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 mail matter, under act of July 16,
1894, at Lincoln, Nebraska, April 2, 1918.
The program of the annual meeting of
the State Historical Society has been postponed on account
of the influenza. The regular business session will be held
January 14, 1919.
G. W. Ablot of Inland is still living on the homestead he obtained in pioneer days. Mr. Ablot and A. M. Lathrop are the only early settlers now living in the precinct of Adams county where he settled. He drove over the site now occupied by Hastings when it was open prairie. He remembers the terrible Easter storm of 1872, in which great numbers of cattle and other stock were frozen or smothered to death in snowdrifts. Many cattle were driven before the blizzard to perish in the Blue River valley. For some time afterward people roamed over the prairie procuring the hides of the frozen animals which they brought to the towns for sale. (Adams County Democrat, November 15.)
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Frank of Longmont, Col., have been visiting relatives in Minden, and Mr. Frank relates that in 1857 he was employed in a military wagon train which carried building material from Fort Leavenworth to Salt Lake City, that the train was burned by the Mormons in the Green River valley, and that he and other employees of the party walked back to Leavenworth - a distance of two thousand miles. (The Minden News, November 15.)
This was the year of the outbreak of the Mormon rebellion. In October two supply trains were destroyed by Mormons in the Green River valley, distant about one thousand miles from Fort Leavenworth by the route then traveled. Salt Lake City was about two hundred miles farther.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Torpin of Oakdale celebrated the flfty-fifth anniversary of their marriage on November 17, and four generations of their family were represented. They were early residents of Fremont, but have lived at Oakdale for the past twenty-five years. Henry Torpin and Anna M. Bruner were born in 1841, he near Philadelphia and she near Carlisle, Pa. They were married on November 17, 1863 at Coe Town, Ill. In 1882 the firm of McDonald & Torpin, contractors, was formed and engaged in building railroads in Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Nebraska. In the spring of 1886 the firm of Henry Torpin & Son was formed and it took part in the construction at many railroads in Nebraska. In 1891, Mr. Torpin and his son organized the Torpin Grain Company which bought or built a line of elevators on the Northwestern railroad. Lately, however, Mr. Torpin has devoted most of his time to the management of the Torpin Land and Live Stock Company.
COMMERCE CATCHES THE COYOTE.
No resident of Lancaster county has so far become governor of Nebraska; but on November 5, 1918, Samuel R. McKelvie, of Lincoln, in that county, was elected governor, and, according to the constitution. he will assume the office January 9, 1919. Following is a statement of the legal residence of each governor at the time of his election and his tenure of office:
David Butler, Pawnee county, March 27,
1867, to March 1, 1871.
Governor Butler was removed from office
on March 1, 1871, by virtue of the adoption of articles of
impeachment against him on that day, and William H. James,
then secretary of state, became acting governor according to
a provision of the constitution. Holcomb and Poynter were
populists, but elected as fusionists; Boyd, Shallenberger,
Morehead; and Neville wore elected as democrats; all the
rest as republicans.
The following is quoted from the
Scottsbluff Republican of September 6, 1918:
his father, a Mr. Billings, who was with this Captain W.
D. Fouts when he was killed. He was positive as to his being
buried here. At the time Captain Fouts was killed two or
three other soldiers were killed, too, but this man was not
certain that they were buried here, in fact, it he thought
they were not.
'Superintendent Ft. McPherson National
There is no record as to when or what
part of the cemetery these bodies are buried, or whether
they were ever buried.
John Anderson, Pvt., Co. C, 7th Iowa
Cav., died Sept. 18. 1864, Ft. McPherson.
Grave 801 is marked "Four Unknown." No
date of interment, names, organization, or other means of
identification, either on the headstones or Interment
son National Cemetery. It seems probable that these were
remains of deceased soldiers of the garrison of the
Three years ago when the body of the
captain was found, the government gave us instructions that
in case any more bodies were found to notify them.
In the fall of 1863 eight companies of
the Seventh Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Cavalry were detached
from their field of action in the Civil War to protect
settlers on the trans-Missouri plains from hostile Indians,
and they arrived at Omaha on September 19. On June 11, 1865,
Captain William D. Fouts, in command of Company D and small
detachments of A and B, of that regiment, in all four
commissioned officers and 135 enlisted men, left Fort
Laramie in charge of about 1,500 reputed good Indians who
were sent to Julesburg to separate them from the influence
of bad Indians. These wards being "ostensibly friendly,"
were indulged with a good equipment of bows and arrows as
well as guns. On the night of the 13th Captain Fouts and his
command camped on the east bank of Horse Creek and the
Indians on the opposite side. Early in the morning of the
14th Captain Fouts crossed the creek to get the Indians
started on the march when they shot him dead. His body was
found stripped and mutilated. The Indians then "fled two or
three miles to the Platte."
jugation. The moral, or immoral, quality of policy and process is a different consideration.
These obituaries are compiled largely from death notices printed in newspapers which are received and kept on file by the Historical Society. While the sketches have been carefully edited, it has been impossible to avoid and correct all inaccuracies. The lives of some subjects of the obituaries were of unusual public interest, and in such cases the sketches have been duty amplified. Statements of fact, particularly those which are of record, have been verified as far as practicable. Obviously, it is very desirable that these records, which will always be used for reference, should be correct, and surviving relatives and editors of local newspapers should carefully cooperate in preventing errors.
Charles A. Morell, born in Sweden
January 9, 1863, died at Gothenburg October 26; came to
America with his parents when one year old; they first
settled in Omaha, then at Oakland, and in 1884 at
eight years. In the course of his service he traveled
about 128,000 miles, a distance of more than five times
around the world. It is said that he never lost a piece of
mail or was disciplined for misconduct. This veteran had
never ridden on a railroad train until last summer, when he
went from Wilsonville to Beaver City by the line which
follows the route he had traveled in the mail service before
the road was built. He first carried mail in 1882, from
Arapahoe to Wilsonville, and then from Beaver City to Cedar
Bluffs (in Decatur County, Kan.. forty-two miles by the
railroad west of Beaver City). He had other routes, but
during the last nine years he has had the daily route from
Beaver City to Oxford. (The Times-Tribune, November 21.)
DEATH OF A NOTABLE PIONEER.
Eliza, wife of Daniel Freeman, born at Brantford, Ontario, December 28, 1832. died December 1 at Lexington, Neb. In 1861 the family moved to Fort Leavenworth and in the fall Mr. Freeman opened a store at Plum Creek station, which was situated on the Oregon Trail - but then commonly called the road to California - about three miles east and six miles south of the site now occupied by Lexington. Here Mr. and Mrs. Freeman kept a store and eating house until the Union Pacific railroad reached that part of Nebraska, in 1866, when he started a store on the site where the railroad station called Plum Creek was soon afterward built. As Freeman claimed the site as a homestead and the two parties could not come to an agreement about it, the station was moved about a mile farther west. The name of the town was changed to Lexington in 1889.
In 1873 Mr. Freeman established the Dawson County Pioneer, the first newspaper of that county. He was drowned while trapping near Deadwood, S. D., in 1877. The Freemans are regarded as the very first settlers in what is now Phelps county, and among the very first in Dawson county. Seven children survived their mother. The site of the first Plum Creek is in the extreme northwest corner of Phelps county.
An interesting story, by Mrs. Freeman, of "Early Days in Dawson County," is printed in Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences, published in 1916.
THIRTEEN HOURS IN A NEBRASKA BLIZZARD.
Following is part of a letter written by Dr. G. C. Paxton, of Chambers, Nebraska, to his wife, on January 18, 1888:
'We have had severe blizzards every few days all winter, but on Thursday, the 12th inst., there was the worst storm that was ever known in this or any other country. On the 11th it snowed and was very blustery, but on the morning of the never-to-be-forgotten 12th, the wind was blowing a soft breeze, from the south, and every one said, 'We are going to have a January thaw,' but alas how untrue. In less than one minute, without warning, with no indication that death and destruction would follow that awful storm, with no premonition that an impending and horrible doom await them, the people were out attending to their stock, or at their respective avocations, when it came. The wind blow a terrible gale, the air was full of powdered snow and so cold that hundreds of cattle and live stock of all kinds froze to death. Such was the state at affairs when Lee and Crof Baker, a man by the name of Gorman, from Scotia, Neb., and myself, started to go from our store to Mr. Wry's, our boarding house.
The time was 1:30 o'clock p. m. when we started. We could not see five feet from us in any direction. We got probably within twenty feet of the house, got lost, shouted as loud as we could, but could hear nothing but that fearful wind. We were not clothed to be out half an hour. After trying to find the house we started with the wind which was blowing from the northwest. We were frightful looking human beings with ice hanging from our whiskers and clothes, our faces a sheet of ice, but we staggered on. We went through corn stalks, over cultivated farms, came to trees, went within a few yards of houses, shouted and screamed, but no echoing voice returned. By this time night was approaching, but still we traveled on, determined not to yield until we were forced to do so. We finally came to some cabbage and castor bean stalks and we knew we were close to a house. We shouted long and loud, and a dog heard us and barked, and we followed the dog who led us to a hog shed which we welcomed with open arms. More dead than alive, we crowded in among the hogs. There was not a dry thread on us when the ice melted. My toes were frozen as I didn't have very warm shoes and only cotton socks. I pulled my shoes off and my feet froze solid and I would have lost them only for Lee Baker, who told me to put them under his coat. I feel very grateful to him as he saved my life. He had no overshoes so he put his feet under a hog and kept them from freezing. We stayed with the hogs ten hours when the storm abated and Mr. Gorman ventured out and found the house. I could hardly walk when I started to go in. We were out altogether thirteen hours.
Oh! that was an awful night. We beat ourselves until we
were sore to keep from going to sleep and freezing. I
thought of you and the little ones more than once that
night. What people were those where we stopped! They could
not do enough for us. We stayed with them a day and a half,
and John Dougherty and Mr. Chatterton took us home in a
sleigh. We were only six miles from home, but we went much
farther than that. These people were Germans and would not
think of accepting anything for their kindness. This was our
experience, and I wish ours had been the worst [?]
case. Old Tom Keller was frozen to death that night. A man
by the name of Glaze was found the next morning stark and
stiff within ten feet of his door, and another man was found
in a dooryard dead. Mrs. Crupee went out to look for her
husband, who was lost in the storm; he came back in her
absence and started after her, but did not find her, after
getting lost and slaying out on the prairie all night. Dr.
Lukens, a. young man who slept here with me since you left,
started for his stable and has not been found. I need not go
on. There were fifteen in this immediate vicinity whom I
have heard of. Fifteen coffins were ordered from Ewing
yesterday besides these. All along our trail cattle and
sheep were scattered and frozen. One Mr. Graham lost 140
cattle, Mr Holcombe, 350 sheep, and others in proportion.
There are as many as a thousand cattle lost in this valley,
besides sheep, hogs and horses. The mail carrier to this
place drove to within tell feet of the Shamrock stable,
turned and went until his horses would go no further,
unhitched and stayed by a sod wall all night, froze his feet
so badly I may have to amputate his toes. Next morning both
horses were found dead close to his sleigh. The weather is
pleasant today, but we are looking for another storm.
"OLD SODDY." - P. F. RANCH-HOUSE
Volume XIX of the publications of the
Historical Society contains: a description of the Red Cloud
Indian agency which was situated near the site now occupied
by the town of Henry, Scott's Bluff county. It was
conjectured that the accompanying picture. taken by Mr. A.
E. Sheldon, represented a building belonging to the agency,
but the following letter, dated December 9, from Mr. Eric H.
Reid, of Torrington. establishes its identity:
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