band of Pawnee warriors on horseback, who demanded the surrender of the murderer, which had to be done, or the whole party would have been massacred. Rhines was taken by the Indians, stripped of his clothing, and fastened to the ground with a lariat, after which they deliberately commenced skinning him alive, his companions being formed in a circle around him while the operation was being performed. The skinning process being completed, the Indians appeared perfectly satisfied, and left for their village on the Platte, without harming any of the other emigrants. Rhines survived the operation but a few minutes. His body was interred on the bank of the stream, which has ever since been known as the Rawhide.
The first Indian scare participated in by the citizens of this County, occurred in the month of July, 1855, when two white men were killed at Fontenelle at one shot by a Santee Sioux Indian. The news of this tragedy created the wildest excitement throughout the settlements, and forces were immediately raised in all of them to send against the Indians, as a general attack was apprehended.
Omaha raised a company for this purpose, which was commanded by Captain Wm. E. Moore; and the troops from the several towns were formed into a battalion under the command of Colonel John M. Thayer, which proceeded to Fontenelle and made that place its headquarters. The campaign was a short one, no hostile Indians being found; and after spending several weeks in scouting along the Elkhorn and reconnoitering the country in the vicinity of Fontenelle, the expedition was disbanded.
In what was known as the "Pawnee War" of 1859, Douglas County was represented by a mounted company under command of Capt. Wm. E. Moore, and a gun squad, commanded by Capt James Ford, making together about 100 men.
In the summer of 1864, a large band of Indians appeared on the Elkhorn, in the western part of this County, which so frightened the settlers of that neighborhood that they left everything and fled precipitately to Omaha.
A few days before this, several suspicious looking strangers had arrived in the city, and a rumor was started that they were a part of Quantrell's band that had just previously destroyed Law-
rence, Kansas, and who were here looking over the grounds preparatory to raiding Omaha; so when the settlers of the Elkhorn came flocking into the city before daylight, it caused the most intense excitement. Business was entirely suspended that day. A meeting was called at the Court House at two o'clock in the. afternoon, and before sunset every able-bodied man in the city, was fully armed, equipped, and prepared for anything that might occur. A strong guard was organized and stationed that night at all the approaches to the city, and this vigilance was continued for about two weeks. These precautions, no doubt, prevented an attack on the city from either bushwhackers or Indians. The settlers of the Elkhorn lost some of their cattle and valuables, which were appropriated by the Indians as soon as they had gone.
At the breaking out of the Indian disturbances in Nebraska in 1864, Governor Alvin Saunders made a call for the militia for self-protection, and under this call companies of mounted infantry were organized for four months' service, among them being the following from Omaha:
Company A.--R. T. Beall, Captain; George C. Yates, First Lieutenant; J. H. Barlow, Second Lieutenant.
Company B.--John Taffe, Captain; Edwin Patrick, First Lieutenant; Abraham Deyo, Second Lieutenant.
Company C.--Charles S. Goodrich, Captain; Martin Dunham, First Lieutenant; David T. Mount, Second Lieutenant.
Company D.--Jesse Lowe, Captain; E. Estabrook, First Lieutenant; O. B. Selden, Second Lieutenant.
These companies were organized during the latter part of August, and were intended more as a home guard than anything else, being composed principally of the business men of the city. Captain Beall was placed in command of all the militia forces at Omaha, and kept the city under guard at night.
THE CIVIL WAR.--At the commencement of the great rebellion, Douglas County promptly responded to the call of the general Government with troops for the preservation of the Union.
Recruiting depots were immediately opened at Omaha and other points in the County, and volunteers by the hundreds hastened to place their names on the roll of honor.
The First Regiment Nebraska Volunteers, the First Battalion,
Second Regiment Nebraska Volunteers, the First Nebraska Veteran Cavalry and four companies of Curtis' Horse, were mainly recruited at Omaha, and did noble service in the southwestern army during the rebellion, and on the western plains fighting hostile Indians.
Besides the above mentioned troops, Captain John R. Porter, organized at Omaha, Company A, First Nebraska Militia Cavalry Regiment for home service against "confederate tribes of Indians," and Captain E. P. Childs, of Omaha, raised an artillery attachment.
THE TELEGRAPH.--The first telegraph line to reach Omaha, was the Missouri & Western, in 1860, built from St. Louis, by the late Edward Creighton, of Omaha.
Mr. Creighton shortly afterwards built the Pacific line across the plains which triumph gained for him a national fame and princely fortune. Before the close of the year 1860, be had extended the Missouri & Western from Omaha to Julesburg, Colorado, and early in the following spring he renewed the work with a large force of men and teams, and reached Salt Lake City with his line on the 17th day of October, 1861, where he was joined one week later by a line from California, where the lines were connected and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were united by the electric current.
The second telegraph line to reach Omaha was the Illinois & Mississippi Valley, from Chicago, in 1861.
In 1863, Omaha had three wires--one from St. Louis, one from Chicago, and one to San Francisco.
In 1870, the Great Western Telegraph was built from Chicago to Omaha, connecting with the Pacific coast over the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad wires.
The Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company established their lines west from Omaha to San Francisco, in 1869, and in 1873, constructed a line between Omaha and Chicago, to connect their Western and Eastern systems.
Twenty-three wires now enter Omaha, each one terminating here. There are now in Omaha fifteen telegraph offices, of which the Union Pacific has nine, located at their headquarters, train dispatchers' offices, depots, shops, bridge offices, etc. The others
are those of the Western Union and Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Companies, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago & Rock Island, Chicago & Northwestern, B. & M. in Nebraska, and the Kansas City, St. Joe & Council Bluffs Railroad Companies.
The American Union Telegraph Company reached Omaha with their line, and opened an office in Union Block, on November 15, 1879.
UNION PACIFIC HEADQUARTERS.
RAILROADS.--The ceremony of "breaking ground" for the Union Pacific Railroad, took place at Omaha, December 3,1863.
The Headquarters of the Union Pacific Railroad Company have been maintained at Omaha ever since the road was projected. In 1876, the Company purchased the property known as the Herndon House, which was reconstructed at an expense of $58,000, and is now one of the handsomest and most substantial buildings of the kind to be found west of Chicago.
The B. & M. Headquarters, located on Farnam and Ninth Streets, is also a very fine brick building, erected 1878, and is a magnificent building for which it is used.
The Chicago & Northwestern was the first railroad to reach Omaha from the East, the first train arriving on Sunday, January 17, 1867. Next came the St. Joe & Council Bluffs road--now called the Kansas City, St. Joe & Council Bluffs.
The Chicago & Rock Island road reached Omaha in the spring of 1868, and was followed, the same year, by the Burlington & Missouri, now called the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.
The Omaha & Southwestern, and the Omaha & Northwestern--now called the Omaha & Northern Nebraska--Were both commenced in 1869.
The Omaha & Republican Valley road, a branch of the Union Pacific, was completed to Wahoo, Saunders County, in 1876.
The Omaha & St. Louis Railroad was completed in the fall of 1879.
Omaha has now six passenger trains to and from Chicago, five to and from St. Louis, besides the Union Pacific trains, and those of the Burlington & Missouri River, and Omaha & Northern Nebraska roads. The Sioux City & Pacific road also gives Omaha direct communication with St. Paul, and cities in northwestern Iowa and Dakota.
A more complete history of the railroads of Nebraska will be found in another Chapter.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS.--The first school taught in the County was opened in the basement of the Congregational Church, at Omaha, in the fall of 1856. It was a private school.
In 1879 the number of school districts in the County was forty-nine; number of school houses, fifty- seven; number of children of school age, 8,490--males, 4,141; females, 4,349; whole number of children that attended school during the year, 4,280; number of qualified teachers employed, 140--males, forty; females, 100; wages paid teachers for the year--males, $6,780.80; females, $39,721.25; total, $45,502.08; value of school houses, $332,938; value of school house sites, $98,711; value of books and apparatus, $2,003.
TAXABLE PROPERTY.--The following is a statement of the taxable property of the County, as returned for 1879: Acres of land, 199,963; value, $1,501,879; average value per acre, $7.59; value of town lots, $3,682,785; money invested in merchandise,
$536,111; money used in manufactures, $121,150; number of horses, 4,078, value, $127,249; mules and asses, 409, value, $15,260; neat cattle, 8,847, value, $99,983; sheep, 792, value, $1,386; swine, 11,873, value, $18,755; vehicles, 2,220, value, $70,142; moneys and credits, $105,157; mortgages, $81,047; stocks, etc., $230,760; furniture, $109,791; libraries, $8,284; other personalty [sic], $414,288; railroad and telegraph property, $425,325,14; total valuation, $7,549,352.14.
LAND.--A large portion of the land in this County is held for speculative purposes, and is unimproved. The Union Pacific Railroad Company owns several thousand acres in the western part of the County, for which they ask from $5.00 to $10.00 per acre. Good unimproved upland can be bought at an average price of ten dollars an acre.
POPULATION.--No census returns have been made. The estimated population of the County, January 1, 1879, was 36,557.
OLD SETTLERS OF THE COUNTY.--The following is a partial list of the old settlers of the County, many of whom located at Omaha in 1854: William D. Brown, Dr. Enos Lowe, Jesse Lowe, A. D. Jones, M. C. Gaylord, William P. Snowden, Lorin Miller, Dr. George L. Miller, A. J. Poppleton, Hadley D. Johnson, Harrison Johnson, E. Estabrook, James G. Megeath, C. H. Downs, J. W. Paddock, S. E. Rogers, H. H. Visscher, Allen Root, John Davis, John Logan, Edwin Patrick, John Withnell, Rev. Reuben Gaylord, W. W. Wyman, J. W. Pickard, A. J. Hanscom, Herman Kountze, S. A. Orchard, D. C. Sutphen, the Creightons, J. G. Chapman, Ezra Millard, Dr. J. K. Ish, John Green, Cam Reeves, J. H. Millard, Dr. Plummer, the Durnalls, Tom Murray, O. F. Davis, M. Hellman, A. Cahn, John R. Horbach, G. M. Mills, Wm. Sexauer, Judge George B. Lake, H. R. A. Pundt, the Patricks, Gen. John M. Thayer, F. A. Schneider, Hon. James M. Woolworth, John R. Porter, Dr. Peck, John McCormick, Harry Deuel, Edwin Loveland, Josiah S. McCormick, John M. Sheely, J. R. Merideth, Fred. Davis, J. I. Brown, A. J. Simpson, P. W. Hitchcock, A. S. Paddock, Byron Reed, J. W. Tousley, Joel T. Griffin, Major George Armstrong, Rev. W. A. McCandlish, Judge Briggs, Levi Kennard, Ignace Scherb, Tom Riley, Hon. John I. Redick, John Riley, W. A. Gwyer, James E. Boyd, James M.
Winship, William A. Paxton, Frank Dellone, Fred. Dellone, G. W. Doane, S. A. Strickland, Father Curtis, Thomas O'Connor, A. J. Harmon, Milton Rogers,. Dr. William McClelland, J. W. VanNostrand, W. J. Kennedy, James McArdle, John Kennedy, E. F. Cook, S. R. Brown, Randall Brown, Fred. King, A. N. Ferguson, George I. Gilbert, John Kennedy, Thomas Swift, E. V. Smith, C. W. Koenig, C. W. Hamilton, D. Whitney, A. R. Gilmore, J. S. Gibson, Fred Krug, Frank Kleffner, D. S. Parmelee, Michael Connolly, Luke McDermot, Patrick Dinan.
The County Seat, had at the beginning of the year 1879, a population of 26,500. Laid out in the summer of 1854, its growth has. been constant and of the most substantial character, so that to-day it is not only the leading City of Nebraska, but is one of the most prosperous and beautiful cities in the West.
The fine plateau--nearly a mile broad, and elevated some fifty or sixty feet above the Missouri--embraced by the original town site, is now occupied by the chief business portions of the city, while the low-rounded, tree-covered bills, forming a semi-circle on the west and South, are thickly dotted with tasteful and elegant residences and buildings of note.
On the elevated ground at the southwestern boundary of the city limits, is Hanscom Park, containing sixty acres, covered with a fine natural grove, which has been laid out and beautified by the city for the benefit of the public. Immediately west of the city is the Poor Farm oil which has been erected a commodious brick Almshouse. Northwest of the city, about two miles distant, is situated the State Deaf and Dumb Institute; and further to the north, on a high bill, adorned with shade trees and evergreens, in plain view of the city, is Prospect Cemetery. The Douglas County Fair Grounds, the Omaha Driving Park, and the Omaha Barracks, lie just beyond the northern limits of the city.
Omaha, owing to her splendid geographical position--being the half-way station across the continent, and the gateway leading to the rich mining districts of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific coast--has become an important railroad and commercial center. Her railroads reach out in every direction, and her wholesale trade,
now amounting to twelve or fifteen million dollars annually, is constantly on the increase, while her manufactures are rapidly developing into an important interest.
Being at the head of the Union Pacific Railroad, the principal machine shops, and general offices of that great company are located here. The machine shops were completed in 1865. They are located on the Missouri bottoms, in front of the city, and consist of a dozen or more large and substantial brick structures, covering an extensive area of ground. They give employment to between six and seven hundred men, among whom over half a million dollars is paid out annually. A large amount of money has been expended in the past year by the Government and Union Pacific Railroad Company in rip-rapping the banks of the river above the machine shops.
Omaha has one linseed oil mill, manufacturing annually millions of pounds of oil cake and thousands of gallons of oil; one distillery, which pays a government tax of more than $300,000 per year; six large breweries, a white lead works, nail works, extensive stock yards, several large pork-packing establishments, two steam flouring mills, two steam saw mills, two planing mills, two immense grain elevators, two machine shops and foundries, a safe factory, one large carriage factory and several smaller ones, a cracker factory, soap, brush and broom factories, ten brick yards, agricultural implement and numerous smaller manufacturing and industrial establishments.
There are four sound banking houses in the city--the First National, the Omaha National, Caldwell, Hamilton & Co., and the State Bank of Nebraska.
The hotel accommodations of Omaha, since the destruction of the Grand Central by fire, in 1878, are entirely inadequate.
The Grand Central was a magnificent brick structure, with stone facings, one hundred and thirty-two feet square, five stories and basement. It was finished in 1873, at a cost of $300,000, and was considered the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco. The fire originated through the carelessness of a workman, who, on the evening of September 4, 1878, while the hotel was undergoing repairs, and unoccupied, left a candle burning on a piece of board, in the elevator-way, near the roof, when he quit work in the even-
ing. The hotel was totally destroyed, and five of the Omaha firemen, John Lee, Asst. Chief, Wm. McNamara, Henry Lockfeld, Fred. Wilson and A. D. Randall perished in the ruins.
GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL.
The Withnell House, corner of Harney and Fifteenth streets, is a new and first-class house, opened in the fall of 1878, by the Kitchen Brothers, who were the lessees of the Grand Central, and heavy losers by the fire.
The Metropolitan Hotel, corner of Twelfth and Douglas streets, is a first class house.
The Canfield House, corner of Ninth and Farnam streets, is a new and very fine hotel.
The Atlantic, Donovan, St. Charles, Planters and Omaha House are among the flourishing hotels of the city.
The Nebraskian was the first newspaper printed at Omaha. It was established in the fall of 1854 and lived until 1864. The Weekly Times, established in 1857, by W. W. Wyman, was the second paper printed in the city. It was short-lived, as was also the Democrat, established the following year by H. D. Johnson.
The Republican was started as a weekly paper on the 5th of May, 1858, by Ed. F. Schneider and Harrison J. Brown. In 1863 it was changed to a daily, and in 1871 it was consolidated with the Omaha Tribune, an opposition paper which had been started in
January, 1870, by J. B. Hall and others. It then became a joint stock company, and was issued under the name of Tribune and Republican until 1873, when it resumed its old name of Republican. It has long been the leading Republican organ of the State.
The Telegraph was the first daily paper published in Omaha, the first number appearing in December, 1860. It did not last more than a year.
The Omaha Daily Herald was established in 1865 by Dr. George L. Miller and D. W. Carpenter, the former being the editor. Lyman Richardson and John S. Briggs published the Herald for a short time in 1868, and upon Mr. Briggs retiring, the firm became Miller & Richardson, Dr. Miller retaining the editorial pen. In 1874 Miller & Richardson built and moved the Herald into the fine brick structure now occupied by it, on Farnam, near Fifteenth street. The Herald is to-day the leading Democratic paper of the Northwest.
The Daily Evening Times, independent, was started in 1868, and shortly afterwards removed to Sioux City, Iowa.
The Daily Bee was established in June, 1871, by Edward Rosewater. It is Republican in politics, and has grown step by step from a small sheet to a large and influential paper, publishing two editions daily--morning and evening.
The Daily Dispatch, established in 1873, by J. C. Wilcox, died out in two or three months.
The Daily Union, established in January, 1874, ceased to exist in the following Fall.
The Center-Union Agriculturist, Geo. W. Brewster, editor and proprietor, was established several years ago, and is at present a very prosperous and neat weekly.
The Daily Evening News, Fred Nye, editor, was established in 1878, and has met with splendid success, being now one of the leading papers of the city.
The Nebraska Watchman--"Little Mae's" paper--F. M. MacDonagh, editor, was removed from Council Bluffs to Omaha in the spring of 1879. It is a weekly, devoted to "colonization, immigration and the interests of the working man," and is a most excellent and successful family newspaper.
The Portfolio, issued weekly by the Portfolio Printing Com-
© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, T&C Miller