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NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol II, no 2 (part 2)

Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days


Picture or sketch

(handwritten below these images: "See C 1242"         "See C 1242")


A Remarkable Engraved Medal From a Pawnee Grave. ---Letter From Father M. A. Shine Presents Theory of its Origin.

   This unique and interesting medal was found in the extreme western part of Nance county, in 1883, by two people who unearthed it from an Indian grave, and presented it to the present owner. Mrs. G. W. Ellsworth, at 645 North 30th St., Lincoln, Nebr.
   The grave was not far from the banks of Spring Creek. a small stream which enters the Loup river about fifteen miles northwest of Fullerton, Nebr. In the same grave they found glass beads and other trinkets which showed contact with whites.
   This is all that is really known about this medal. It is the first silver Indian medal to come into the rooms of the Nebraska State Historical Society; and probably the most interesting Indian relic ever found in Nebraska.
   A careful study of the accompanying full sized cuts suggests that the medal was probably engraved to commemorate a brave act. The two figures escaping toward the two horses in the grove nearby suggests that the hero was an Indian rescuing a white woman from captivity. The ravine illustrates the recital of his exploits around the camp fire. The legend tells that it commemorates the deeds of "the bravest of the brave." If we could know the historic facts in all the details it would doubtless make an interesting story.
   The best authority on engraving says the work was doubtless done by hand with a tool used to engrave dies or patterns for stamping. That the engraver had skill of marked ability is evidenced by the specimen. The engraving was done without shading in the lines, and pictures of this class were common from 1600 to 1800. The technique of the drawing places it before 1800. - E. E. B.
   The following letter from Rev. M. A. Shine, of Plattsmouth, to Curator Blackman, at the Historical Society Museum, is full of interest:

Plattsmouth, Nebr., January 21, 1919.

My Dear Mr. Blackman:
   Here are a few notes in regard to that silver medial which you so kindly allowed me to examine, on the occasion of the annual meeting at the State Historical Society, a week ago.
   As you remember, we most emphatically disagreed in regard to the particular band of Pawnee to which which the Pawnee, Pi-ta-le-sha-ru or MAN CHIEF, belonged.
   As I see it now, we were both right in our contentions, for we were talking about two men with the same name, but with entirely different characteristics, and living at different periods of time in the history of the Pawnee tribe.
   I spoke of Pi-ta-le-sha-ru, or MAN CHIEF, or CHIEF AMONG MEN, (Hdbk. of Am. Inds. II, 236), a Pawnee brave or warrior, the son of La-clie-le-sa-ru or KNIFE -CHIEF (Hdbk. II-118), the Head Chief of the SKIDI or WOLF PAWNEES, at this time (1817-1821), as the man who received this medal in Washington. D. C., in 1821, on account of his brave act in 1817 in rescuing a Comanche girl from the ?sacrifice to the Morning Star. (Drake , Inds 635.) Pawnee Stories, Grinnell, 363-434. For details, etc., of Skidi Sacrifice, see Pawnee Stories, 363-368.)
   You had in mind the Chaui or Grand Pawnee Chief, Pi-ta-le-sha-ru, who was born, about 1823 (Blackman in H. of Neb. I-43; Kans. Cols. X.) survived the smallpox epidemic of 1837-38, and was made head chief of the confederated Pawnee tribes in 1852, and who died about 1874.
   In regard to my man: Pi-ta-le-sha-ru, the SKIDI warrior, was born about 1796 or 1797. among the Skidi tribe, in what is now Nebraska. He was about 20 years old when he ignored and disregarded the sacred and religious traditions of the Skidi Pawnee tribe, by rescuing and leading to safety this Comanche maiden who was destined as a victim and burnt offering to the Great or Morning Star, one of the tutelary gods of the Skidi tribe.
   However, it is well to bear in mind, that during this very same

period of time (1817-1821) there was another man named Pi-ta-le-sha-ru, or MAN CHIEF, who was one of the head chiefs of the Kit-ke-hah-ki, (i. e., Small or Little Village), or Republican Pawnee, who had received in June, 1818, a chief's medal from Gov. William Clark, in St. Louis, Mo. I am inclined to believe that many writers have confused the names of these two men.
   At any rate, Pi-ta-je-sha-ru, the Skidi brave or warrior, accompanied his father, LA-CHE-LE-SHA- RU, or KNIFE CHIEF, the head chief of the Skidi Pawnee, with at number of other Indian chiefs to Washington, D. C., in 1821. While there the fame of his remarkable bravery in such a glorious act having preceded him, the young ladies of a Mrs. White's seminary presented him with a special silver medal, in honor and commemoration of his brave act. (Drake, Inds. 635.)
  While I have no direct and incontestable proofs for its identification, yet I am fairly convinced that this silver medal is the identical medal presented by these young ladies, and that the grave in which it was found was that of Pitalesharu, the Skidi Warrior, THE CHIEF OF MEN, or THE MAN AMONG MEN, or as the medal itself translates his name, THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Michael A. Shine.

   P. S. - Grinnell describes the altar or framework engraved on the medal. See Pawnee Stories, p. 364, last four lines.

Spelling of Nebraska Indian names varies greatly in different books and in different periods. Spelling used by Father Shine we have let stand. It may be worth while to state the spelling given in the Handbook of American Indians (Vol. 2, p. 236), Petalesharo, with the following variations in the article: Petarescharu, Pe-tah-lay-sha, Petanesharo. The spelling of the name of Knife Chief is given in the same volume, page 118, Latalesha with the variations at Settulushaa and Letereeshar. The standard of spelling adopted by the Nebraska State Historical Society is that used by the Bureau of American Ethnology.

(Continued from Fourth Page.)

Schreiber, Orma A., Alma, Wisconsin.
Shepard, S. Julia, Alexandria, Minnesota.
Smart, Nellie Hunt, World Herald Bldg., Omaha, Nebraska.
Smith, Jessie, 1406 North Broad Street, Fremont, Nebraska.
Smith, Zella A., Roca, Nebraska.
Sullivan, Minnie M., Grace, Idaho.
Svitak, Emma L., Chapman, Nebraska.
Thode, Martina C., 777 Scott Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Vance, Evangelyne F., Exeter, Nebraska.
Wagner, Maybelle, Virgil, Kansas.
Weller, Hedwig, 1916 South 32nd Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska.
Westerdahl, Viva E., Fulda, Minnesota.
Wilkinson, Grace E., Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska.
Windmeyer, Connie, Naper, Nebraska.
Wishart, Irene L., 92 Avenue Road, Toronto, Canada.
Wooster, Dorothy, Silver Creek, Nebraska.
Wright, Ethel M., Belt, Montana.

Jess, Irene H., 2722 Howard Street, Omaha, Nebraska.
Naughtin, Patricia L., 5017 Davenport Street, Omaha, Nebraska.
O'Sullivan, Eva F., 4800 Lindale Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Rusland, Muriel, Omaha, Nebraska.


Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days

   This bit of history is taken from the North Nebraska Eagle of January 9:
   The O'Neill land district in Nebraska was abolished on December 31 the files of the office being transferred from O'Neill to the United States land office at Lincoln.
   The district over which this office had jurisdiction was first established in Dakota City in March, 1857, and continued here until 4 o'clock p. m. August 31, 1875, when it was moved to Niobrara. It again closed at that place July 1, 1888, and was moved to O'Neill, where it opened July 16, according to "Warner's History of Dakota County."
   During its location in Dakota City the following officers were in charge, their names appearing in the rotation they served,.
   Receivers -J. C. Turk, Geo. B. Graff, Alex. McCready, Charles D. Martin, James Stott.
   Registers - J. N. H. Patrick, Alfred H. Jackson, Floris Van Reuth, Wm. H. James. G. W. Wilkinson, B. F. Chambers.
   The first land district in Nebraska was created by an act of Congress of July 22, 1854; the office was located at Omaha in 1866, and the first sales were made in the first half of 1857. The district comprised all the public lands in the territory the Indian title to which had been extinguished,
   The act of March 3, 1857, provided:
   That all that portion of the Territory of Nebraska at present included in the Omaha district, which lies south of the line which divides townships six and seven north, extended from the Missouri river westward, shall constitute an additional district, to be called the "Nemaha Land District"; all said Omaha district which is situated south of the south shore or right bank of the Platte river, and north of the said township line, between townships six and seven north, shall constitute an additional land district, to be called the "South Platte River Land District"; and all that portion of said Omaha district which lies north of the south boundary of the "Omaha Reserve." extended westward, being identical with the line which divides townships twenty-three and twenty-four north, shall constitute an additional land district, to be called the "Dahkota Land District"; the location of the offices for which shall be designated by the President of the United States, and shall by him, from time to time, be changed as the public interests may seem to require.
   Accordingly the president designated the location of the land offices for the respective districts as follows: For the Nemaha district, Brownville; for the South Platte district, Nebraska City; for the Dakota district, Dakota City. Sales of lands in these districts were begun in the first half of the year 1858.
   Some of the officers of the Dakota land office named above were quite prominent in the territory or the state. John C. Turk was well known as Governor Izard's private secretary in 1857, the last year of the governor's tenure; Dr. George B. Graff was a leader in the democratic party; Alexander McCready was best known as a champion of the greenback party and cause; "Father" Martin was an eccentric pioneer publisher and editor of newspapers in Dakota county. In the later seventies and early eighties he was a familiar figure in Sioux City, laden with the pay "in kind" for advertising, in a capacious gunny sack slung over his shoulder. His greatest fame, however, grew out of his serial story. "The Conflict - Love or Money," which ran on through a large later part of his long life. But Patrick was the bright particular star of the group. His mind was keen, alert and resourceful. His name became familiar throughout the country through the part he took in the undertaking to have Cronin recognized as an elector from Oregon in the violent Tilden-Hayes controversy of 1876-77. He was a member, from Omaha, of the second legislature, which removed the capital to Lincoln, and was the strategist in the senate of the anti-removalists. When all dilatory tactics of the minority had failed, and after the bill had been ordered to a third reading and engrossed, he moved the substitution of Lincoln as the name at the proposed capital instead of Capitol City, the inexpressibly ugly name of the bill in its original form. Shortly before his death Mr. Patrick informed me that he proposed the new name to worry his fellow Copperheads. so-called, in the senate, and especially those from Nebraska City, which was the backbone of the removal scheme. He had some hope that their prejudice against Lincoln might upset the whole movement. On the contrary, the amendment was promptly adopted.
   William H. James afterward became secretary of state, and after Governor Butler's removal on impeachment he was, ex officio, acting governor.
   Dr. George W. Wilkinson was a prominent local physician and an assistant surgeon of the First Regiment Nebraska Veteran Volunteer Cavalry during most of the Civil War.
   Benjamin F. Chambers was a member of the House of Representatives of the sixth legislature, and was second sergeant of Company I, Second Regiment Nebraska Cavalry Volunteers.

   1, Sarah F. Wilhite, daughter of Jesse and Eliza Crook, was born on Cumberland mountain, near Crossville, Cumberland county, Tenn.,

March 2, 1849. My uncle, John Crook, was then living there, keeping a tavern and stage station to accommodate travelers crossing the mountain. We lived on the mountain for three years, then moved down into Putnum county, where the town of Cooksville is now situated - on the land my father owned and where we lived until we started for Nebraska. My grandmother Crook's maiden name was Mary Lee, who was a descendant of General Robert E. Lee's family. My father's family comprised his wife, two sons, John and William, and myself. In September, 1863, with six other families, we started to Nebraska, my mother driving one of the six wagons drawn by oxen. In October we stopped near the town of Fillmore, Andrew county, Missouri, where two brothers of my father, Allen and Isaac, were living. We remained there until April, 1855, because the territory was not then open for settlement. In August, 1854, my father come to Nebraska and took a claim a mile and a half north of the present Falls City. On April 17, 1855, we crossed the river into Nebraska at the old town of St. Stephens, and the next day we arrived at our claim.
   In 1868 my brother John died. My brother William, who is two years younger than I, lives here and is in the hardware business, and has a grown-up family of three sons and two daughters. When we located here we were the fourth white family in this part at the country; our other neighbors were the Sac and Fox Indians, who lived at their reservation on the Nemaha river two miles south of Falls City. The Indians were very fond of visiting us in our cabins and watching us at our housework. My first marriage was to August Schoenheit, on September 7, 1864. He came to Nebraska in 1860. After living at Brownville and Omaha for about four years he settled at Falls City, where he remained until his death in February, 1887. He held some important offices, such as county prosecuting attorney in 1864-65, state senator in 1882, and mayor of Falls City for three terms. We lived together twenty-two years and had nine children, four of whom died in infancy. Three sons grew to manhood: Gus died at the age of 33 years, leaving a son now 23 years or age and who is in the U. S. military band at Boston, as a flutist; Julian, a lawyer, died in Kansas City, March, 1909, leaving one daughter, Erma, who resides there; William, also a lawyer, died at the age of 22 years; my daughter Lillie died in 1886, at the age of 13 years; Sallie, my only child living (and baby), now 37 years old, married Abner S. McKee, civil engineer, rancher and also in the sheep business quite extensively. They have a little boy six and a half years old, named David James. They live in Paonia, Colorado.
   I heard "Jim" Lane deliver a Fourth of July Oration at Falls City, in 1857; John Brown, of Harpers Ferry fame, and his band were in camp on our claim near Falls city the same year.
   I remained a widow twelve years, and on October 12. 1898, 1 was married to J. R. Wilhite of Falls City, a lawyer, Civil War veteran, and for twelve years county Judge of Richardson county. We are now living in the block where I moved in 1867.


   Mr. Schoenheit was a senator in the tenth legislature, which convened in the eighteenth session - the eighth regular session - on January 2, 1883.
   Prior to the enactment of the homestead law, in 1862, public lands were procured by settlers under the preemption act of 1841. The act provided that when a person belonging to one of the classes specified
-- shall hereafter make a settlement in person on the Public lands to which the Indian title had been at the time of such settlement extinguished, and which has been, or shall have been surveyed prior thereto, and who shall inhabit and improve the same, and who has or shall erect a dwelling thereon, shall be, and is hereby, authorized to enter with the register of the land office for the district in which such land may lie, by legal subdivisions, any number of acres not exceeding one hundred and sixty or a quarter section of land, to include the residence of such claimant, upon paying to the United States the minimum price of such land.
   The price was $1.25 an acre.
   But the act of Congress approved July 22. 1854, permitted settlement upon unsurveyed land. and Mrs. Wilhite's father promptly took advantage of the concession - in the following month. On March 16, 1854, the Otoe and Missouri Indians ceded all their lands in Nebraska which included the subsequent Richardson county to the United States, and the treaty of cession was confirmed by the president on June 21. They had ceded the contiguous part to the west on September 21, 1833. The Omaha Indians likewise ceded their lands on March 16, 1854; so that the act of July 22 opened to settlement all of eastern Nebraska as far as about seventy-five miles from the Missouri River, except that in the extreme southeast the free territory extended no farther west than the Great Nemaha River, and a narrow strip along the river belonged to the half-breed Indians. - A. W.

   The North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune of January 14 tells the following story of a desperate device to procure a then hunter's necessity of life on the Nebraska plains. The "Irish lord" was Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin, fourth Earl of Dunraven, born in Adare, Ireland, in 1841. He was noted as traveler, war correspondent, statesman - or politician - and author of books about his varied experiences.
   A plentiful supply of the best liquors almost characterized the hunting excursions in Nebraska of important personages during the period in question, and it strains credulity to believe that so apt a

Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days


provider as this noble earl should have been caught in such destitution. But fiction is often truer than bare fact, and whichever class this story belongs to it serves to illustrate the contrast beween [sic] habits and necessities of less than fifty years ago and those of the present piping times of prohibition. The hunt - for elks - was in the fall of 1872.
   A group of North Platte's old timers were recalling early day experiences Saturday evening, and naturally the late Colonel W. F. Cody figured in many of the incidents. One of the men said he remembered when a member of a hunting party chaperoned by Col. Cody bought a ranch in order to get five gallons of whiskey. The hunting party, one of whom was a sporty young Irish lord, left Ft. McPherson for a buffalo hunt over south in the Republican valley. When they left the fort part of the supplies was a keg of whiskey, but in rough driving over the hills and through the canyons the cork in the keg became unloosened and when the members of the party went to the keg to refill their private flasks they found that the liquor had all leaked out. There was great consternation for the party was then sixty miles from Ft. McPherson, the base of their supplies. The Irish lord said whisky must be had and appealed to Colonel Cody. The Colonel thought it moment, then smiled. He remembered that a few weeks before while out scouting he had run across a shack inhabited by a man who had given him a drink; perhaps he had some left. The shack was about a dozen miles distant and he asked the Irish lord to accompany him. They started and in due time arrived at their destination. "Any booze left?" asked the Colonel of the shack inhabitant. "Well, about five gallons." he replied. "How much do you want, the ranch goes with the liquor. Price of the ranch is five hundred dollars." The Colonel said he could not pay $500 for five gallons of whisky and started in to induce the man to lower his price. It was then that the Irish lord sidled up to Colonel Cody and whispered to take him up at the price for fear he might withdraw the offer or raise the price. The deal was closed then and there, the Irish lord producing a roll and skinning off $500. The keg was tied on the Colonel's horse and telling the man that they would call the next day for the deed to the land, they rode off to camp. It is needless to say the deed to the land was not called for the next day.


   The recent retirement of Casper Enoch Yost from the presidency of the Nebraska Telephone Company, the Iowa Telephone Company, and the Northwestern Telephone Exchange Company directs attention to the very remarkable fact that the telephone system of Nebraska has developed into its present magnitude and very great importance during only it part of a man's "active life" - a clumsy and inaccurate distinction, by the way.
   Mr. Yost started on his life's career it the age of twenty-three, when he came to Omaha from Michigan, in 1864. He began to be a lawyer, but at once dropped into politics and political place. In the year of his arrival he was appointed at deputy United States Marshall, and the next year marshal of the territory, holding the office until 1867 when he was appointed marshal for the state for four years. He was postmaster of Omaha from 1872 to 1876. From 1875 to 1886 he was the business manager of the Omaha Republican. After this varied but effective preparation, in 1889 he became vice-president and general manager of the Nebraska Telephone Company and in 1891 its president; in 1897 he became president of the Iowa Telephone Company and in 1903 president of the Northwestern Telephone Company, which operated in the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Though seventy-eight years old, he retains the chairmanship of the board of directors of the three companies.
   The first telephone directory for Omaha was published in 1879, with only 150 names. Like the railroad and the telegraph before, Mr. Yost says that the telephone was for some time treated with skepticism, and such patronage as it was at first favored with was due more to the boosting western spirit which inclines to help anything new on the chance of its becoming an additional "asset", than to confidence in its usefulness. Thus this indispensable instrument of business and general social communication, with its vast and complex ramification, is scarcely half as old as the man who has been its principal projector and still survives as its virtual manager.
   Mr. Yost's remarkable ability to throw off his early propensity for politics and the consequent long addiction to the insidious habit of holding office, was prophetic of his persisting vitality.


   This eminent lawyer died at his home in Omaha on December 20, 1918. He was born in Warrensville, Ohio, January 11, 1846; in 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Twenty-third regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, rose to the rank of captain and was mustered out at the close of the war - in 1865. This is a remarkable record for a lad between fifteen and nineteen years of age. After preparing for the bar in a law School in Cleveland, he came to Omaha in the spring of 1867 to begin his uniformly brilliant career at the bar. He was most skillful as a trial lawyer, excelling both in the examination of witnesses and in arguing cases before a jury. His style of address was powerfully dramatic. In this respect or aspect he has not been equaled at the Nebraska bar, I think. When the Union Pacific and Kansas Pacific railroad companies were placed under receivers in 1893, General Cowin was appointed by President Cleveland to protect the interests of the United States, and he successfully performed this very difficult duty.
   General Cowin's most notable episodes in politics were as counsel for Governor Furnas in his famous libel suit against Dr. George L. Miller and Lyman Richardson, publishers of the Omaha Herald, and his spectacular fight for nomination for member of Congress in 1876. Dr. Miller closely resembled his contemporary, Charles A. Dean, editor of the New York Sun, in the relentless persistence and pile driver force

of his attacks upon offenders. When Furnas was nominated for the office of governor, in 1872, the Herald bombarded him with the charge of having taken a large bribe in 1857 from partisans of Omaha in consideration for his refusal, as a member of the upper house of the general assembly, to support the passage over the governor's veto of a bill for the removal of the capital to a point on Salt Creek. Powerful as the preponderance of his party over its opponent then was, Furnas could not safely rely upon it to carry him through in the face of the specific charges if he should ignore them; so he authorized General Cowin to begin the suit. The general refused to undertake the case (so he informed the writer hereof) except with the understanding that it should be pushed to trial. Accordingly the trial took place some time after Furnas was elected, resulting in a disagreement of the jury, and the case was afterward dismissed.
   In the seventies a sharp controversy arose between the Union Pacific and Burlington & Missouri railroad companies about what was called the pro rata question. For example, the Burlington demanded that if it shipped freight destined for San Francisco from Plattsmouth to Kearney over its own line, the Union Pacific should carry it the rest of the way at the same proportional rate its it received for shipments from Omaha to San Francisco all the way by its own line. Lorenzo Crounse, who was then a member of the House of Representatives from Nebraska, was trying to put through a bill establishing the proportional rate - but so far without success. With the purpose of running for the senatorship against Hitchcock, Mr. Crounse declined to become a candidate again for the lower house, and so General Cowin stepped into his shoes, and Frank Welch became the candidate of the Hitchcock-anti-pro-rata faction. The convention was in session four days and throughout one night. Welch was at last nominated. Dr. Miller asserted in the Herald that "Cowin went into the convention with forty or fifty majority. He came out defeated by a very large majority, owing to a shameless purchase of votes by bribery and corruption." At any rate, Welch was far inferior in ability and character to his brilliant opponent. This was General Cowin's only important venture in politics, and to my thinking this defeat was Fortune's way of smiling upon him.
   The general's military title was bestowed by Furnas, who appointed him upon his staff with the rank of brigadier general. But compared to his career at the bar, won by sheer merit, this title was as tinsel-like as a term of Congress would have been. - Albert Watkins.


   Adoniram Judson Leach died June 10, 1919 and was buried at Oakdale June 12. He was born September 19, 1834, in Cuyahoga county, Ohio. He crossed the plains to Oregon in 1852, came to Omaha in 1867, homesteaded in Antelope county in 1869 and has resided there since.
   The life or Mr. Leach was interwoven with the early settlement and development of Antelope county. When he settled there the county merited its name. Great herds of elk and deer made company for the antelope. At rare intervals the smoke of a log cabin escended [sic] from the midst of the woodland along the streams. In his favorite occupations of hunting and surveying Mr. Leach came to know each individual family as it settled in the region. He served the growing community as county surveyor, county superintendent of schools, and in the later years as county treasurer.
   The permanent fame of Mr. Leach rests securely upon his work as the historian of Antelope County. His history combines painstaking research and verification of facts with a clear style and just sense of proportion. He was fortunate in having lived through the period of which he wrote and in having intimately known the men and women who took part in its events. His history of Antelope county is a model in its field and will remain throughout all time the authority for the pioneer years in that region. A second book published in 1916 is entitled "Early Day Stories,' and while not of equal value with his history of Antelope county will be a source of entertainment for many generations.
   It was in 1884 that the editor of this magazine first formed a friendship with Mr. Leach. I was making my first venture in the newspaper field at the town of Burnett, now Tilden, situated on the county line of Antelope and Madison counties. Mr. Leach was agent for the Burlington railroad lands at Oakdale, eight mile distant. He was one of my first subscribers and advertisers and remained a faithful counselor and friend through those years of privation and hardship in the Elkhorn valley. When a mob connected with the saloon at Burnett and the distillery at Deer Creek attempted to whip the editor and drive him out of business Mr. Leach increased his advertising and took an active interest in the fortunes of the first newspaper at Tilden.
   The work of county historian so well done by Mr. Leach in Antelope county needs to be done in many other Nebraska counties. The writing of local history requires a combination of old settler, critical student and attractive literary style. It should be a labor of love and requires years for the collection of material and revision of narrative. No hurry-up productions for profit of a publishing Company will ever fill the bill. in many counties of the state there is need of a county history like Leach's History of Antelope County - an enduring monument to its author and a permanent contribution to the true history of our commonwealth.


   For many years the Secretary of this Society has sought to get hold of the old hand printing press which Robert W. Furnas brought with him to Brownville in 1856 and used in the publication of the Nebraska Advertiser and later the Nebraska Farmer. Several times traces of this old press have been secured, but the trail has disappeared. Now it seems likely to lead to the press itself. From Mr. W. P. Campbell, custodian of the Oklahoma historical society, we have recently


Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days

received two letters, from which the following extracts are taken:
   Feb. 12, 1919. - This Society is pleased to acknowledge receipt of publications of your society.
   These documents call to mind many incidents still fresh in my memory. Some of the older characters I knew in a way, and others more than passingly; one being Governor Furnas; when he published the Nebraska Advertiser with "Limpy" Jim Fisher as his foreman, printer, manager, editor, collector and boss generally, when the governor was off "fighten." I knew his sons Will and George quite well. Dora Hacker was also a remembered attache of the Advertiser. I bought part of the Advertiser material - surplusage - and moved it to Augusta, Ills., in 1864, and established the first paper of that town. The old Adams undercut press is out in the weather at Waukomis in this state, and some of the type cases are also here, with "R. W. Furnas" brushed on the backs with "Brownville, Nebraska Territory," added - all quite legible. Had I time I could write a long, long story of those old days. You could probably secure these old cases should you desire them. I once tendered them to your Society, but those in charge did not then consider them as of importance. Have lost track of J. Amos Barrett at one time connected with your Society.
   May 7, 1919. - Governor Furnas was indeed a historic character of the history-making and its gathering and conservation inditing him as a veritable trinity on historic lines, beating his way from orphanage to the highest seat in your state's affairs - as publisher, as president of your Society, as Indian agent and as leader of the 2nd Nebraska against the Sioux - a history which you no doubt have in all its fullness. Besides, his career in the Indian service in what is now Oklahoma entitles him to no small niche in our "Hall of Fame." When Col. Fred Salomon of the Wisconsin 9th undertook in July, 1862, to lead the loyal Indians from their refuge on the neutral lands at Kansas back to their old homes in Oklahoma, it fell to him to arrest his superior - Col. Wm. Weer - after crossing to the territory side, camping at Wolf Creek, and assuming command. Retreating back to nearer base of supplies with his white troops left Col. Purnell ranking officer. He not only retained colonelcy of the 2nd Indian regiment, but also became at the same time brigade commander of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Indian regiments. Operated at various points - Fort Gibson, Thalequah, Pryor Creek, and across the Grand river at Camp Wattles. This is, of course, but a very brief summary of the short but active work here in 1862. after associating with a number of others in an effort to enlist loyal Indians in Kansas.


   In 1886 J. W. Powell, Director of the Bureau of Ethnology, at Washington, published his report upon the Indian linguistic families of North America. The report showed fifty-eight different language stocks north of the Rio Grande and many more dialects.
   Systematic study of Indian languages in America dates from the Powell report. During the past twenty years Dr. Franz Boas of Columbia University, and students who have been prepared by him, have carried on the work with energy and ability. The aim has been to gather the material for a dictionary and grammar of every surviving Indian language on the continent. This has involved months of continuous residence with the Indian tribes, careful writing down of each word and phrase and its subsequent verification by repetition.
   An important contribution to knowledge in this field has just been published by the University of California. It is by Dr. Paul Radin, who was a fellow student with the writer under Dr. Boas at Columbia ten years ago. Dr. Radin's studies tend to show that the fifty-eight linguistic stocks of Director Powell may be reduced to twelve and possibly fewer.
   Indian languages are very different in their structure from European languages. They are deficient in generalized terms, but rich and full in specific ways of saying things. The various aspects of verbs are shown in some languages by prefixes, in others by suffixes, while still others split the verb in two putting the modifier in the middle like the ham in a ham sandwich.
   Dr. Radin's studies indicate a very long period of time during which the North American Indian languages have been in process of formation. Among other things he says "most recent American archeologists seem to be agreed that 15,000 years is an adequate maximum for the settlement of North America by the Indians. That implies very definitely that the assumed differentiation into fifty-eight distinct stocks must have taken place in northeastern Asia, the assumed home of our aborigines. However, there is no evidence either in the present or past linguistic picture of northeastern Asia. that would justify us in assuming a large number of distinct languages, and we are consequently forced to the conclusion that the differentiation in North America is secondary and took place after the settlement of the continent."
   Four Indian linguistic stocks occupied Nebraska since the first white man came. These were Siouan, Pawnee or Caddoan, Algonquian, (represented by the Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes) and Kiowan. The studies of Dr. Radin do not seem to indicate a closer relationship of these stocks than the one hitherto entertained. In other words. Nebraska Indian languages came from far separated stocks which had lived many centuries by themselves before coming together in Nebraska.

   John Frederick Kees, who settled on a homestead near Filley in 1867, celebrated his eighty-third birthday on May 7. The Filley Spotlight says that he is the oldest homesteader still occupying his original claim.

Picture or sketch

(handwritten below the photo - "See C 1733")
Charles McDonald

   A sketch of Charles McDonald's life was printed fit the November issue of this magazine, on the occasion of the ninety-second anniversary of his birthday. He died at his home in North Platte on April 22, 1919, of pneumonia, which resulted from exposure in listening to an address by Secretary McAdoo in behalf of the sale of victory bonds, which the venerable pioneer patriotically promoted. He came to Nebraska from Tennessee in 1855; settled at first near the site now occupied by Pawnee City; two years later moved to Salem, Richardson county; in 1859 established his famous road ranch at Cottonwood Springs; in 1872 moved to North Platte where he had lived ever since, at first engaged in mercantile business, but in 1878 he established the Bank of Charles McDonald to which he gave almost exclusive attention from 1899 until his last illness. He was a member of the House of Representatives of the second Legislative Assembly - in 1855-56.

   Jesse Retherford died December 17 at his home in Potter: born February 10, 1856, at Philadelphia Road, Ohio; came to Nebraska in 1865.
   Mrs. Henry Shoebotham died December 23, at Fairbury; born in London, Canada, November 12, 1840; came to Jefferson county, Neb., in 1868; her husband came a year earlier.
   Mrs. William Brower, Sr., died December 21 at her home in Nebraska City; born April 17, 1853, at Sandusky, Ohio; the family settled in Cass county, Neb., near where Nehawka is now situated tell, in 1854.
   Mrs. John W. Pittman, killed in all automobile accident, near Union, Neb., December 16; born March 15, 1840, in Marlon county, Iowa. She came to Nebraska when a young girl, nearly sixty years ago.
   Mrs. James W. Sperry, whose maiden name was Margaret Jane McDermed, died December 24 at the home near Weeping Water, where the family had lived thirty-eight years; she was horn in Illinois in November 1854; came to Nebraska in 1866, with her parents, who settled on a farm five miles southeast of Weeping Water; married to Mr. Sperry November 29, 1874.
   Mrs. Mary Green Rossiter died December 7 at her home near Dewitt aged ninety-four years, one month and thirteen days; said to have been the oldest resident of Gage county at the time of her death; born in Somersetshire, England, October 24, 1824; came to America and to Gage county with her husband in 1856, where they settled on a homestead.
   Dr. George Grant Gere died December 28 at his home in San Francisco; born in Greene, New York, December 27, 1848, a brother of John Gere, who was killed by Indians in 1871, and of Charles H. Gere, first editor of the Nebraska State Journal; came to Nebraska with his parents in 1857 and settled in Table Rock. Dr. Gere gained a wide reputation in surgery, was an instructor in a medical college, president of the California state medical association, vice president of the national eclectic association, and was author of books on surgery. Four children survive; two of the three sons were soldiers in the great war.
   David Sleeth Hacker of Auburn died December 24; born near Fairland, Indiana, August 24, 1839; July 25, 1862, enlisted in Company F, Seventieth Regiment Indiana Volunteer infantry, of which Benjamin Harrison, afterward president of the United States, was colonel, and served until June 8, 1865; in the fall of 1865 came west with his father and they took homesteads in the southwest part of Nemaha county, three miles south of Febing, or Stone Church; March 7, 1867, married to Miss Nancy P. Giel, who died February 11, 1911; they had six children of whom four survive; moved with his family to Auburn, then called Sheridan, in 1877, where he had since resided; helped to organize the first Methodist church in the southwest part of the county and was one of the charter members of the first Methodist church in Auburn, and the last one of the original members of this church to die.

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