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NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol II, no 3 (part 2)
of high standing who in his report of January 15, 1842,
maintained at length that the most practicable route lay
through the pass in the Black Hills at about latitude
44° 30', thence between the Hills and Big Horn
Mountain, proceeding across the Three Forks of the Missouri,
down the Bitter Root River to its junction with Salmon or
Lewis's river, and down that river to the Columbia. The
point of departure from the river, the engineer said, should
be somewhere between the mouth of White River and the great
bend - both now in Dyman county, South Dakota.
The site of 1855 was claimed under the
preemption act of 1841 amended by the act of July 22,1854,
which permitted settlement on unsurveyed lands. Lands in
this district were not surveyed until 1856. The Omaha
Indians had ceded this territory to the United States on
March 16, 1854. This first site comprised approximately the
east two-thirds of the northeast quarter and the southeast
quarter of the southwest quarter, the northwest quarter and
the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter, the
northeast quarter and the southeast quarter of the southeast
quarter of section 11; the northwest quarter, the southwest
quarter and the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter
of section 12, and the part west of a line running
diagonally from southeast to northwest across the centers of
the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter and the
southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 12,
all in township 17, range 12 east of the sixth principal
meridian. The extreme length of the site on the south side
was about a mile and 5" -12'; of the north side about half a
mile less; the width was half a mile, excepting the part
affected by the diagonal eastern boundary.
THE HISTORICAL LIBRARY
The following books, through purchase, gift or exchange, have been received by this library during the past three months:
Welsh Settlement of Pennsylvania.
Adam and Anne Mott, Their Ancestors and Their Descendants.
History of Hillsborough County, N. H.
History of Temple, N. H.
Year Books of the Holland Dutch Society for the Years 1887, 1888, 1889, 1918.
Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Platz,
The Kinnears and Their Kin, 1165-1916.
Chronicles of Pennsylvania.
The George Catlin Indian Gallery.
Catlin's Ojibbeway and Iowa Indians.
Civilization Among the Sioux Indians.
Report of Visit to the Great Sioux Reserve.
Sioux and Ponca Indians.
The Hawk Chief and a Tale of the Indian Country.
The Rescue of Kansas from Slavery.
Violette's History of Missouri.
The Story of General Pershing.
From Vauquois Hill to Exermont.
With the Yankee Division in France.
Col. Benjamin W. Atkinson of New York has presented to this Society a handsome photograph of his grandfather, General Henry Atkinson.
Dr. M. E. Vance has given this library a number of program pamphlets and badges relating to the proceedings of the Nebraska State Dental Society.
Miss Ida Robins recently turned over to the Nebraska State Historical Society library a number of books, some of which were a part of the collection of the late Mrs. Mary A. Gibson.
PIONEERS PASSED ON
A Long List of Men and Women Who Have Made
Mrs. Elizabeth O'Neill Herold, a
resident of Plattsmouth for sixty-five years, died July 14
at the age of 78. Her father, James O'Neill, Samuel Martin
and Joseph L. Sharp built a trading house on the site now
occupied by Plattsmouth in 1853, which was probably the
first settlement by white men, though it is said that such
an establishment was placed there in 1851.
Mrs. Mary Garvey died august 28;
resident of Omaha since 1857.
DEATH OF MORMON HISTORIAN
Heman Conoman Smith, general historian of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, Lamoni, Iowa, died at Independence, Missouri, April 17, 1919. Though born in the South, in Gillespie county, Texas, on September 27, 1860, he was of New England stock and Mayflower ancestry.
Heman C. Smith was a recognized authority upon the history of the Mormons, having been identified with the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints from the age of twelve. He devoted his life to the work of the church and of recent years to its history, as editor of the Journal of History. He was the author of the Church History, Truth Defended, The True Succession in Church Presidency, also many articles of general historical interest. Since the history of the Mormon church is closely connected with the early history of Nebraska, Mr. Smith's work was of value outside of his own denomination.
A FINE HISTORICAL ALBUM
On the wall of the public library in the city of Kearney is a beautiful case with folding leaves, containing the photographs of 387 of the early settlers of Buffalo county and attached to the case for reference is a brief biographical sketch of each person whose photograph is in the case, these arranged in alphabetical order. This collection of photographs of early settlers of the county was made by Robert Haines, who settled in the county in 1872, both the case and collection being presented to the library by Mr. Haines. This is an exceedingly valuable historical collection and Mr. Haines is entitled to great credit for this public spirited effort on his part.
The act of the legislature which established the University of Nebraska provided that the board of regents should comprise twelve members, three of them ex officio and the others to be chosen by the two houses of the legislature in joint session - except the first nine, who should be appointed by the governor. They were apportioned equally among the three judicial districts of the state. Incidental to the pending celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the starting of the university, I have taken much pains to ascertain the sort of men these first regents were, all that was practicable about their careers, and the present whereabouts of the few who are still living. One of the results of this inquiry is the following very interesting autobiography of Rev. John C. Elliott, the short term - two years - member from the first judicial district.
Seville, Ohio, March 27, 1919.
Mr. Albert Watkins, Historian.
(1) This was a "three months" regiment, organized in June. It was kept for guard duty within the state. Delay in mustering out was caused by lack of money to pay the troops. - Official Records, third series, II, pp. 145, 549. - W.
When Nebraska became a state the
governor appointed me visitor to the state normal school at
Peru. I do not recall the date, but I had no associate in
this service. I reported my own findings and work. Neither
do I recall the date of appointment as regent of the
university. My appointment as regent was a surprise to me as
I had no personal acquaintance with the governor. Afterward
I learned that my good friend Howard Kennedy had suggested
and commended me. This was a great gratification for he was
an accomplished scholar and gentleman, a graduate of
Williams, and Nebraska had no worthier citien [sic].
I cannot recall the number nor dates of the meetings I
attended and I only recall vaguely the proceedings. The plan
and organization were copied from the University of
Michigan, the most successful of our state universities at
that time. They were carefully prepared by Mr. Gus Harvey,
an editor, who was made clerk of the board of regents, and
we later made him librarian of the university for the
careful work he had done. (2)
(2) The records of the university do not show that Mr. Harvey was named as librarian. The plan of government was adapted from the State University of Iowa, so that only the working organization could have been copied from the University of Michigan. - W.
the governor, the regents were suspicious that the
governor expected them unfailingly to agree with him and
approve his plans.
on the use of terms they said marked me a sport. My
association with the board was pleasant and profitable to
me, and I greatly regretted it was so short. I was called
out of the state by the lingering fatal sickness of my
father and never returned.
JOHN CALVIN ELLIOTT.
WELL DIGGING RELICS
When in Scotts Bluff county last summer the editor of this magazine received from Grant L. Shumway two very highly valued relics for the museum of the Historical Society. They are a pick and shovel used by Nels Christensen for more than thirty years in digging wells on the high table lands between the Lodge Pole and the Niobrara. The first of these wells is 300 feet deep on the farm of Charles Lundin about seven miles north of Potter. It was finished in January, 1889, and is still in use. Mr. Christensen dug more than two miles of wells, perpendicular measure, with these implements. This magazine has heretofore commented upon the moral heroism of the men who dug the deep wells in Nebraska - a heroism fully equal to that of any soldier in any war. These wells were absolutely necessary for the settlement of the high divides. The editor of this department has dug at the bottom of a hundred foot well. That was deep enough for him. When it comes to 300 feet he takes off his hat to the man with the pick and shovel. Mr. Christensen had two narrow escapes from death in these deep wells. Once he was 280 feet down when the rope broke with a bucket of dirt nearly at the top and the loaded bucket fell. Mr. Christensen heard the noise, straightened up close to the wall, and the falling bucket shaved the skin from his nose, tore the clothing and skin from his chest and landed with a mighty thud at his feet. The man at the top was sure Christensen was killed. He left the windlass and went to a neighbor to secure help to get the dead body out. When he returned with help he was amazed to hear Christensen calling from the bottom. Many of these brave diggers in Nebraska have been smothered to death by caving walls. A man can think more serious thoughts (if he stops digging to think them) at the bottom of a deep well than any other place in Nebraska.
The Historical Society has received a
copy of a poster printed in England in 1871. At that time
the Burlington road had completed its track from Plattsmouth
to Kearney. Its land department was carrying a big
advertising program in Europe as well as in America to
induce people to visit Nebraska. One of the inducements was
this poster designed to bring wealthy people from England to
the Nebraska plains. The poster reads as follows:
RECENT ADDITIONS TO THE MUSEUM
Howard R. Peterson, former member of the A. E. F., brought in sixty-one coins which have been mounted in one of the oak cases and placed in the museum. Most of these were gathered overseas and represent many European mints.
Ben Terry, of Alexandria, has donated some interesting photographs of historic spots near his home.
Sergeant John A. Ejnau?, of Omaha, contributed an interesting collection which he gathered overseas, while serving in A. E. F.
Mrs. Howard J. Hill, of Lincoln, contributed a collection of heirlooms and other interesting articles, among which is a fine collection of horns.
Mrs. Cather, of 1525 H Street, Lincoln, has loaned the suit worn by her brother, C. W. Kaley, of Red Cloud, when he was on the staff of Governor Mickey.
Mrs. Peter Mortensen, of Ord, has given a large portrait of her husband, Peter Mortensen, one of the pioneers of Valley county and twice elected state treasurer.
A leaf from the metal wreath on the tomb of General LaFayette was brought by Secretary Sheldon from overseas and deposited in the museum.
A. H. Ware, of Lincoln, Nebr., has presented to the Society a number of interesting curios.
Dr. Miles J. Breuer has presented a number of maps and photographs.
A. M. Roberts, of 1700 No. 31st St., presented some ancient telephone instruments and other relics.
The Fort Atkinson centennial celebration resulted in a large number of photographs which have been added to the museum.
The fact that exhibit room in the museum is no longer available prevents many large and valuable collections from being deposited here. Every new article added must crowd out some specimen of less interest, into storage. Even storage room is at a premium, and little advancement in the growth of our museum can be expected until adequate expansion room is provided by the state.
THE FIRST HALL COUNTY SETTLERS
Editor A. F. Buechler, of the Grand Island Independent, sends this magazine the following note concerning one of Hall county's pioneers.
Word has just been received of the death of Hall county's first sheriff, Herman E. Vasold, at his home in Saginaw, Mich., at the age of 84 years. He was one of the first colony of twenty-five Americans of German birth that located and developed Hall county and was appointed its first sheriff by acting governor for the territory, J. Sterling Morton. The colony was located on July 4th, 1857, the appointment as sheriff came in 1859 and Mr. Vasold has the record of serving a full term without making an arrest. He left in 1860 with a team of oxen and covered wagon for Pike's Peak and then to California, later returning to his former home in Saginaw. He was a nephew of Fred Hedde, founder of the Daily Independent and one of the three men to plant the American flag on Hall county soil, and aided in building one of the first log houses in the county, for his uncle. His jurisdiction as sheriff, at the time, extended as far east as Columbus. He has made three visits to the colony he assisted in locating, in 1882, when the twenty-fifth anniversary was celebrated; in 1907, at the time of the semicentennial anniversary, and in 1912.
By E. E. Blackman.
ADDISON E. SHELDON
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 28th day of March, 1919.
(SEAL) MAX WESTERMAN, Notary Public.
(My commission expires August 4, 1921.)
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