was in his mind when he looked at Gale with a smile in his eyes; but
Nikumi would not listen to him till she had waited long, and until Sarpy
told her and she heard from others that Gale would never come again. And
she was his faithful wife for many years, occupying always, because of
her inherent dignity and real womanliness, a position high in the
estimation both of the white and the red men. Many tales are told of her
life with Sarpy, how at one time she carried him miles on her back when
he was stricken with fever in the mountains, until she brought him to
aid and safety. Another time when he had given orders that no more goods
should be given her from the post (she was always very liberal to her
relatives and he wished to check it) she quietly picked up two or three
bolts of calico, and walking to the river bank, threw them in; a second
armful followed, and then the enemy capitulated. And still another time
when Sarpy had bought a beautiful black mare, "Starlight," to minister
to the pleasure of a designing English widow, she one day quietly
appeared when the horse was driven round by Sarpy's black servant, and
ordered it taken to the stable, and enforced the order, too. But this is
another story.

In later years, as Sarpy's dominion ceased with the gradual decline of
the fur company, and he spent much of his time in St. Louis, Nikumi
lived with Mary, who had married an Indian like herself, with a mixture
of white blood in his veins, although he was French, and who occupied a
prominent position in one of the tribes to whom was given a distinct
reservation. From this mixture of English, French, and Indian bloods has
arisen a family which stands at the head of their tribe, and one member
who is known throughout this country. It is worthy of notice, too, that
with one exception it has been the women of the family who have shown
the qualities which gave them preëminence.

Nikumi died March 23, 1888, at the home of her daughter Mary; but her
children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren live to show that
sometimes the mixture of races tends to development of the virtues, and
not, as has been so often said, of the vices of both races.



Our two weeks' ride over Iowa prairies was ended and we had reached our
new home in Nebraska. I sat in the buggy, a child of twelve, with my
three-year-old brother beside me, on the eastern bank of the Missouri
river, while father went down where the ferry boat lay, to make ready
for our crossing.

In the doorway of a log cabin near by stood a young girl two or three
years older than I. We gazed at each other shyly. She was bare-headed
and bare-footed, her cheeks tanned, and her abundant black hair
roughened with the wind, but her eyes were dark and her figure had the
grace of untrammeled out door life. To my girl's standard she did not
appeal, and I had not then the faintest conception of the romance and
tragedy of which she was the heroine.

We gazed at each other until father gave the signal for me to drive down
on the clumsy raft-like boat behind the covered half-wagon half-carriage
that held the other members of our family, which I did in fear and
trembling that did not cease until we had swung in and out as the boat
strained at the rope to which it was attached, the waters of the "Old
Muddy," the like of which I had never seen before, straining and drawing
it down with the current, and a fresh spasm of fear was added as we
reached the far shore and dropped off the boat with a thud down into the
soft bank. We had reached Decatur, our future Nebraska home, adjoining
the Indian reservation with its thousand Omahas.

For a long time I did not know anything further of the girl of the log
cabin by the river side, only that they told us the family were named
Keyou and the men were boatmen and fishermen and ran the ferry. This
first chapter of my little story opened in the spring of 1863.

Six years later my girlhood's romance brought marriage with my
home-coming soldier, who in his first days in the territory of Nebraska
had passed through many of the romantic events that a life among the
Indians would bring, among them clerking in a trading post with one
"Billy" Becksted, now the husband of my maiden of the riverside log
cabin. And Billy and John always continued the comradeship of the free,
happy, prairie hunting life, riding the "buckskin" ponies with which
they began life together, although they came together from very
different walks of life.

And I learned of my husband that "Addie," as we had learned to call her,
young as she was when first I saw her, had been the wife of a Frenchman
named Jules, after whom the town of Julesburg (Colorado) is named, and
his dreadful death at the hands of one Slade was one of the stock
stories of the plains well known to every early settler.

Billy and Addie after a time drifted away from Decatur down the river
and we lost sight of them.

We, too, left the home town and became residents of Plattsmouth.

One day my husband, returning from a trip in the country said, "I ran
across Billy and Addie Becksted today and they were so glad to see me
that Addie put her arms round me and kissed me, with tears in her eyes."
Later we learned with sorrow that Billy was drinking and then that he
had come down to Plattsmouth and tried to find my husband, who was out
of town and had gone back home and when almost there had taken a dose of
morphine, and they had found him unconscious and dying near their log
cabin under the bluffs half a mile above the Bellevue station. And my
husband really mourned that he had not been at home, perhaps to have
kept good-hearted Billy from his woeful fate. After a time Addie married
Elton, a brother of Billy's, and one Sunday I persuaded my husband to go
down to them in their cabin under the bluffs.

"I have always wanted to get Addie to tell me her story of her life with
Jules," I said.

"I don't believe you can get her to talk about it," said Mac, "she never
speaks of it, Elton says."

We went, and they were delighted to see us, killed the fatted chicken
and gathered for us some of the wild berries that grew in the bluffs,
and then as we sat under the trees with the bluff towering above us, I
asked her for the story of her girlhood's days out on the plains, when
only a single house that sheltered three or four people was her home,
and not another for many miles.

"I was just a child," she said, "and Jules was more like my father than
my husband. But there were few women in the country in those days and
Jules said to my parents that he would take good care of me, and so they
gave me to him, and they went on to Denver. He had a man and his wife to
take care of the place and do the work, and I just did whatever I wanted
to. We were on the great trail to California and Pike's Peak and trains
would come by and purchase supplies from us, so I did not get lonesome.
Jules had had some trouble with a man named Slade a few years before and
had shot Slade, but had taken him to Denver and put him in a hospital
and paid to have him cared for and Slade and he had made it all up, my
husband thought. Slade's ranch was further west and on the other side of
his ranch Jules had another ranch with cattle on, and one day he started
off with two or three men to bring some of the cattle back. He had been
told that Slade had threatened to kill him but he did not believe it,
although he went armed and with good men, he thought. This time he did
not take me along as he had the cattle to drive. When he got near
Slade's place Slade and his gang came down on Jules and his men,
shouting and shooting, drove off Jules' men, took him and carried him to
Slade's ranch. One of Jules' men followed them and saw them tie Jules up
to a great box and then Slade stood a ways off with his rifle and shot
at Jules, just missing his ear or his neck or his hand that was
stretched out and tied; sometimes hitting him just enough to draw the
blood. He kept this up all the rest of the day and then towards night he
fired a shot that killed him. The boys who were with Jules came back to
us and told us what had been done. We were so frightened we did not know
what to do at first, for we expected every minute that Slade and his
gang would come and kill us. They did come the next day and carried off
a lot of the stuff we had in the trading post but did not do any harm to
us. The man and his wife that were with us and the boys then got a team
together and put enough stuff into the wagon to do us until we could get
to Denver. All the rest and the cattle I guess Slade got. Jules had
money in some bank in Denver, he had always said, but we never could
find it. I found my folks and after a while we came back here where we
had lived before we went to Denver."

She told her story in the simplest commonplace manner, but it did not
need any addition of word or gesture to paint on my memory for all time
the pathos beneath.

A girl of fourteen, happy and care-free under the protection of her
father husband one day, putting him in the place of father, and mother,
trusting to him, and suddenly standing beside the rude trading post way
out on the treeless spaces of the trail that seemed to come from
solitude and lead away to it again, and listening to the story of the
frightened cowboy on his broncho whose almost unintelligible words
finally made her understand that her protector, the kind man she had
learned to love, had died a death so horrible it would make the
strongest man shudder. And with only three or four frightened,
irresponsible people to save her, perhaps from a similar or worse fate?
But the women of the plains had but little childhood, and must act the
part that came to them no matter what it might be.

Afterward she told me more of her strange life with Jules, of his
fatherly, protecting care of her, of his good heart, of the trouble with
Slade, which was Slade's fault in the first place, and it was plain to
see the ideal that had always been cherished way down in her
subconsciousness of the man who played such an eventful but brief part
in her life. It was a wrong, perhaps, but natural feeling to have when I
found by after reading of annals of the plains that Slade died the death
that such a fiendish nature should have suffered.

Addie Becksted still lives in a little cabin down among the hills about
Bellevue, her children and grandchildren about her, and still bears
traces of the beauty that was hers as a girl. She is only about ten
miles distant from Omaha but has not visited it for years.

When I go to see her, as I do occasionally, she puts her arms about me
and kisses me on the cheek. And her still bright brown eyes look the
affection of all the years and events that we have known together.

It is well worth while to have these humble friends who have lived
through the pioneer days with us.



In the autumn of 1872 a group of men, some of whom were then prominent
in Nebraska history, Judge Elmer S. Dundy and Colonel Watson B. Smith,
and one who afterward achieved national fame as an American explorer,
Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, and another who has since become known
throughout Europe and America as a picturesque character and showman,
Colonel Wm. F. Cody, participated in what proved to be the last romantic
buffalo hunt upon the western plains of the state of Nebraska.

Elmer S. Dundy was a pioneer who had come to Nebraska in 1857. He had
been a member of the territorial legislature for two successive terms;
he was appointed a territorial judge in 1863, and became the first
United States district judge after the admission of the state into the
union. Colonel Watson B. Smith at that time held the office of clerk of
the United States district and circuit courts for the district of
Nebraska. Some years afterward he met a tragic death by being shot
(accidentally or by assassination) in the corridors of the federal
building in the city of Omaha. Colonel Smith was a lovable man, of the
highest unimpeachable integrity and a most efficient public officer.
There was also among the number James Neville, who at that time held the
office of United States attorney and who afterward became a judge of the
district court of Douglas county. He added zest, vim, and spirit by
reason of some personal peculiarities to be mentioned later on.

These men, with the writer of this sketch, were anxious to have the
experience and the enjoyment of the stimulating excitement of
participating in a buffalo hunt before those native wild animals of the
plains should become entirely extinct. To them it was to be a romantic
incident in their lives and long to be remembered as an event of pioneer
days. They enjoyed the luxury of a pullman car from Omaha to North
Platte, which at that time was little more than a railway station at
a division point upon the Union Pacific, and where was also located a
military post occupied by a battalion of United States cavalry.


Erected in Antelope Park, Lincoln, Nebraska, by Deborah Avery Chapter,
Daughters of the American Revolution, in memory of Mary M. A. Stevens,
First Regent of the Chapter (1896-1898). Dedicated, June 17, 1914. Cost

Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, a regular army officer and American
explorer, at one time commanded an arctic expedition in search of traces
of the remains of Dr. Franklin. At another time he was in command of an
exploring expedition of the Yukon river. At another time he commanded an
expedition into the northernmost regions of Alaska in the interest of
the New York _Times_. He also became a writer and the author of three
quite well known books: _Along Alaska's Great River_, _Nimrod in the
North_, and _Children of the Cold_.

At the time of which we are speaking Lieutenant Schwatka was stationed
at the military post at North Platte. He furnished us with the necessary
army horses and equipment for the hunting expedition, and he himself
went along in command of a squad of cavalry which acted as an escort to
protect us if need be when we should get into the frontier regions where
the Indians were at times still engaged in the quest of game and
sometimes in unfriendly raids.

William F. Cody, familiarly known as "Buffalo Bill," who had already
achieved a reputation as a guide and hunter and who has since won a
world reputation as a showman, went along with us as courier and chief
hunter. He went on similar expeditions into the wilder regions of
Wyoming with General Phil Sheridan, the Grand Duke Alexis, and others
quite equally celebrated.

This Omaha group of amateur buffalo hunters, led by Buffalo Bill and
escorted by Lieutenant Schwatka and his squad of cavalry, rode on the
afternoon of the first day from North Platte to Fort McPherson and there
camped for the night with the bare earth and a blanket for a bed and a
small army tent for shelter and cover.

On the next morning after a rude army breakfast, eaten while we sat
about upon the ground, and without the luxury of a bath or a change of
wearing apparel, this cavalcade renewed its journey in a southwesterly
direction expecting ultimately to reach the valley of the Republican. We
consumed the entire day in traveling over what seemed almost a barren
waste of undulating prairie, except where here and there it was broken
by a higher upland and now and then crossed by a ravine and
occasionally by a small stream of running water, along the banks of
which might be found a small growth of timber. The visible area of the
landscape was so great that it seemed boundless--an immense wilderness
of space, and the altitude added to the invigorating and stimulating
effect of the atmosphere.

We amateurs were constantly in anticipation of seeing either wild
animals or Indians that might add to the spirit and zest of the
expedition. There were no habitations, no fields, no farms. There was
the vast expanse of plain in front of us ascending gradually westward
toward the mountains with the blue sky and sunshine overhead. I do not
recollect of seeing more than one little cabin or one little pioneer
ranch during that whole day's ride. I do know that as the afternoon wore
on those of us who were amateur horsemen were pleased to take our turns
as the opportunity offered of riding in the army wagon which carried our
supplies, and leading our horses.

When the shades of night of the second day had come we had seen many
antelope and now and then heard the cry of the coyote and the wolf but
we had not seen any sign of buffalo, but we did receive information from
some cattlemen or plain wanderers that there was a band of roving
Indians in that vicinity which created in us a feeling of some
anxiety--not so much for our personal safety as that our horses might be
stolen and we be left in these remote regions without the necessary
facilities for traveling homeward.

Our camp for the night was made upon a spot of low ground near the bank
of a small creek which was bordered by hills on either side and
sheltered by a small grove of timber near at hand. The surrounding hills
would cut off the sight of the evening camp fires, and the timber would
obscure the ascending columns of smoke as they spread into space through
the branches of the trees.

The horses were picketed near the camp around the commissary wagon and
Lieutenant Schwatka placed the cavalrymen upon sentinel duty. The night
was spent with some restlessness and sleep was somewhat disturbed in
anticipation of a possible danger, and I believe that all of us rather
anxiously awaited the coming of the morning with the eastern sunlight
that we might be restored to that feeling of security that would come
with freedom of action and the opportunity for "preparedness." When
morning did come we had the pleasure of greeting each other with
pleasant smiles and a feeling of happy contentment. We had not been
molested by the Indians and our military sentinels had not seen them.

On the afternoon of the third day of our march into the wilderness we
reached the farther margin of a high upland of the rim of a plain, where
we had an opportunity of looking down over a large area of bottom land
covered by vegetation and where there appeared to be signs of water.
From this point of vantage we discovered a small herd of browsing
buffalo but so far away from us as to be beyond rifle range. These
animals were apparently so far away from civilization or human
habitation of any kind that their animal instinct gave them a feeling of
safety and security.

We well knew that these animals could scent the approach of men and
horses even when beyond the line of vision. We must study the currents
of the air and plan our maneuvers with the utmost caution if we expected
to be able to approach within any reasonable distance without being
first discovered by them.

We intrusted ourselves to the guidance of Buffalo Bill, whose experience
added to his good judgment, and so skilfully did he conduct our
maneuvers around the hills and up and down ravines that within an hour
we were within a reasonable distance of these wild animals before they
discovered us, and then the chase began. It was a part of the plan that
we should surround them but we were prudently cautioned by Mr. Cody that
a buffalo could run faster for a short distance than our horses.
Therefore we must keep far enough away so that if the buffalo should
turn toward any of us we could immediately turn and flee in the opposite
direction as fast as our horses could carry us.

I must stop for a moment to recite a romantic incident which made this
buffalo chase especially picturesque and amusing. Judge Neville had been
in the habit of wearing in Omaha a high silk hat and a full dress coat
(in common parlance a spiketail). He started out on this expedition
wearing this suit of clothes and without any change of garments to wear
on the hunt. So it came about that when this group of amateur buffalo
huntsmen went riding pell-mell over the prairies after the buffalo, and
likewise when pursued by them in turn, Judge Neville sat astride his
running war-horse wearing his high silk hat and the long flaps of his
spiketail coat floating out behind him on the breeze as if waving a
farewell adieu to all his companions. He presented a picture against the
horizon that does not have its parallel in all pioneer history.

It was entirely impossible for us inexperienced buffalo hunters while
riding galloping horses across the plains to fire our rifles with any
degree of accuracy. Suffice it to say we did not succeed in shooting any
buffalo and I don't now even know that we tried to do so. We were too
much taken up with the excitement of the chase and of being chased in
turn. At one time we were the pursuers and at another time we were being
pursued, but the excitement was so intense that there was no limit to
our enjoyment or enthusiasm.

Buffalo Bill furnished us the unusual and soul-stirring amusement of
that afternoon. He took it upon himself individually to lasso the
largest bull buffalo of the herd while the rest of us did but little
more than to direct the course of the flight of these wild animals, or
perhaps, more correctly expressed--to keep out of their way. It did not
take Buffalo Bill very long to lasso the large bull buffalo as his fleet
blooded horse circled around the startled wild animal. When evening came
we left the lassoed buffalo out on the plains solitary and alone,
lariated to a stake driven into the ground so firmly that we felt quite
sure he could not escape. It is my impression that we captured a young
buffalo out of the small herd, which we placed in a corral found in that

On the following morning we went out upon the plains to get the lassoed
buffalo and found that in his efforts to break away he had broken one of
his legs. We were confronted with the question whether we should let the
animal loose upon the prairies in his crippled condition or whether it
would be a more merciful thing to shoot him and put him out of his pain
and suffering. Buffalo Bill solved the vexatious problem by concluding
to lead the crippled animal over to the ranchman's house and there he
obtained such instruments as he could, including a butcher knife, a
hand-saw, and a bar of iron. He amputated the limb of the buffalo above
the point of the break in the bone and seared it over with a hot iron to
close the artery and prevent the animal from bleeding to death. The
surgical operation thus rudely performed upon this big, robust wild
animal of the prairie seemed to be quite well and successfully
performed. The buffalo was then left in the ranchman's corral with the
understanding that he would see it was well fed and watered.

We were now quite a way from civilization and near the Colorado border
line, and notwithstanding our subsequent riding over the hills and
uplands during the following day we did not discover any other buffalo
and those which had gotten away from us on the preceding day could not
be found. During that day we turned northward, and I can remember that
about noon we came to a cattleman's ranch where for the first time since
our start on the journey we sat down to a wooden table in a log cabin
for our noonday meal. During the afternoon we traveled northward as
rapidly as our horses could carry us but night came on when we were
twenty miles or more southwest of Fort McPherson and we found it again
necessary to go into camp for the night, sleeping in the little army
tents which we carried along with us in the commissary wagon.

Colonel Cody on this journey had been riding his own private horse--a
beautiful animal, capable of great speed. I can remember quite well that
Mr. Cody said that he never slept out at night when within twenty miles
of his own home. He declined to go into camp with us but turned his
horse to the northward and gave him the full rein and started off at a
rapid gallop over the plains, expecting to reach his home before the
hour of midnight. It seemed to us that it would be a desolate, dreary,
lonesome and perilous ride over the solitude of that waste of country,
without roads, without lights, without sign boards or guides, but
Buffalo Bill said he knew the direction from the stars and that he would
trust his good horse to safely carry him over depressions and ravines
notwithstanding the darkness of the night. So on he sped northward
toward his home.

On the next day we amateur buffalo hunters rode on to Fort McPherson and
thence to North Platte where we returned our army horses to the military
post with a debt of gratitude to Lieutenant Schwatka, who at all times
had been generous, courteous, and polite to us, as well as an
interesting social companion.

So ended the last romantic and rather unsuccessful buffalo hunt over the
western plains of the state of Nebraska--a region then desolate, arid,
barren, and almost totally uninhabited, but today a wealthy and
productive part of our state.

The story of the buffalo hunt in and of itself is not an incident of
much importance but it furnishes the material for a most remarkable
contrast of development within a period of a generation. The wild
buffalo has gone. The aboriginal red man of the plains has disappeared.
The white man with the new civilization has stepped into their places.
It all seems to have been a part of Nature's great plan. Out of the
desolation of the past there has come the new life with the new
civilization, just as new worlds and their satellites have been created
out of the dust of dead worlds.

There was a glory of the wilderness but it has gone. There was a mystery
that haunted all those barren plains but that too has gone. Now there
are fields and houses and schools and groves of forest trees and
villages and towns, all prosperous under the same warm sunshine as of a
generation ago when the buffalo grazed on the meadow lands and the
aboriginal Indians hunted over the plains.

[Illustration: MRS. CHARLES H. AULL

Twelfth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American
Revolution. 1915-1916]


BY MRS. CHARLES H. AULL, _State Regent_

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution was
organized in Washington, District of Columbia, October 11, 1890, and
incorporated under the laws of Congress, June 8, 1891. Its charter
membership numbered 818. Its declared object was:

     "To perpetuate the memory of the spirit of the men and women who
     achieved American Independence by the acquisition and protection of
     historical spots, and the erection of monuments; by the
     encouragement of historical research in relation to the Revolution
     and the publication of its results; by the preservation of
     documents and relics, and of the records of the individual services
     of revolutionary soldiers and patriots, and by the promotion of
     celebrations of all patriotic anniversaries.

     "To carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address
     to the American people, 'to promote, as an object of primary
     importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge,'
     thus developing an enlightened public opinion, and affording to
     young and old such advantages as shall develop in them the largest
     capacity for performing the duties of American citizens.

     "To cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American
     freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid
     in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty."

Although there were previously some "members at large" in Nebraska, no
chapter had been organized until the formation of Deborah Avery chapter
in 1896. At present (1916) there are thirty-three chapters with a
membership of fifteen hundred, and a well organized state society
actively engaged in historical, educational, and patriotic work. Each
chapter pays to the state society a per capita tax of twenty-five cents.
A conference is held annually to plan the state work and promote the
purposes of the national society.

Mrs. Charlotte F. Palmer of Omaha was appointed by the national society
as organizing regent for Nebraska, June 7, 1894. She was reappointed in
February, 1895, and again in February, 1896.

No chapters were formed until in 1896, when Mary M. A. Stevens of
Lincoln was admitted to membership in the national society, January 8,
and was made organizing regent by Mrs. Philip Hichborn, vice-president
general in charge of organization. Under the direction of Miss Stevens,
Deborah Avery chapter was formed May 15, 1896, and chartered June 17

In May, 1896, Mrs. Laura B. Pound of Lincoln was appointed state regent
to succeed Mrs. Palmer and the real work of organization was begun.

Omaha chapter was formed June 29, 1896, and approved by the national
society October 1, 1896. In December, 1896, Mrs. Elizabeth C. Langworthy
was appointed organizing regent at Seward but a chapter was not
completed there until nine years later. In February, 1897, Mary M. A.
Stevens of Deborah Avery chapter and Mrs. Henry L. Jaynes of Omaha
chapter were delegates to the continental congress at Washington. Miss
Stevens nominated Mrs. Pound for state regent and Mrs. Jaynes nominated
Mrs. John M. Thurston of Omaha for vice-president general from Nebraska.
Their election followed. Mrs. Thurston died March 14, 1898, and her
sister-in-law, Mrs. Angie Thurston Newman of Lincoln was elected at the
following congress to succeed her. No new chapters were perfected in
1897 but Minnie Shedd Cline of Minden and Mrs. Sarah G. Bates of
Valentine were appointed organizing regents.

Mrs. Frances Avery Haggard of Lincoln was elected state regent by the
continental congress in February, 1898. She devoted her energies to
raising money and supplies for the relief work undertaken by the
Daughters during the Spanish-American war. At the close of her first
term Mrs. Haggard declined a renomination.

The third state regent was Mrs. Elizabeth Towle of Omaha, who was first
elected in 1899 and reëlected in 1900. Miss Anna Day of Beatrice was
appointed organizing regent by Mrs. Towle.

In 1901 Mrs. Laura B. Pound was again elected state regent and served
two terms. The national society having made provision for state
vice-regents, Mrs. Mildred L. Allee of Omaha was elected to that office.
Mrs. Annie Strickland Steele was appointed organizing regent at
Fairbury, Mrs. Janet K. Hollenbeck at Fremont, and Mrs. Olive A.
Haldeman at Ord. In her last report as state regent Mrs. Pound recorded
two new chapters, Quivira chapter at Fairbury, organized December 3,
1902, and Lewis-Clark chapter at Fremont, January 17, 1903, with
chapters at Beatrice and Ord in process of formation. Quivira chapter
was chartered February 3, 1903, and Lewis-Clark chapter was chartered
February 13, 1903.

The first state conference was called by Mrs. Pound in October, 1902,
and was held in Lincoln at the home of the late Mrs. Addison S.
Tibbetts. This conference was called to nominate a state regent and plan
for observing the centennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. This
event was celebrated August 3, 1904, the anniversary of the council of
Lewis and Clark with the Otoe and Missouri Indians. On this date a
Nebraska boulder was dedicated at Fort Calhoun with appropriate
exercises, participated in by the Sons of the American Revolution and
the Nebraska State Historical Society. This was the first historical
event commemorated by the Daughters in Nebraska.

Mrs. Mildred L. Allee of Omaha was nominated for state regent at the
conference in 1902, and Mrs. Emma Kellogg of Lincoln for vice-regent.
These nominations were approved at the continental congress in 1903 and
both nominees were elected, and reëlected in 1904.

Coronado chapter at Ord was organized January 25, 1904, and Elizabeth
Montague chapter at Beatrice June 17, 1904. The former was chartered
September 30, 1904, and the latter June 21, 1905.

On October 20, 1903, the second annual state conference was held in
Omaha. Mrs. Charles Warren Fairbanks, president general of the national
society, was the guest of honor and delivered an address upon the
subject, "The Mission of the Daughters of the American Revolution."

The third annual state conference assembled in Lincoln, October 19,
1904, for a two days' session. Mrs. Elizabeth C. Langworthy of Seward
was chosen for state regent and Mrs. Janet K. Hollenbeck of Fremont was
the choice of the conference for vice-regent. Both were elected, and
both were renominated at the fourth state conference held at Fairbury in
October, 1905. Mrs. Langworthy organized the Margaret Holmes chapter at
Seward April 10, 1905, and Nikumi chapter at Blair, February 23, 1906.

Lincoln entertained the fifth annual state conference October 29-30,
1906, Mrs. Donald McLean, president general, being the guest of honor.
At this conference a state organization was perfected and by-laws
adopted providing that nominations for state regent and vice-regent
should be made by the state board of management and submitted to the
continental congress for election. Other officers for the state
organization were to be elected at the annual conference. This system
was followed until 1910, when the by-laws of the national society were
changed to permit each state organization to elect its own regent and

Mrs. Charles B. Letton of Quivira chapter, Fairbury, was nominated for
state regent and Mrs. Janet K. Hollenbeck for vice-regent at the meeting
of the board of management in the spring of 1907, and were elected at
the national congress immediately following. Mrs. Letton was reëlected
in 1908 and Mrs. S. D. Barkalow of Omaha was elected vice-regent.

The sixth annual state conference was held in Omaha October 22-23, 1907.
Mrs. Letton appointed three organizing regents, one at Aurora, where no
chapter has yet been formed; Mrs. Arthur E. Allyn at Hastings, and Mrs.
Charles Oliver Norton at Kearney. On May 16, 1908, she organized the
Fort Kearney chapter at Kearney, which was chartered October 27, 1908,
with Mrs. Norton as its first regent.

Mrs. Richard C. Hoyt presented the following resolution to the sixth
annual conference and moved its adoption, the motion being seconded by
Mrs. Henrietta M. Rees:

"Therefore, be it resolved that the D. A. R. of Nebraska coöperate with
the State Historical Society in taking some steps toward marking the old
Oregon trail in Nebraska and that a committee be appointed to act in
unison with the Historical Society."

The resolution was adopted. Members of the Omaha chapter who were
interested in this matter at the time, say that the idea was suggested
by Dr. George L. Miller of Omaha, then president of the State Historical
Society. In accordance with the foregoing resolution Mrs. Letton, state
regent, appointed the following committee: Mrs. John J. Stubbs,
Omaha; Mrs. George H. Brash, Beatrice; and Mrs. Stephen B. Pound,


Erected by Omaha Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution]


Erected by Omaha Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution]

The seventh annual conference was held at Fremont October 29-30, 1908.
At this conference Mrs. Letton urged that plans be made for marking the
Oregon trail across Nebraska, and called upon Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton
who had been appointed chairman of the Oregon trail committee to present
the subject to the conference.

In April, 1909, Mrs. Oreal S. Ward of Lincoln was elected state regent
and Mrs. S. D. Barkalow of Omaha was reëlected vice-regent. In 1910 Mrs.
Ward was reëlected state regent with Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton as

The eighth state conference was held at Beatrice October 28-29, 1909. At
this conference it was voted to present two marble pedestals to Memorial
Continental Hall. It was resolved to vigorously prosecute the efforts to
secure an appropriation from the legislature for the marking of the
Oregon trail. Mrs. Charles B. Letton, during her last term as state
regent, had endeavored to have the legislature of 1909 appropriate money
for marking this trail, but no action was taken by that body until the
session of 1911, when, through the efforts of Mrs. Oreal S. Ward, who
had been elected state regent, $2,000 was appropriated "for the purpose
of assisting in the procuring of suitable monuments to mark the Oregon
trail in the state of Nebraska." This money was to be expended under the
direction of a commission composed of "the state surveyor of Nebraska,
the state regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the
state of Nebraska, and the secretary of the Nebraska State Historical
Society." This act was approved April 7, 1911. On April 10th following,
the above-named commissioners met and organized as the "Oregon Trail
Memorial Commission," with Robert Harvey president, Mrs. Oreal S. Ward
vice-president, and Clarence S. Paine secretary-treasurer.

During Mrs. Ward's term as state regent she organized four chapters, St.
Leger Cowley chapter, Lincoln, December 3, 1909; Niobrara chapter,
Hastings, October 12, 1910; Otoe chapter, Nebraska City, February 15,
1911; Major Isaac Sadler chapter, Omaha, March 1, 1911.

The ninth annual state conference was held in Seward, October 19-20,
1910, and Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton of Kearney was elected state
regent, and Mrs. Warren Perry of Fairbury vice-regent. They were
reëlected at the tenth state conference, held at Kearney, October 23-25,
1911. The following eleven chapters were organized during Mrs. Norton's

    Platte chapter, Columbus, October 20, 1911.
    Reavis-Ashley chapter, Falls City, January 5, 1912.
    Superior chapter, Superior, January 12, 1912.
    Thirty-seventh Star chapter, McCook, February 21, 1912.
    David City chapter, David City, March 5, 1912.
    Pawnee chapter, Fullerton, March 28, 1912.
    David Conklin chapter, Callaway, February 22, 1913.
    Josiah Everett chapter, Lyons, February 26, 1913.
    Bonneville chapter, Lexington, February 26, 1913.
    Nancy Gary chapter, Norfolk, February 27, 1913.
    Stephen Bennett chapter, Fairmont, February 28, 1913.

Mrs. Norton attended the third meeting of the Oregon Trail Commission,
held May 2, 1911, and was elected vice-president in place of Mrs. Oreal
S. Ward whom she had succeeded as state regent. During her term Mrs.
Norton vigorously prosecuted the work of marking the Oregon trail, with
the assistance of Mrs. Charles B. Letton, whom she had appointed as
chairman of the Oregon trail committee. During her administration the
contract was made for regulation markers to be used in marking the
trail, and several were erected. There were also several special
monuments erected ranging in cost from $100 to $350. The first monument
to be planned for during this period was the one on the Kansas-Nebraska
state line, to cost $350, which, however, was not dedicated until later,
and the last monument to be dedicated during Mrs. Norton's term was the
one on the Nebraska-Wyoming line, costing $200, for which Mrs. Norton
raised the money from the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution
in Nebraska and Wyoming. During this time there was also a very careful
survey made of the trail and sites for monuments were selected.

In April, 1910, Mrs. Andrew K. Gault of Omaha was elected vice-president
general from Nebraska at the national congress and reëlected in 1912,
serving, in all, four years.

The eleventh annual conference was held in Lincoln, October 22-24,
1912. Mrs. Mathew T. Scott, president general, was the honor guest.
Amendments to the by-laws were adopted in harmony with the by-laws of
the national organization and the date of the state conference was
changed from October to March. It was provided that all state officers
should serve for one term of two years, and the per capita tax was
raised from ten cents to twenty-five cents. Mrs. Warren Perry of
Fairbury was elected state regent and Mrs. Charles H. Aull of Omaha

The twelfth annual state conference convened at Fairbury, March 17-19,
1914. During Mrs. Perry's term of office there were organized the
following chapters:

    Oregon Trail chapter, Hebron, October 20, 1913.
    Jonathan Cass chapter, Weeping Water, January 23, 1914.
    Elijah Gove chapter, Stromsburg, February 16, 1914.
    Fontenelle chapter, Plattsmouth, April 21, 1914.
    Reverend Reuben Pickett chapter, Chadron, March 4, 1915.

At the close of her administration twelve organizing regents were at
work: Mrs. Eleanor Murphey Smith, Crete; Mrs. Capitola Skiles Tulley,
Alliance; Mrs. Mabel Raymond, Scottsbluff; Miss Jessie Kellogg, Red
Cloud; Mrs. Alice Dilworth, Holdrege; Mrs. Clara King Jones, Wayne; Mrs.
C. M. Wallace, Shelton; Mrs. Charles Brown, Sutton; Mrs. Margaret Orr,
Clay Center; Mrs. Viola Romigh, Gothenburg; Mrs. Leona A. Craft,
Morrill; Dr. Anna Cross, Crawford.

The most important work to engage the attention of the state society
during the administration of Mrs. Perry was the erection of monuments on
the Oregon trail, and the accumulation of material for the present
volume of reminiscences. A large number of the regulation markers on the
Oregon trail were erected during this time; several special monuments
dedicated and others arranged for.

The thirteenth state conference was held in Omaha, March 17-19, 1915.
Mrs. Charles H. Aull of Omaha was elected state regent, and Mrs. E. G.
Drake of Beatrice vice-regent. Three chapters have been organized under
the present administration:

    Capt. Christopher Robinson chapter, Crawford, June 16, 1915.
    Butler-Johnson chapter, Sutton, June 17, 1915.
    Three Trails chapter, Gothenburg, December 31, 1915.

At the present time plans are being formulated for marking the
California trail from Omaha and Florence along the north side of the
Platte river to the Wyoming line. This work will be carried forward by
the Daughters, through the agency of the Nebraska Memorial Association
of which the state regent is vice-president.


    "The moving Finger writes, and having writ,
    Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
    Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it."

    --_Omar Khayyam_


Abel, Anton, 60

Adams, Anna Tribell, 189

Adams, Clarendon E., _Stirring Events along the Little Blue_, 214

Adams County _Gazette_, 17

Adams county, historical sketch of, 11, 18

Adriance, Rev. Jacob, 291

Akers, William H., 14

Ak-Sar-Ben, Knights of, 189

Alexander, Colonel, 219, 222, 229

Alexander, S. J., 144, 270

Alexander's ranch, 279

Alexandria, Nebraska, 139, 270

Alexis of Russia, Grand Duke, 327

Allee, Mildred L. (Mrs. Abraham), 189, 334, 335

Allen, Edna M. Boyle, _A Grasshopper Raid_, 133

Allen, Edwin M., 16

Allen, Mrs. Emily Bottorff, _Reminiscences of Washington County_, 286

Allen, Mr. and Mrs. John, 284

Allen, Pink, 284

Allen, Thomas, 284, 295

Allen, Thomas J., 299

Allen, William, 143

Allen, William Henry, _Reminiscences of Fort Calhoun_, 284, 287

Allen, Mrs. William Henry, 291

Alliance, Nebraska, 339

Allis, Samuel, 230

Allyn, Mrs. Arthur E., 336

American Baptist Publication Society, 281

American Fur Company, 312

American Monthly magazine, 189

American Woman's Suffrage Association, 278

Ames, John H., _Location of the Capital at Lincoln_, 176

Ames, Nebraska, 306

Ames, Oakes, 199

Anderson, Mrs. Sarah F., 255

Andrews, Dr. J. P., 287, 294

Anthony, Susan B., 276, 277

Arapahoe, Nebraska, 58, 60, 63

Arbor Lodge, 219, 231, 235, 239, 240

Arkeketah (Otoe chief), 120

Arlington, Nebraska, 300

Armstrong brothers, 162

Arnold, Mrs., 293

Arnold, Major, 293

Asche, Mrs. A. Dove Wiley, 96

Atkinson, Mrs., 213

Atkinson, General Henry, 314

Auburn, Nebraska, 212

Auger, General C. C., 193

Aull, Mrs. Charles H., _Outline History of the Nebraska Society,
Daughters of the American Revolution_, 333, 339

Aurora, Nebraska, 213

Austin, O. O., 192

Avery, W. H., _A Buffalo Hunt_, 131

Ayres, James, _Life on the Frontier_, 54

Babcock, ----, 124

Babcock, C. C., 17

Babcock, Russell D., 16, 17

Babcock, Titus, 16

Badger family, 97

Badger, Henry L., 97, 101, 104

Badger, Mrs. H. L., 101

Badger, Lewis H., 97

Badger, Mary A., 97

Bailey, Wesley, 141

Bainter, James, 11

Baker, Ben S., 275

Baker, Joe, 148

Baker, Wilton, 192

Bancroft, Dr. William M., 57, 67

Banking House of Thomas Harbine, 145

Barber, F. B., 30

Barkalow, Mrs. S. D., 336, 337

Barnard, E. H., 78

Barneby, Battiste, 118

Barnes, Mrs. P. S., 38

Barnston, Nebraska, 120, 127

Barr, P. F., 15

Barrett, Jay Amos, 189

Barrette, Rev. and Mrs., 211

Bartlett, Iowa, 31

Bassett, Samuel C., _A Broken Axle_, 27; _Dreamland Complete_ (poem), 28

Bates, Rev. Henry, 164

Bates, Mrs. Sarah G., 187, 334

Bauman, John, 294

Bay State Cattle Company, 26

Beatrice _Express_, 141

Beatrice, Nebraska, 111, 113, 117, 118, 122, 123, 127, 128, 133, 142,
149, 152, 161, 163, 166, 181, 187, 216, 270, 271, 275, 334, 335, 336,
337, 339

Beaver creek (Sandburr creek), 195

Beaver Crossing, Nebraska, 258, 259, 260, 261

Becksted, Addie, 323, 325

Becksted, Billy, 323

Becksted, Elton, 323

Bedford, Nebraska, 211

Beeson, Jane, 94

Bell creek, 30, 287, 297

Bell, James, 249

Bell, John T., 296

Bell, Ortha C., _An Incident in the History of Lincoln_, 182, 185

Bell, Mrs. Ortha C., _Lincoln in the Early Seventies_, 184-185

Bell, Ray Hiram, 185

Belleville, Kansas, 142

Bellevue, Nebraska, 236, 323, 325

Beltzer, John, 248

Beni, Jules, 323, 324, 325

Benkleman, Nebraska, 263

Bennett, Caroline Valentine, 254

Bennett, Jacob, 254

Berwyn, Nebraska, 46

Bethlehem, Iowa, 41

Betz, ----, 58

Bierstadt, Albert, 214, 215

Bifkin, Colonel, 105

Big Blue river, 123, 151, 173, 242

Big Sandy, 139, 140, 148, 152, 154, 245, 280

Binfield, S. B., 15

Binney, Millard S., _Gray Eagle, Pawnee Chief_, 194

Bittenbender, Mrs. Ada M., 275

Black, Gov. Samuel W., 240, 301

Black Hills, 25, 50, 52, 110

Blackbird creek, 30, 32

Blackwell, Lucy Stone, 277

Blaine, William H., 101

Blair, Grant, 139

Blair, James, 139

Blair, Nebraska, 287, 291, 294, 298, 336

Blizzards, 20, 59, 75, 99, 109, 125, 128, 158, 160, 203, 205, 244, 245,
249, 250, 261, 282, 300

Blue river, 111, 113, 121, 161, 261

Blue Springs, Nebraska, 112, 113, 122

Blue Vale, 102

_Blue Valley Record_, 111

Boggs, Dr., 128

Bohanan, Quinn, 182

Bonesteel, ----, 244, 245

Bonneville chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Bookwalter, John W., 130

Boone, Mrs. William, 247

Bosler brothers, 26

Boston and Newton Joint Stock Association, 168, 170, 171

Bottorff, Andrew J., _Early Days in Stanton County_, 266

Boucha, Joseph, 289

Bouvier, Adeline, 289

Bouvier, Mother, 289

Bouvier, Oliver, _Reminiscences of De Soto in 1855_, 289

Bowen, Adna H., 16

Bowen, Judge, 287

Bower, Nebraska, 158

Box Butte county, _Historical sketch of_, 25, 26

Boyd, ----, 258

Boyd, James E., 189

Boyer and Roubidoux, 190

Boyer, J. P., 190, 191

Boyle, Judge, 133, 142

Bradley, Judge James, 91, 293

Brady, ----, 190

Brady Island, 61, 190

Brash, Mrs. George H., 336

Brass, Samuel L., 16

Brewster, Mrs. S. C., 91

Brickley, E. D., 166

Brigham, George A., 286

Brisbane, ----, 260

Broken Bow, Nebraska, 46, 48, 49

Brooks, Mrs. ----, 275

Brooks, Mrs. N. J. Frazier, _Reminiscences of Pioneer Life at Fort
Calhoun_, 288

Broome, Francis M., _Frontier towns_, 22

Bross, Rev. Harmon, 50

Bross, Mrs. Harmon, _An Experience_, 50

Brown, Mrs. Charles, 339

Brown, Mrs. Charles M., _First Things in Clay County_, 43

Brown, F. M., 43, 44

Brown, Hopkins, 244

Brown, John, 141

Brown, R. G., 44

Brownell hall, 96

Brownville & Fort Kearny railroad, 137

Brownville, Nebraska, 31, 111, 116, 142, 161, 211, 212

Buchanan, a frontier town, 22

Buck surveying party, 243

Buffalo, 18, 19, 27, 59, 60, 64, 71, 76, 99, 103, 104-106, 111, 117,
119, 131, 142, 153, 154, 164, 175, 214, 216, 219, 234, 242, 243, 289,
326, 332

Buffalo county, 29, 61, 223

Buffalo creek, 58, 60

Burgess, Frank, 248

Burke, Mrs. ----, 190

Burlington and Missouri R. R. Co., 15, 16, 18, 43, 66, 122, 128, 136,
137, 188, 254

Burt, Mr. ----, 174

Bush, Lieutenant ----, 222, 223, 226, 229

Bussard, Kate, 103

Bussard, William, 109

Buswell, Judson, 19

Butler, ----, 217

Butler, Gov. David, 99, 136

Butler Johnson chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 339

Byers, Mr. and Mrs. William N., 91

Cabney, Antoine, 189

Caldwell, Mrs. A. J., 275

California trail, 88, 339

Callaway, Nebraska, 49, 338

Cameron, L. D., 291

Camp, William M., 16

Campbell, Alexander, 43

Capital hotel, Lincoln, 135

Captain Christopher Robinson chapter, Daughters of the American
Revolution, 339

Carney family, 75

Carpenter, J. A., _Early Days in Nebraska_, 111

Carr, Gen. E. A., 193

Carson family, 213

Carter, Alex., 290, 291

Carter, "Billy," 24

Carter, Jacob, 291

Carter, Mr. and Mrs. J. R., 14

Carter, Thomas M., _Reminiscences_, 290

Cass county, Nebraska, 37, 94

Cedar creek (Willow creek), 195

Central City, Nebraska, 244

Chabot, C., _Early Recollections_, 62

Chadron, Nebraska, 24, 50, 339

Champlin and McDowell, 156

Champlin, L. C., 175

Chandler, John S., 16, 19

Chapman, Nebraska, 213

Chapman, P. L., 143

Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, 282

Cheyenne and Northern R. R., 264

Cheyenne county, Kansas, 263

Cheyenne, Wyoming, 193, 213

Chief Pipe Stem (Otoe Indian), 144

Chouteau, Auguste, 190

Chouteau, Pierre, 190

Christian, ----, 156

Christian, Robert, 143

Christian, William, 141

Claim clubs, 93

Clapp, Mrs. Sarah, _Early Indian History_, 198

Clark, E. H., 266, 284, 293

Clark, Mrs. E. H., _Fort Calhoun in the Early Fifties_, 293, 296

Clark, Elam, 286, 294

Clark, Isaac N., 44

Clark, Dr. Martin V. B., 44

Clark, Theodore, 193

Clarks, Nebraska, 249

Clarkson, Rev. John F., 15

Clay Center, Nebraska, 44, 339

Clay county, 11, 18, 43

Clements, ----, 33

Clements, E. J., 282

Cline, Mrs. J. A., 187

Cline, Minnie Shed, 334

Clother hotel, Columbus, 249

Cody, William F. (Buffalo Bill), 200, 263, 326, 327, 329-331

Cogswell, Mrs., 193

Colby, Mrs. Clara Bewick, 275

Colby, Orrin, 287

Cole, Gen. Albert V., _Early Experiences in Adams County_, 18

Cole's creek, 285

Collegeview (Fontenelle college), 300

Collins, Rev. Isaac, 291

Columbus, Nebraska, 59, 60, 201, 242, 247-250

Comstock, E. S., 214, 216

Comstock, George S., 214-217

Concordia, Kansas, 155

Conroy's ranch, 77

Cook, ----, 244

Cook, Capt. James H., 52

Cooper, Dr. P. J., 287

Cooper, Vienna, 287

Corey, A. A., 43

Coronado chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 282, 335

Coronado, Francisco de, 112, 113, 119, 232, 233, 283

Correll, Ernest E., _Fred E. Roper, Pioneer_, 268; _An Indian Raid_, 279

Correll, E. M., 275, 277, 278

Correll, Lucy L., _The Lure of the Prairies_, 272, 275; _Suffrage in
Nebraska_, 277, 278

Cottage Hill postoffice, 127

Cottonwood Springs, 190, 191, 192

Council Bluff (Fort Calhoun), Nebraska, 308

Council Bluffs, Iowa, 31, 92, 276, 284, 290, 295

Council creek (Skidi creek), 195

Cox, William W., 255, 257

Crab Orchard, Nebraska, 128

Craft, Mrs. Leona A., 339

Craig, Allen, 286

Craig, Mrs. Rhoda, 295

Cramb, J. O., 141

Cramb, Will F., 141

Crane, George, 20

Crawford, Nebraska, 24, 51, 339

Creighton college, 90

Creighton, Edward, 285

Creighton telegraph line, 191

Crete, Nebraska, 15, 20, 163, 300, 339

Crook, General George, 199

Crooked Hand, the Fighter (Pawnee Indian), 230

Cropsey, Col. Andrew J., 162

Cropsey, Daniel B., _Early Days in Pawnee County_, 135

Cross, Dr. Anna, _Legend of Crow Butte_, 51, 339

Cross, George, _Early Events in Jefferson County_, 137, 141, 143, 145

Crow Butte, Legend of, 51

Crow Heart Butte (poem), Pearl Shepherd Moses, 52

Cub creek, 140, 148, 164

Culbertson, Nebraska, 60

Culver, Gen. Jacob H., 189

Culver, Mrs. Jacob H., 189

Cuming City Claim Club, 290

Cuming City, Nebraska, 286, 287, 290, 291, 298

Cuming county, 36

Cuming, Governor Thomas B., 91

Cuming, Mrs. Thomas B., 91

Cumming, Mrs. Nils, 43

Cushing, James, 244

Cushing, Capt. S. E., 198, 200

_Custer County, Reminiscences of_, by Mrs. J. J. Douglas, 46, 48

_Daily-Gazette-Journal_, 17

Daily, Major, 120

Dalbey, Dwight S., 129

Dalbey, Mrs. Dwight S., member Book committee, 5

Dalbey, Mrs. Virginia Lewis, _Biography of Ford Lewis_, 129

Daniels, J. H., 188

Darling, Dick, 191

Daugherty, R. C., 193

Daughter of the American Revolution, 168, 187, 188, 253

David City, Nebraska, 338

David City chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Davis, Frank M., 18

Davis, J. V., 162

Davis, Mrs. Thomas, 91

Davis, W. H., 299

Dawson county, 57, 61-64, 67, 72, 74

Dawson, John, 201

Day, Miss Anna, 187, 334

Deadwood, South Dakota, 66

Deborah Avery chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 187, 188,
189, 253, 333, 334

Decatur, Nebraska, 30-33, 287, 322, 323

Deep Well ranch, 105

Delahunty, Patrick, 54

DeMerritt, Case of, 48

Deroin, Battiste, 118, 121

De Soto, Nebraska, 287-289, 290, 298

Diller, Nebraska, 125

Dillon, Ira G., 17

Dilworth, Mrs. Alice, 339

Dilworth's Islands, 55

Dinsmore, John B., 44

Dismal river, 63

Ditto, Hank, 24

Dixon, Mr. and Mrs. Nimrod J., 102

Doane college, 300

Dodge county, 298, 303

Dodge, Gen. Grenville M., 91

Dodge, Col. Henry, 190

Donavan, Frele Morton, 180

Donavan, W. T., 178

Douglas county, Nebraska, 326

Douglas house, Omaha, 92

Douglas, J. J., 48, 49

Douglas, Mrs. J. J., _Reminiscences of Custer County_, 46

Douglas, Stephen A., 235

Dubuque, Julien, 307

Dundy county, Nebraska, 263

Dundy, Judge Elmer S., 326

Dunlap, ----, 215

Drake, Mrs. E. G., 339

Dreamland Complete (poem), 29

Dyball, Mrs. George B., 306

Eagle (Missouri Indian chief), 119

Eddyville, Nebraska, 66

Edgerton, Gordon H., 11, 12, 17

El Capitan Rancho, 216

Elijah Gore chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 339

Elizabeth Montague chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 335

Elk City, Nebraska, 305, 306

Elkhorn river, 78, 84, 266, 267, 297, 299, 300

Ellis, Mrs. ----, _An Acrostic_, 204

Elm creek, Nebraska, 61, 65, 75

Endicott, Nebraska, 161

Engle, Mr. and Mrs., 213

Erickson, Charles J., 76

Erickson, Frank, 76

Erickson, John, 76

Erwin & Powers company, 58

Estabrook, Mrs. Experience, 91

Eubanks, Mr. and Mrs., 214, 215, 217, 218, 270

Evans, John, 264

Evans, Mrs. May, 43

Everett, Mr. and Mrs., 33, 34

Everett, B. W., 30, 32

Everett, Eleanor, 32

Everett, Mrs. Elise G., _Experiences of a Pioneer Woman_, 32

Everett, Frank, 33, 34

Everett, Josiah, 30, 32, 33

Ewing, ----, 55

Fagot, Mrs., ----, 68

Fairbanks, Mr. and Mrs., 103

Fairbanks, Mrs. Charles Warren, 335

Fairbury _Gazette_, 141-143

Fairbury, Nebraska, 75, 116, 118, 133, 137, 139-146, 147, 154-158, 161,
162, 166, 168, 175, 188, 275, 335-337

Fairfield, Chancellor E. B., 135

Fairmont, Nebraska, 20, 75, 101, 338

Falls City, Nebraska, 252, 253, 338

Farnam, Nebraska, 77

Ferguson, Susan E., 278

Fifth U. S. Cavalry, 190, 193

Filley, Elijah, 116, 127

Filley, Nebraska, 127

Fillmore county, 75, 97, 102, 107, 109

Fillmore postoffice, 27

Finney, Dr., 290

First National bank, Fairbury, 143

First Territorial Fair, 237

Fisette, Mrs. Charles H., _Pioneer Women of Omaha_, 90

Fish creek, 290

Fisher, ----, 253

Fisher, King, 279

Fisher, Martin, 131

Fitchie, S. D., 192

Florence, Nebraska, 27, 80, 93, 248, 339

Fontenelle chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 339

Fontenelle college, 296

Fontenelle, Logan, 299

Fontenelle mission, 300

Fontenelle Mounted Rangers, 301

Fontenelle, Nebraska, 284, 295, 296, 297, 298, 301, 304

Fort Atkinson, 188, 284, 307, 308

Fort Calhoun, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 293, 294, 298, 308

Fort Cottonwood, 285

Fort Hartsuff, 282

Fort Kearney chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 336

Fort Kearny (Nebraska City), 152

Fort Kearny, 12, 28, 60, 65, 88, 95, 176, 219-223, 225, 227, 229, 242,

Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 76

Fort Leavenworth, 314

Fort McPherson, 74, 76, 190, 191, 193, 200, 327, 331

Fort Omaha, 182

Fourth of July celebration, 295

Fouts, Marion Jerome (California Joe), 11, 13

Fowlie, Peter, 15, 17

Fox, The (Pawnee Indian), 228, 229

Fox Ford, 270

Francis, Samuel, 300

Franklin, Dr., 327

Franklin county, 232, 233

Frazier, John, 286

Frazier, Thomas, 288

Freeman, Charles, 244, 245

Freeman, Daniel, 57, 66

Freeman, Mrs. Daniel, _Recollections of the First Settler of Dawson
County_, 64

Freeman, Minnie (see Penney), 203, 204

Freeman, W. E., 244

Freighting, 11, 25, 37, 64, 95, 153, 270, 285

Fremont, John C., 12, 78

Fremont, Nebraska, 78, 82, 84, 178, 188, 249, 267, 335

French, Luther, 43-44

Frenchman river, 59

Fritt's grove, 32

_Frontier Towns_, Frances M. Broome, 22

Fullerton, Nebraska, 194, 338

Furnas, Gov. Robert W., 96, 213

Gage county, 111, 112-122, 123, 127-130, 216

Gale, Dr. Marion F., 307-321

Gale, Mary, 307-321

Gale, Mell, 127

Gantt, Judge Daniel, 192

Gardner's Siding, 249

Gates, Mr. and Mrs. Milo, 213

Gates, Susan, 13

Gault, Mrs. Andrew K., 338

Gaylord brothers, 20

Gaylord, Georgia, 91

Gaylord, Ralph, 91

Gaylord, Rev. Reuben, 91, 300

Genoa, Nebraska, 194, 198, 200, 206, 228, 229, 242, 246, 247

Gerrard, E. A., 247

Gibson, John McT., 145

Gilkerson, Alice Flor, 78

Gillingham, David (Gray Eagle), 194

Gillis, Judge, 230

Gilman, J. C., 191, 192

Gilman, Jed, 220, 221, 222

Gilman, Mrs. P. J. (Mary Hubbard), 193

Gilman's ranch, 77, 220

Gilmore, Boss, 104

Gilmore, Elias, 102

Gilmore, Jake, 104

Gilmore, Lydia, 102

Gilmore, Minnie, 103

Glenn, Newton, 139

Glenwood, Iowa, 41

Goldsmith, Rev. S., 168

Goodwill, Mrs. Taylor G., 91

Gordon, Jim, 139

Gordon, Nebraska, 24

Gosper, Mrs. Watie, 184

Goss, ----, 291

Gothenburg, Nebraska, 76, 339

Gould, Charles, 170, 171

Gould, W. A., 137

Grand Island, Nebraska, 13, 20, 62, 67, 105, 106, 213, 244, 245

Grant, U. S., 15

Grasshoppers, 21, 68, 82, 109, 133, 184, 247-248, 252, 273, 274

Gray Eagle (Pawnee chief), 194-195

Great American Desert, 235, 282

Green, Albert L., _Reminiscences of Gage County_, 112

Grimes, L. R., 44

Guin, Dr., 213

Gurley, W. F., 189

Hackberry cañon, 265

Hacker family, 213

Hackney ranch, 270, 271, 280

Hackney, Walt, 270

Hackney, William, 270

Hager, Rev. Isaac, 241

Haggard, Mrs. Frances Avery, 334

Haigler, Nebraska, 263

Haile, ----, 12

Haines, Rev., 172

Haldeman, Dr. F. D., 282

Haldeman, Mrs. Olive A. (Mrs. F. D.), 282, 335

Halfway Hollow ranch, 25

Hall & Evans, 264

Hamer, Judge Francis G., 48

Hamilton county, 250

Hamilton, Mrs. Cynthia, 79, 80

Hamilton hotel, 92

Hamilton, Mrs. William, 79, 81

Haney, ----, 279

Hanscom, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J., 90

Hansen, George W., _Early Days of Fairbury and Jefferson County_, 139,
145; _The Earliest Romance of Jefferson County_, 147; _Finding the Grave
of George Winslow_, 168-174

Hansen, Harry, 141

Hansen, Mary Kelley, 143

Harbine Bank of Fairbury, 145

Harbine, John, 145

Harbine, Col. Thomas, 144, 145

Hardenburg, Harry, 186

Hardy, Nebraska, 111

Harney, General W. S., 192

Harrington, Sarah P., 79

Hart ranch, 25

Harvard, Nebraska, 18, 43

Harvey, Augustus F., 177, 178

Harvey, Robert, 337

Hastings _Journal_, 17

Hastings, Nebraska, 11, 12, 15, 17, 19, 336, 337

Haunstine, Albert, 48

Hawkins brothers, 263

Hawthorne, Mary Heaton, 78

Hay cañon, 263

Hay Springs, Nebraska, 24

Haynes, Jack, 14

Heaton, Rev. Isaac E., 78

Heaton, Mrs. Isaac E., 78

Hebron _Journal_, 277

Hebron Library association, 278

Hebron, Nebraska, 270-272, 275, 277, 279, 339

Helvey, Frank, 139, 148-151, _Experiences on the Frontier_, 152, 154

Helvey, Jasper, 139

Helvey, Joel, 139, 148-150, 152, 154

Helvey, Orlando, 140

Helvey, Thomas, 139, 152

Helvey, Whitman, 152

Hemphill, Ada, 247

Hemphill, Mrs. Mary, 247

Henderson, George, 16

Henderson, Nellie, 43

Hendricks, George, 264

Henrietta postoffice, 272

Herndon house, 92

Herrick family, 32

Heth, John, 222, 223, 226, 227, 228, 229

Heth, Mrs. John, 227

Heth, Minnie, 227

Hewitt, Lucy R., _Early Days in Dawson County_, 67

Hewitt, Thomas J., 67

Hewitt, Mrs. Thomas J., 67

Hichborn, Mrs. Philip, 334

Hickok, James B. (Wild Bill), 139, 153

Hiles' ranch, 77

Hinman, Beach I., 192

Hinman, Washington M., 191, 192

History and Art club, Seward, 254

Holdrege, Nebraska, 339

Hollenbeck, Mrs. Janet K., 335, 336

Hollenberg, Captain, 150

Holloway & Fowler, 78

Holmes, Mrs. Mary, 275

Holt county, 203

Horse creek (Skeleton Water), 195

Horseshoe creek, 150

Howe, Church, 211

Howe, Nebraska, 211

Howell, William, 109

Hoyt, Mrs. Richard C., 336

Hubbard, Mary (Mrs. P. J. Gilman), 193

Hubbell, Nebraska, 153

Hubbell, Will, 175

Hughes' ranch, 25

Humphries, ----, 65

Hungate family, 38

Hunter, Rev. A. V., 39

Hunter, Charley, 260

Hunter, George Michael, 260

Hunter, I. N., _Recollections of_, 36

Hunter, Mr. and Mrs. L. D., 36

_Huntsman's Echo_, 27

Hurd, ----, 156

Huse, Harriet, 278

Imlay, William, 256

Indians, 28, 33, 34, 36-38, 41, 42, 51, 54-56, 59, 60, 64, 65, 72, 74,
76, 79, 80, 86, 87, 95, 97-100, 102, 104-106, 108-110, 112-122, 134,
136, 142, 144, 149, 150, 152, 154, 164, 165, 175, 189, 191-202, 208-210,
216-218, 222, 227-231, 242, 246, 247, 253-257, 270, 279, 280, 286, 289,
294, 296, 301-303, 305, 307-321

Indian burial, 120, 121

Indian creek, 113

Indian massacres, 12, 28, 54, 59, 65, 243, 285

Indian police, 117, 118

Indian school, Genoa, 246

Indianola, Nebraska, 263

Inland, Nebraska, 18

Independence, Missouri, 170, 171, 172

Irvington, Nebraska, 91

Jackson, James A., 295

Jackson, Zaremba, 290

Jacobson, John, 19, 54

Jacobson house, 19

James, Gov. William H., 16, 99, 43

Jansen, John, 124

Jansen, Peter, _Ranching in Gage and Jefferson Counties_, 123

Jarvis, Mrs. A. P., _Lovers' Leap_, 196

Jascoby, ----, 284

Jaynes, C. S., 18

Jaynes, Mrs. Henry L., 334

Jefferson county, 117, 120, 123, 137, 139-151, 156, 158, 161, 173, 175,

Jeffrie's ranch, 77

Jenkins, D. C., 139

Jenkins, George E., _Looking Backward_, 155

Jenkins' Mill, 145

Johanson, Sven, _Early Days in Stanton county_, 266

Johanson, Mrs. Sven, 267

Johnson county, 129

Johnson family, 213

Johnson, Mrs. E., _Early Recollections of Gage County_, 127

Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. E. D., 57, 58, 67, 70

Johnson, Elleck, 58

Johnson, Mrs. Hadley, 92

Johnson, Mrs. Harrison, 92

Johnson, Jim, 104

Johnson, Joseph E., 27

Jonathan Cass chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 339

Jones, Alfred D., 295

Jones, Mrs. Alfred D., 91

Jones, Mrs. Clara King, 339

Josiah Everett chapter, daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Judson, H. M., 92

Julesburg, Colorado, 323

Junction City, Kansas, 142

Juniata, Nebraska, 15, 16, 18, 19

Juniata house, 19

Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, 92, 290

Kansas City & Omaha R. R., 14

Kansas Pacific R. R., 193

Kearney county, 11

Kearney, Nebraska, 48, 67, 70, 75, 223, 243, 270, 336, 337

Kearny Heights (Nebraska City), 236

Keen, Rev. W. G., 260

Kehoe, John, 72

Keith, Mrs., 193

Kelley, Alfred, 143

Kelly, ----, 216, 217

Kelly, John, 93

Kelly, Margaret F., _A Grasshopper Story_, 82

Kellogg, Miss Jessie, 339

Kellogg, Mrs. Emma, 335

Kenesaw, 11, 12

Kenny, Aimee Taggart, 295

Keyou, ----, 322

Kimball brothers, 188

King, ----, 282

King, Mrs. Deborah, 275

Kingsley, Fayette, 279, 280

Kirk, George, 31

Kittle, Fred, 78

Kittle, Robt., 78, 79

Klein and Lang, 123

Knapp, Robert M., 129

Koontz, J., 78

Kountze, Mrs. Herman, 91

Kramph, Mrs., 193

Kress, Mortimer N. (Wild Bill), 11, 13, 14

Krier, B. F., _Pioneer Justice_, 72

Kuony, Mr. and Mrs. John B., 293

La Flesche, Joseph, 289

Lake cañon, 263

Lancaster county, 129, 177, 180

Lancaster, Nebraska, 177, 178, 180

Langworthy, Elizabeth C. (Mrs. Stephen C.), 187; _Two Seward County
Celebrations_, 254, 334, 335

Lazure, Mrs. May Allen, _Some Items from Washington County_, 295

Lee, General, 199

Leflang, E. M. F., 66

Leonard, Emma, 16

Lepin hotel, 15

Lester, S. P., 124

Lett, H. C., 213

Letton, Mrs. Charles B., 168, 169, 336, 337, 338

Letton, Judge Charles B., 144; _The Easter Storm of 1873_, 158-160, 169

Lewis and Clark, 187, 188, 189, 190, 308

Lewis-Clark chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 188, 335

Lewis, Elizabeth Davis, 130

Lewis, Ford, 129, 130

Lewis, Levi, 129

Lewis, M. K., 17

Lewis, Phoebe, 129

Lewiston, Nebraska, 130

Lexington, Nebraska, 54, 57, 67, 72, 338

Lezenby, Christopher, 258

Libby, E. R., 33

Liberty, Nebraska, 122

Lincoln, Nebraska, 43, 107, 109, 112, 135, 156, 176-182, 184-186, 188,
213, 259, 260, 275, 278, 334, 335, 337

Lincoln county, 61, 190-193

Lindgren, Elof, 109

Lingle, Mrs. Addie Bradley, 70

Lingle, W. H., 70

Lippincott Halfway House, 287

Little Blue river, 11, 12, 43, 44, 104, 105, 148, 149, 153, 154, 166,
217, 270

Little Pipe, John (Otoe Indian), 134, 144

Little Sandy, 139, 148, 152, 153

Lockwood, Judge William F., 91

Logan creek, 30, 32

Logan Valley, 32

Lomas (or Loomis), Roderick, 13

Lone Tree (Central City), Nebraska, 244, 245

Long creek, 286, 287

Long, Major Stephen H., 190

Longshore, ----, 60

Long Pine, Nebraska, 187

Lord, Brackett, 170, 171, 173

Lost creek (Lincoln park), 214

Louisiana Purchase, 236, 307

Loup river, 63, 88 (Potato Water), 195, 228, 229, 285

_Lovers' Leap_, 196

Lower 96 ranch, 77

Luey, Francis M., 13, 14

Lyons, Nebraska, 338

MacColl, John H., 57, 60, 74

MacColl, Laura, 74

MacMurphy, Harriet S., 96, 187; _Nikumi_, 307; _The Heroine of the
Jules-Slade Tragedy_, 322

MacMurphy, John A., 323

McAllister, W. A., _Some Personal Incidents_, 242

McCabe's ranch, 221

McCaffery, ----, 141

McCall, R. J., 258

McCandles, Bill, 270

McCanles, D. C., 139, 153

McCashland, Addie, 107

McCashland, John R., _Pioneering in Fillmore County_, 107

McCashland, Mrs. John R., 107

McCashland, Sammy, 107

McComas, ----, 95

McCook, Nebraska, 338

McCreary family, 213

McCune, Calmer, _Early Days in Polk County_, 248

McDonald, Mrs. Charles, 191

McDonald, Charles, 191, 192, 193

McDonald, Thomas, 286

McDonald, W. H., 191

McDowell, Mrs. Gertrude M., _Suffrage in Nebraska_, 275

McDowell, Joseph B., _Beginnings of Fairbury_, 161, 162

McDowell, W. G., 140, 161

McElroy, William John, 14

McGovern, Teddy, 272

McGregor, Harry, 243

McLean, Mrs. Donald, 336

McMaster, A. M., 127

McNeely, Frank, _County-seat of Washington County_, 298

McNeil, Miss, 78, 180

McPherson hotel, Brownville, 212

McPherson station, 76

Mabin's ranch, 221, 222

Mahan, Henry, 248

Mahum, Tom, 55

Major Isaac Sadler chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 337

Majors, Alexander, 139, 240

Majors, Col. Thomas J., 95

Mallet brothers, 190

Mallott, James B., 60

Maple Creek, Iowa, 30, 82

Margaret Holmes chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, _Seward
County Reminiscences_, 255, 335

Marks, Mrs. Ives, 156

Marks, Rev. Ives, 140, 143, 156, 279

Marks' mill, 142, 155

Marsden, ----, 188

Marsh, A. K., 43, 44

Martin, ----, 105

Martin, E. L., 97

Martin, Major, 240

Marvin, Seth P., 78

Mary Cole steamboat, 299

Marysville, Kansas, 149, 150

Mason, Judge O. P., 118, 144

Mason, Sidney, Mr. and Mrs., 140

Mathews, Capt. Fred, 200

Mattingly, J. B., 140, 142, 144, 162

Maxwell, Nebraska, 76

Mayes, Charles, 71

Mayfield's ranch, 25

Mead, Mrs. Eda, _The Story of the Town of Fontenelle_, 299

Medicine, Nebraska, 263

Medicine Horse (Otoe chief), 116, 120

Mellenger, "Doc," 59

Mellenger, Edgar, 58

Melroy, Nebraska, 127, 128

Melvin brothers, 44

Memorial Continental Hall, 337

Meridian, Nebraska, 153, 154, 270, 271, 279

Merritt, Asa, 31

Mickey, Gov. John H., 189

Midland Pacific R. R., 259

Milford, Nebraska, 102

Military road, 305

Millard, Joseph H., 189

Miller, Mrs., 193

Miller, A. J., 192

Miller, Charlie, 279

Miller, Dr. George L., 91, 336

Minden, Nebraska, 187, 334

Minor, Ella Pollock, _Incidents at Plattsmouth_, 41

Mira Valley, 203, 204

Mission creek, 121

Missouri river, 18, 27, 31, 41, 80, 97, 107, 111, 112, 135, 140, 152,
153, 189, 190, 198, 211, 219, 335, 247, 252, 256, 263, 269, 270, 289,
290, 299, 305, 307-309, 322

Missouri river ferry, 322

Monroe, Nebraska, 200

Moore, John S., 15

Moore, Sadie Irene, _The Beginnings of Fremont_, 78

Moote, Mr. and Mrs. W. S., 14

Morgan, Hugh, 192

Mormon trail, 27, 28, 293

Mormons, 27, 89, 93, 206, 236, 269

Morrill, Nebraska, 339

Morris, Prof. John, 180

Morrow, J. A., 191, 192

Morse, Capt. Charles, 200

Morse, Col. Charles F., 15

Morton, Carl, 238

Morton, Caroline Joy, 235, 240

Morton, Charles, 33

Morton, J. Sterling, 96; _My Last Buffalo Hunt_, 219, 235, 239, 240, 297

Morton, Joy, 235

Morton, Paul, _How the Founder of Arbor Day Created the Most Famous
Western Estate_, 235

Moses, Pearl Shepherd, _Crow Heart Butte_ (poem), 52

Mott, Lucretia, 276

Mud creek, 128

Mullen, Mrs., 58

Murdock, Rev., 121

Murray, Mrs., 201

Murray, Nebraska, 94

Nance county, 194-195, 198, 206, 207, 229, 242

Nancy, Gary chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Narrows, The, 217

National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, 333

National Suffrage Association, 275

Nebraska City, Nebraska, 76, 97, 102, 104, 109, 111, 127, 135, 176, 177,
178, 180, 236, 270, 297, 337

Nebraska Memorial Association, 339

Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, 254

Nebraska Society, Sons of the American Revolution, 335, 338

Nebraska State Historical Society, 95, 139, 170, 179, 187-189, 219, 335,

Nebraska Territorial Pioneers' Association, 253

Needham, Mr., 201

Needham, Mrs. Christina, 201

Nemaha river, 253

Neville, Judge James, 326, 329

Newbecker, Clara, 282

Newbecker, Dr. Minerva, 282

Newbecker, Lieut. Philip, 282

Newman, Mrs. Angie Thurston, 334

_Nikumi_, 307-321

Nikumi chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 336

Niobrara chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 337

Niobrara river, 25

Nobes, C. J., 182

Nonpareil, a frontier town, 22

Norfolk, Nebraska, 338

Norman, P. O., 43

North, Major Frank, 198, 200, 244, 245

North, Capt. Luther, 200, 201, 244

North Platte, Nebraska, 190, 191, 192, 193, 264, 326, 327, 331

Northwestern R. R., 26

Norton, Mrs. Charles Oliver, 336, 337, 338

Norton, Hannah, 147

Norton, Lilian (Madam Nordica), 147

Norton, Major Peter, 147

Noyes, Major, 246

Nuckolls county, 214, 216, 218, 270, 272

Nye, Mrs. Theron, _Early Days in Fremont_, 84

Oak, John, 30

Oak Grove ranch, 214, 216

Oakland, Nebraska, 30

O'Brien, Major George M., 191

O'Conner, Mrs. Thomas, 92

O'Fallon's Bluffs, 191, 200

Ogallalla Cattle Company, 26

Oliver, Sr., Edward, 27

Oliver, Edward, 29

Oliver, James, 29

Oliver, John, 29

Oliver, Robert, 29

Oliver, Sarah, 28

Omaha, Nebraska, 30, 36, 62, 78, 80, 88, 90, 93, 130, 176, 178, 180,
181, 189, 191, 198, 241, 249, 263, 266, 267, 269, 275, 284-287, 289,
290, 294, 295, 299, 300, 301, 305-306, 308, 325, 326, 329, 333-339

Omaha _Bee_, 189

Omaha chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 187, 188, 189, 334,

Omaha Mary, 289

Omaha _Republican_, 75

Onawa, Iowa, 32

Ord, Nebraska, 281, 335

Oregon trail, 11, 65, 76, 139, 150, 161, 168, 169, 336-339

Oregon Trail chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 339

Oregon Trail Memorial Commission, 337, 338

Orr, Mrs. Margaret, 339

Osceola, Nebraska, 248

Osceola _Record_, 248

Ostrander, ----, 217

Otoe chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 337

Otoe county, 129

Otoe Indian reservation, 112-122, 125, 127, 142, 322

Overland Stage line, 139, 149, 214

Overland trail, 139, 152, 216, 219, 220, 236, 268, 269

Overton, Nebraska, 58

Pacific house, Beatrice, 123

Pacific Telegraph line, 76, 78

Paine, Mrs. C. S., 5

Paine, Clarence S., 337

Palmatier, ----, 263

Palmer, Mrs. Charlotte F., 333, 334

Palmer, Capt. Henry E., 218

Parker, Jason, 244

Parks, Nebraska, 263

Parmele, Mrs. Lilian, 42

Patrick, Mrs. Edwin, 91

Patterson, Daniel, 139

Patterson's trading post, 139

Pawnee City, Nebraska, 118, 122, 136, 178

Pawnee county, 129, 135, 136

Pawnee Indian reservation, 198, 206, 208, 230, 242, 246

Pawnee ranch, 43

Pawnee scouts, 199, 218

Peale, Titian, 190

Pearson, Capt. F. J., 57

Peavy and Curtiss, 122

Penney, Minnie Freeman, _The Blizzard of 1888_, 203; _Major North's
Buffalo Hunt_, 244

Perry, Mrs. Lula Correll (Mrs. Warren), 5, 337, 339

Petalesharo (Pawnee chief), 247

Peterson, Martin, 54

Pierce, Judge Robert D., 57

Pine Bluff reservation, 59

Pine Ridge country, 24

_Pioneer_, Dawson county, 57

_Pioneer Record_, 295

Pittsburgh postoffice, Nebraska, 258, 259

Plainfield, Nebraska, 203

Platt, Elvira Gaston, 198

Platt, Lester W., 198

Platte chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Platte river, 11, 27, 44, 55, 56, 58, 70, 76, 79, 84, 87, 94, 105, 190,
192, 219, 220, 228, 229, 245, 285, 299, 339

Platte Valley, 221

Plattsmouth, Nebraska, 18, 41, 136, 178, 256, 323, 339

Pleasant Dale, Nebraska, 258

Plum creek, 55, 57, 58, 64, 256, 257, 285

Plum creek (Gage county), 114, 122

Plum creek (Lexington), Nebraska, 54, 57, 60, 62, 66, 67, 70, 72, 75

Plummer, Eleanor, 147, 149, 150

Plummer, Mrs. Jason, 149

Plummer, Jason, 147, 148

Plymouth, Nebraska, 168

Polk county, 248, 251

Polk, Nebraska, 250

Polley, Hiram, 184

Pollock, Mrs. Thomas, 41

Pony Express, 64, 65

Pope, Mrs. Anna Randall, 213

Poppleton, Mrs. Andrew J., 92

Porter, A. J., _From Missouri to Dawson County in 1872_, 75

Pound, Mrs. Laura B., _Marking the Site of the Lewis and Clark Council
at Fort Calhoun_, 187, 189, 334, 335, 336

Pumpkin creek, 265

Purdy house, Fairbury, 175

Purple, ----, 291

Pursell, Mrs. Auta Helvey, 147

Purviance, Edith Erma, _A Pioneer Family_, 93

Purviance, Erma, 96

Purviance, Dr. W. E., 96

Prairie Chicken (Omaha Indian), 100

Prairie fires, 68, 120, 164, 247

Pyle and Eaton, 44

Quincy colony, 284, 296, 299-304

Quivira, 112, 233

Quivira chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 147, 188, 335,

Randall, Mr. and Mrs., 123

Randall, A. D., 213

Randall, Charles, 46, 213

Randall, E. J., 213

Randall, Dr. H. L., 213

Randall, N. G., 211

Randall, Sarah Schooley, _My Trip West in 1861_, 211

Rawhide creek, 79

Raymond, Mrs. Mabel, 339

Raymond, Nebraska, 184

Reavis-Ashley chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Reavis, Isham, 253

Reavis, Mahala Beck, 253

Red Cloud, Nebraska, 137, 339

Red Lion mill, 109

Redman, Joseph, 93

Reed, Alexander, 284

Reeder, Mrs. James G., _Pioneer Life_, 246

Rees, Henrietta M., 336

Republic county, Kansas, 142

_Republican_, Omaha, 95

Republican river, 60, 61, 105, 154, 222, 225, 242

Republican Valley, 58, 214, 222, 243, 327

Reverend Reuben Pickett chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution,

Reynolds, Nebraska, 140

Reynolds, B. W., 80

Reynolds, Wilson, 80

Rhoades, Orrin, 284

Rhustrat, Dr., 80

Richardson, Lyman, 92

Ringer, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford, 186

Ringer, Frank J., 186

Ringer, Jennie Bell, 185

Ringer, John Dean, 186

Riverton, Nebraska, 239

Rock Bluffs, Nebraska, 37, 94

Rock creek, 139, 144, 153, 161, 270

Rockport, Nebraska, 266, 286, 298

Rockwood, Martin T., 67

Roe, Thomas, 107

Rogers, Mrs. Samuel E., 92

Romigh, Mrs. Viola, 339

Root, Aaron, 92

Root, Mrs. Allen, 91

Roper, Ford, 122

Roper, Fred E., 268-271

Roper, Joe B., 270

Roper, Laura, 218, 270

Roper, Mann E., 269

Roscoe, B. S., 30, 31, 32

Roscoe, Mrs. Isabel, _A Pioneer Nebraska Teacher_, 30

Rose creek, 140, 144, 148, 153, 155, 156, 279

Rosewater, Edward, 189

Roy, George, 252, 253

Roy, Mrs. Thyrza Reavis, _Personal Reminiscences_, 252, 253

Royce, Loie, 203

Rulo, Nebraska, 252

Rushville, Nebraska, 24

Russell, Alice M., 281

Russell, Mrs. E. A., _Reminiscences_, 281

Russell, Rev. E. A., 281

Russell, H. C., 49

Russell, Mrs. Lucinda, 275

Russell, Majors and Waddell, 214, 240

St. Joe & Denver City R. R. Co., 144

St. Joe and Grand Island R. R., 75, 144

St. Joseph, Missouri, 155, 211, 241, 252, 270

St. Leger Cowley chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 337

St. Marys, Iowa, 290

St. Nicholas hotel, 92

St. Paul, Nebraska, 204

Saline City, 177

Salt creek, 221

Saltillo, Nebraska, 97

Salt Lake City, 269

Sanborne, John P., 192

Sand Hills, 258

Santa Fe trail, 308, 316

Saratoga (Omaha), Nebraska, 93

Sarpy, Peter A., 290, 307-321

Sarpy's trading post, 311, 317

Saunders county, 80, 87

Sawyer, Mrs. A. J., 275

Saxon, Elizabeth, 276

Schmeling, Frank, 214

School creek, 18, 43

Schooley, Charles A., 211

Schwatka, Lieut. Frederick, 326, 327, 328, 331

Schwerin, Rev. W., 45

Scofield, T. D., 17

Scott, ----, 128

Scott, Miss Lizzie, 16

Scott, Mrs. Mathew T., 338

Scottsbluff country, 264

Scottsbluff, Nebraska, 339

Scully, Lord, 130

Second Nebraska Cavalry, 242, 292

Second U. S. Cavalry, 280

Selden, Mrs. O. B., 92

Selleck, Wellington W., 16

Seward, 254

Seward county, 254, 255, 262

Seward, Nebraska, 187, 248, 250, 334, 336, 337

Seymour, Elizabeth Porter, _Early Experiences in Nebraska_, 163-165

Shader, Mr. and Mrs. A. L., 140

Shader, Claiborn, 140

Shattuck, Etta, 203

Sheldon, Addison E., 188, 189, 258

Shell creek, 201

Shelton, Nebraska, 339

Sheridan (Auburn), Nebraska, 212

Sheridan, Gen. Phil, 327

Sherman, General, 192

Shields, Mrs. Herman, 306

Shields, Thomas, 255

Shipley, 286

Shirley, William, 44

Shorter county, 191-192

Showalter, Dr., 141

Shumway, Grant Lee, _Pioneering_, 263

Sidney, Nebraska, 25, 193, 264

Sidney trail, 25

Sixth U. S. Infantry, 307, 309

Slade, Jack, 324, 325

Slade, Lyman or Jack, 153

Slocumb, Charles, 145

Slocumb and Hambel, 144

Sluyter, Isaiah, 16

Smith, ----, 178, 291

Smith, Adam, 201

Smith Brothers, 123

Smith, C. B., 91, 92

Smith, Mrs. C. B., 91

Smith, Charles, 78

Smith, Dan, 77

Smith, Mrs. Dan, 77

Smith, De Etta Bell, 185

Smith, Edmund Burke, 185

Smith, Mrs. Eleanor Murphey, 339

Smith, Hazel Bell, 185

Smith, Mrs. J. Fred, 306

Smith, J. G., 78

Smith, John, 13

Smith, Major, 119

Smith, Samuel C., 246

Smith, Towner, 78

Smith, Col. Watson B., 326

Snake creek, 25

Snowden, Mrs. William P., 92

Solomon river, 218

Sommerlad, H. W., 260

Sons of the American Revolution, 187, 188

Soules, ----, 175

Southwell, ----, 33

Spade, Dan, 109

Spade, William, _Fillmore County in the 70's_, 109

Spanish American War, 334

Spillman, Jerome, 300

Stall, Irwin, 259

Stanley, C., 244, 245

Stanton county, 266, 267

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 275, 277

Staples, David, 168, 171-173

Starbuck, Rev. Charles, 206

Star hotel, Fairbury, 143

Stark, Isaac W., 16

Stark, John, 15

Stark, Margaret, 15

State Federation of Woman's Clubs, 254

Stebbins, Mrs. W. M., _The Erickson Family_, 76

Steele, Annie M., 275

Steele, Mrs. Annie Strickland, 334

Steele, Calvin F., 143, 166, 275

Steele, Mrs. C. F., _Personal Recollections_, 166-167; _Finding the
George Winslow Grave_, 168

Stephen, Bennett chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Stevens, Col. George, 284, 293

Stevens, Mary M. A., 334

Stevens, William, 250

Stiles, James, 32

Stilts, Judge, 287

Stockville, Nebraska, 263

Stone, Dr. ----, 248

Stone, Lucy, 275

Storer, William, 28

Stout, D. D., 290

Stout, E. P., 290

Stromsburg, Nebraska, 339

Stubbs, Mrs. J. J., 336

Stuckey, Capt. John S., 58

Stuckey, Joseph, 58

Stuckey, Samuel Clay, 58

Stuhl, Joseph, 16

Stutzman, Henry, 14

Sullivan, Potter C., 298

Sumner, Nebraska, 66

Superior chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Superior, Nebraska, 111, 338

Sutton, Nebraska, 18, 43, 44, 339

Swan Brothers, 26

Swan creek, 140, 148-149

Sweetser, ----, 174

Sweezy, William F., 92

Taggart, Rev. J. M., 296

Talbot, Mr. and Mrs. Ben, 47

Talbot, Bishop, 241

Talbot, John, 223, 226

Talbot, Dr. Willis, 49

Tall Bull (Cheyenne Indian), 198

Tash, Ira E., _Historical Sketch of Box Butte County_, 25

Taylor, J. O., 46

Taylor, Tim, 152

Tecumseh, Nebraska, 161, 275

Tenth U. S. Infantry, 242

Thayer county, 140, 270, 277

Thayer County Woman's Suffrage Association, 277, 278

Thayer, Gen. John M., 92

Thayer, Mrs. John M., 92

_The Conservative_, 238

_The Homesteader_, 248

Thomas, S. G., 175

Thomas & Champlin, 141, 142

Thompson, Barbara J., 278

Thirty-seventh Star chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Thirty-two Mile creek, 12

Three Groves, Nebraska, 95

Three Trails chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 339

Thurston, Mrs. John M., 334

Tibbetts, Mrs. Addison S., 335

Timberville (Ames), Nebraska, 306

Tinklepaugh, Roy, 127

Tipton, James, 59

Tipton, Thomas W., 213

Tisdale, Thomas H., 260, 261

Tooth & Maul, 91

Towle, Albert, 151

Towle, Mrs. Eliza, 187

Towle, Mrs. Elizabeth, 334

Tree planting, 238, 297

Trefren and Hewitt, 46

Tremont house, 92

_Tribune_, The Fremont, 79

Troup, Mrs. Elsie De Cou, 189

Tucker, ----, 60

Tucker family, 57

Tucker, Tudor, 58

Tulley, Mrs. Capitola Skiles, 339

Turkey creek, 225

Turner, Eliza, 78

Turner, Mrs. George, 82

Turner, Mrs. Margaret, 78

Ulig, ----, 217

Union Pacific R. R., 16, 29, 54, 55, 57, 62, 66, 75, 76, 82, 84, 91, 95,
104, 106, 161, 192, 193, 198, 199, 200, 243, 245, 264, 327

United States Daughters of the War of 1812, 253

Upper 96 ranch, 77

Valentine, Nebraska, 22, 334

Vallery, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob, 41

Valley county, 204

Van Horn, James, 291

Van Vliet, Brig. Gen. Stewart L., 225

Vance, Mrs. Laura (Laura Roper), 270

Vanier brothers, 294

Vermillion, A. Martha, 278

Virginia, Nebraska, 127, 130

Wahoo, Nebraska, 78, 221

Walker brothers, 193

Walker, Major Lester, _Early History of Lincoln County_, 190

Wallace, Mrs. C. M., 339

Walnut creek, 258, 259, 260

Walton, Mrs. Ellen Saunders, _Early Days in Nance County_, 206

Ward, Joseph, 180

Ward, Mrs. Oreal S., 337, 338

Ware, Ellen Kinney, _Early Reminiscences of Nebraska City_, 240

Warfield's ranch, 221

Warrick, Amasa, 286

Warrington, T. L., 68

Warwick, Rev. J. W., 13

Warwick, Lila (or Eliza), 13, 14

Washington county, 286, 287, 290-298

Wasson, ----, 244

Waters, Stella Brown, 49

Waters, William H., 248

Waters, W. W., 49

Waterville, Kansas, 162

Waterville, Nebraska, 142

Watson, W. W., 145

Wayne, Nebraska, 339

Webster, John Lee, _The Last Romantic Buffalo Hunt on the Plains of
Nebraska_, 326

Weed, Thurlow, 44

Weed, William L., 44

Weeks, M. H., 142

Weeks, Mrs. M. H., _Early Days in Jefferson County_, 175

Weeks, Mary, 175

Weeping Water, Legend of, 39

Weeping Water, Nebraska, 36, 37, 38, 339

Weeping Water river, 220

Wehn, ----, 116

Weisel, George, 139

Wells Fargo Express Company, 25, 77

West, ----, 80

West, Mr. and Mrs., 79

West, Julia, 79

West Blue river, 43, 97, 107, 245, 258, 262

West Blue postoffice, 97

West Point, Nebraska, 36

Western Stage Company, 142

Westling, J. A., 133

Weston, John B., 43

Wharton, Rev. Fletcher L., 213

Wheeler, Judge, 213

Wheeler, Major, 123, 246

Whiskey Run, 169

Whitaker, ----, 103

Whitaker, Sabra Brumsey, 101

White, Rev. A. G., 291

White, Capt. Charles, 43

White Eagle (Pawnee Chief), 194

White, Luke, 100

White, Sammy, 98, 100

Whiterock, Kansas, 131

Whitewater, Jim (Otoe half-breed), 116, 117, 144

Whiting, A. V., 155

Whitney family, 213

Whittaker, Mrs. Clifford, _A Good Indian_, 74

Wiggins, Horace S., 15

Wigton, A. L., 15, 17

Wigton, J. W., 17

Wilbur, Nebraska, 163

Wild Bill (James B. Hickok), 139, 153, 270

Wild Cat banks, 237

Wilds, M. B., 291

Wiley, Araminta, 96

Wiley, Gertrude Miranda, 93

Wiley, Hattie, 96

Wiley, Dr. William Washington, 93

Wilkinson, Emma, 305

Wilkinson, Ida, 305

Wilkinson, Nettie, 306

Wilkinson, Thomas, 305, 306

Wilkinson, Mrs. Thomas, 305, 306

Wilkinson, William W., 306

Williamson, John, 194, 195

Wilson, ----, 58

Wilson, Capt., 280

Wilson, Luther, 78

Wilson, Perley, 56

Wilson, W. R., 82

Wiltse, Chauncey Livingston, _The Pawnee Chief's Farewell_, 208-210

Winslow, Edward, 171

Winslow, Eleazer, 171

Winslow, George, 168-174

Winslow, Mrs. George, 170

Winslow, George E., 170

Winslow, George Edward, 171

Winslow, Henry O., 170, 171

Winslow, Mrs. Henry, 168

Winslow, James, 171

Winslow, Jesse, 170, 173

Winslow, Josiah, 171

Winslow, Kenelm, 170, 171

Winslow, Shadrach, 171

Wint, Brig. Gen. Theodore, 189

Woerner, Mike, 216

Wolf creek, 117

_Woman's Journal_, 277, 278

Woman's suffrage, 275-278

Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Kentucky, 91

Wood river, 27, 60, 66

Wood River Centre, 27, 28

Woodhurst, Mrs., 182

Woodhurst, Warden, 182

Woods, Jim, 139

Work, George F., _Historical Sketch of Adams County_, 11

Wright, Eben, 13

Wyncoop, Col. ----, 270

Wyoming Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 338

Wyoming Society Sons of the American Revolution, 338

Wyuka cemetery, Nebraska City, 297

Yankee Hill, 177

Yankton, South Dakota, 247

Young, Brigham, 65

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation has been standardised.

Minor printer errors (e.g. omitted, superfluous or transposed
characters) have been fixed.

Kearny and Kearney are both used in this text.

Page 13, "Rhoderic" changed to "Roderick" (Roderick Lomas) [per internet

Page 25, "Eldorado" changed to "El Dorado" (trip to the new El Dorado)

Page 96, "Asch" changed to "Asche" (A. Dove Wiley Asche) [per internet

Page 125, "benumed" changed to "benummed" (being benummed myself) [per
Webster's 1828 Dictionary]

Page 170, "daguerrotype" changed to "daguerreotype" (daguerreotype of
Mr.) (daguerreotype of George)

Page 171, "1833" changed to "1633" (colony in 1633)

Page 219, "repellant" changed to "repellent" (seemed repellent, irksome)

Page 226, "repellant" changed to "repellent" (and repellent fear)

Page 226, "arborially" changed to "arboreally" (arboreally interred)

Page 227, "markmanship" changed to "marksmanship" (no deft marksmanship)

Page 281, "Nemeha" changed to "Nemaha" (grazing in the Nemaha)

Page 308, "Ottoes" changed to "Otoes" (the "Ottoes, Pawnees)

Page 315, the spelling of "delf" was retained (per Webster 1828

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