AND RECORD OF PIONEER DAYS
Published Monthly by the Nebraska State Historical Society
Editor, ADDISON E. SHELDON
The Staffs of the Nebraska State Historical Society and
Legislative Reference Bureau
Subscription $2.00 Per Year
q All sustaining members of the Nebraska State Historical
Society receive Nebraska History without further payment.
q Entered as second class matter, under act of July 16, 1894 at
Lincoln, Nebraska, April 2, 1918.
The June, July and August numbers of the Nebraska History have been omitted. The publication has been effected by the war activities, and we ask the consideration of readers on this account.
THE TRIBAL RELATION OF LOGAN FONTENELLE.
The following letter and newspaper clipping deal in an interesting way with persons intimately connected with the early history of Nebraska. The letter is addressed to the historian of the Historical Society and the clipping is from the Omaha World-Herald.
"Some time ago Mrs. Mary Mitchell, Omaha Indian interpreter, visited me here (at Omaha) and showed me a letter which you had written to Mrs. Henry Fontenelle in regard to some article you were getting out touching the right of Logan Fontenelle to be called chief of the Omaha.
"She explained that Mrs. Henry Fontenelle, Sr., was in Pawnee, Oklahoma, and this letter was delivered to Mrs. Henry Fontenelle, Jr., who is Mary Mitchell's daughter and the wife of Eugene Fontenelle's son. She asked me to write you about it, and I am sorry that I have been so slow about doing so.
"Mrs. Henry Fontenelle, Sr., came up through here to Decatur two or three months ago, and has now come down here for two duties, as the enclosed story will show. She will be over to Council Bluffs probably the remainder of the week and then will come over here and with me and Mr. Glider and Mr. Scott, photographer, will visit the graves; Eugene going also. She is getting quite feeble physically, but retains her mental faculties remarkably.
"I questioned Mary Mitchell, after reading your letter, and she has the clearest idea of any one I have talked with about the conditions of the time of Logan, gained from the very few old people still alive. I very much wish someone could go with me to Decatur, and gather the few things that can be gathered from the few old ones still living.
"One thing they all agree in. Logan Fontenelle did not have to be adopted by the tribe. He was a member at the tribe through his mother. a full blood Indian. The tribal membership came as much through the women as the men. You have got that idea because Joe La Flesche had to be adopted, his mother beiing [sic] a Pawnee. He was adopted by Big Elk to take the place of Big Elk's feeble son. It seems that Big Elk was a relative of Fontenelle's, too, but I cannot remember just how.
"Mary Mitchell states that she has learned that White Elk, a brother of Big Elk, should have been chief instead of LaFlesche, and that No-Knife, son of White Elk, was made chief after LaFlesche was
deposed. She told me some more but I did not take notes,
thinking to go up there this summer.
The newspaper story referred to by Mrs.
THE INDIAN FIGHT ON THE LITTLE BLUE.
Some more details of, the running fight with the Indians on the Little Blue are given by John Gilbert. overland stage driver, who with Robert Emery occupied the box on the stage that day - August 7, 1864. To refresh the memory of the reader it is well to say that the stage had left the Constable wagon train in the rear and was pressing on toward Oak Grove station when the Indians were encountered. At about the same time the station was under siege. The story of the race is told at length in volume XIX of the Society's publications. Mr. Gilbert writes from Red Cloud about the experience of his party on the stage coach:
"We all saw the Indians about the same time. They were not ahead of us; they were south of its and we were going west. They were behind a short bend in the spring branch which was South of us about 200 yards.
"I think somebody asked what we would do, and I proposed that we go back to Constable's train. It was then suggested by one of the passengers that a vote be taken and everybody voted to go back. The driver, Robert Emery, then turned the team around. The Indians had not seen us until we started back on the trot when they heard the coach rattle. The Indians were looking for the coach to come down into the bottom on the traveled road, and when they saw it they gave an unearthly yell. They started to cut us off from the traveled track but missed it, as the horses were running downhill. After we got back into the traveled road some of them to the south of us were not over 50 yards off.
"There was a place, it was what we called a draw, where he would have had to check up if we had crossed it where the travel did.
But as the passengers were shooting out of the doors, as
were some of us from the top of the coach, I directed Emery
to cross the draw farther north as there was an old track
that went straight across the draw where it was not deep.
Where the travel crossed the draw it went straight east and
turned south in the bottom of the draw and then turned east
again to get out. To make the turns, going as we were, would
have tipped us over, and if we had checked our speed the
Indiana would have caught up with us. There were only about
eight or ten Indians that could go as fast as we were
FIRST SETTLEMENTS IN THE REPUBLICAN VALLEY.
Dear Editor: - In the April-May issue reference is made to the establishing by Royal Buck of the first colony in Red Willow county, in 1872. He was the president of the Republican Valley Land Co., organized in Nebraska City in the fall of 1871, and with a party of ten men was sent to the Republican valley, and arrived at what to now Red Willow county on November 20, 1871. The party was there about a week, locating a town site and claims, and returned to Nebraska City, arriving on December 9, 1871.
The land on which the town site and claims were located had just been surveyed, and the plats had not, been made in the surveyor general's office. So there was a special plat made for the party, which was taken to Beatrice, and filings were made. This was about January 1, 1872.
1 was one of the party, and can see no reason why the initial settlement was not made in November, 1871. There were some partisan county seat feelings which might have something to do with the dates of that period.
In Royal Buck's diary of the expedition it appears that there were nine persons in the party; that on the night of November 20 it camped on the west bank of Medicine Creek some distance east of the boundary between the counties of Furnas and Red Willow which was established about a year later; that they reached Red Willow Creek on the 22d: chose the site for the proposed town of Red Willow on the 25th; and started homeward on the 29th. A comprehensive account of "The Beginning of Red Willow County" is printed in volume XIX of the publications of the Historical Society, which will soon be issued.
REORGANIZATION OF THE NEWSPAPER DEPARTMENT.
About the year 1891 the Historical Society began a systematic collection of Nebraska newspapers and other periodicals. This collection has been increased from year to year, and it now comprises about five hundred distinct periodicals, which are preserved and bound each your. This library of Nebraska history long ago outgrew the original space provided for it and the plan for classifying and indexing. Several thousand volumes of these files have been placed in the Society's store room at Sixteenth and H streets. They were so crowded in the space spared for them at the rooms of the Society that it was very difficult conveniently to find particular volumes as they were called for. A complete rearrangement of these flies has been made lately by Mr. E. E. Blackman and Miss Martha M. Turner of the Society's staff. Each volume has been labeled and placed in alphabetical order, and a list of all newspapers and other periodicals in the collection and a diagram of the shelves have been made.
There are now over ten thousand bound volumes in the collection. Before long a pamphlet list of the files will be published and distributed to the public. Letters asking for information contained in old newspapers are frequently received. The Historical Society affords the safest and most useful depository for early Nebraska newspapers, and it desires to procure all that are avallable.
A NOTABLE COLLECTION FROM FT. CALHOUN.
THE FRENCH IN NEBRASKA.
The earliest white explorers of "The Nebraska Country" were Frenchmen who first come about the year 1700, via the Missouri River. They intermarried with Nebraska Indians and many of the descendants from these marriages are still living. The pioneer Frenchmen gave their names to many streams and trading posts, and they served as guides to the first American expeditions, under Lewis and Clark, Fremont and others. There are five or six, and perhaps more, French settlements in the state at the present time which deserve special attention. The French element in the population of Nebraska is not large - 5,178 by the census of 1910. These citizens of French origin are intensely loyal to American institutions, and just now, when everything about France is of special interest, the story of the French in Nebraska will doubtless be read with pleasure and profit. This subject will receive further attention in future publications of the Historical Society.
OREGON PROMISES NEBRASKA REMINISCENCES.
George H. Himes, assistant secretary of the Oregon Historical Society, writes:
"Nos. 3-4, April-May, 1918, of 'Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days,' received, but badly mutilated in the mails This a much regretted because the useful publication deserves permanent filing. Therefore, if agreeable to you, I would like another copy.
"I came through what is now Nebraska before there was a house in Omaha. I remember very well, indeed, when I had to rustle 'right smart' to get 'buffalo chips' for fuel.
"By and by, possibly, I might drop you a few reminiscences, if you think it worth while. I crossed the plains from Illinois in 1853."
Gen. J. H. Culver writes from Milford that he hopes soon to be able to furnish a brief history of Troop A. N. N. G., and Troop K, Third U. S. Vol. Cavalry in the Spanish-American war. He says that this is the only military organization from Seward county that has served in any war and about three hundred young men of Seward county served in this organization during its existence. Gen. Culver says also that Troop A marched over a thousand miles, participated in twelve state encampments, and represented in its membership nearly every part of Seward county, notably Beaver Crossing, Pleasant Dale, Tamora, Utica, Staplehurst, Goehner, Milford, besides a small squad from Seward.
A breezy letter is received from R. S. Schofield of Shickley, who thinks the story of early days at Aspinwall might be made more complete if the old settlers would tell all they know. One of the incidents in the career of the town that he recalls is that there was a ferry cable stretched across the river, and a government boat ran into it, knocked the cabin off and killed the pilot. If the stories could all be told, the early towns would furnish histories of many tragedies and romances.
Writing about the dedication of the monument at Oak Grove, Mrs. Eva M. Follmer, of Oak Grove, Nebr., says that the interest and enjoyment of the occasion would have been complete if Mr. Follmer could have lived to be there. He had done so much work in promoting the establishment of the monument and in preserving the history of the early events of that locality, that it was the uppermost thought in his mind during the last two years of his life.
J. M. Burress, of Nemaha county, in sending remittance for membership dues, writes an interesting letter about historical affairs of his county. He settled in the county April 1, 1856, and has prepared some articles relating to freighting days and the early settlement of Nemaha county. He is now president of the Nemaha County Historical Society.
The Boone County Old Settlers Association held its annual meeting and picnic at the Boone county fair grounds, Albion. August 16. Congressman Sloan was the principal speaker. The Call for the meeting was made by Garrett Van Camp, vice president, and F. M. Weitzel, secretary.
S. E. Pearson, cashier of the Bank of Monroe, in sending remittance, writes that he is "glad to have the opportunity to become one of the members of the Nebraska State Historical Society."
William A. Wolfe writes from Beatrice: "A wonderful lot of good reading in the April and May issue. Extravagantly rich is the least I can comment on the good stories."
Writing from Omaha, Mrs. Harriet S. MacMurphy says: "Very much interested in, your magazine, and glad to have a little share."
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