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.
NEBRASKA-HOME OF POSSIBLE PRESIDENTS
Since 1896 Nebraska has been on the
world's political map. Just now it is the home of two
possible presidential candidates - William J. Bryan and John
J. Pershing. Historians of future centuries are sure to
search Nebraska records for material on the great movements
- civil and military - of this world epoch. A home for the
Nebraska State Historical Society is the first need to
preserve these records.
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION HISTORY
NATIVE NEBRASKA FOOD PLANTS
HISTORY VOLUMES AT A PREMIUM
COUNTY WAR HISTORIES
The Historical Society encourages worthy local histories, freely placing at the disposal of their publishers the material in its collections and helping them find needed data. It especially encourages at this time worthy county war histories designed to collect pictures and personal information relating to every Nebraska soldier and every home-worker in the World War. This Society particularly commends such a history when undertaken and carried on by those resident in the county, for love of the cause rather than commercial gain. A good case in point is the war history of Burt county edited and published by J. R. Sutherland. Fifty years residence in a county and editorship of a county seat newspaper is first-class training for such a task. The paper by Mr. Sutherland, printed in this issue of the magazine should be inspiration for other counties and editors.
FIRST WINTER WHEAT IN NEBRASKA
The earliest record for winter wheat in Nebraska is now established. Among early Fort Atkinson documents just received front Washington is a letter from Colonel Henry Atkinson, dated October 20, 1821, relating to farming operations at that post. This letter says:
We have put down a small crop of wheat this fall, enough, probably, to give us seed for a large crop next year besides rendering us two hundred barrels of flour. This is a crop we should assiduously nurture, as being most useful and easiest of culture; we should, upon the most reasonable cultivation, after the next sowing, reap of this article an abundance for the entire bread part of the ration.
Winter wheat was re-discovered in Nebraska about 1890, but a hundred years ago it was a proven success in Nebraska.
DIARY OF A NEBRASKA FREIGHTER
A letter from Mrs. William Dunn at Fort Smith, Ark., promises the Historical Society records of her husband's diary when he was freighting across the plains in the sixties. Mr. Dunn crossed the great divide at his home in Syracuse, Otoe county, October 6th, 1919. He was a typical freighter - quiet, courageous, reliable. The men who were entrusted with thousands of dollars worth of property out on the plains had to possess all these qualities. Their diaries and letters are among the valuable records of frontier Nebraska.
HISTORY OF NEBRASKA AGRICULTURE
For a good many years Samuel C. Bassett has been printing articles upon agriculture in Nebraska. In fact the beginnings of Bassett on Nebraska agriculture go back to the springtime of 1871 when the Bassett family settled on a piece of raw Wood River valley land, for many years known as Echo Farm. In recent years the Bassett Agricultural Scrap Book has come into existence. It includes hundreds or pages of sifted material - the foundation on which a real history of Nebraska agriculture may be built. This magazine hopes that Mr. Bassett will do this himself. No other person now living has the training for the task. No other person who will live hereafter will have the contact with the literature and the facts of the first fifty years of our first industry which Mr. Bassett has. This article is written without Mr. Bassett's knowledge. If he will undertake the work, both the State Board of Agriculture and the Historical Society should cooperate in bearing the incidental expenses.
NEBRASKA INDIAN CALLERS
Henry Blackbird and wife of the Omaha tribe and Oliver Lamers of the Winnebago tribe were welcome callers at the Historical Society rooms, February 4th. They were part of a delegation from their tribes who addressed a committee of the constitutional convention on the use of peyote. Mr. Blackbird is a descendant of Chief Blackbird - most famous of the Omaha tribe - and Mr. Lamers is descended from French ancestors on his father's side and Winnebago on the mother's side. Each of these men is an active worker in preserving the tribal history of his people.
(handwritten below photo - "See C 2010")
Major John G. Maher War Collection
The above picture shows, in part, the collection of war trophies presented by Major John G. Maher to the Nebraska State Historical Society. These trophies were secured by Major Maher when overseas during 1918-19. They came chiefly from the neighborhoods of Soissons, Verdun, Metz. They include German and French helmets, swords, bayonets, scabbards, hand grenades, cartridges, shells, bread and sugar coupons, war medals and many other articles. This is a valuable addition to the Historical Society World War museum.
A letter has recently been received
from Mrs. Susan Kearny Selfridge, a daughter of General
Philip Kearny. Mrs. Selfridge has prepared a lecture on
"Philip Kearny, Soldier and Patriot," and the cause for
which he fought, covering events of over half a century. The
purpose of the lecture, aside from doing honor to "Fighting
Phil. Kearny," is to further the cause of
On the 21st day of December, 1866, seventy-nine soldiers from Fort Philip Kearny and two citizens, detached to protect a party of choppers who were procuring wood for the fort, were attacked by Indians, numbering between 1,500 and 2,000. The entire command was killed, including the leader, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel William J. Fetterman. This is the most shocking tragedy in the long struggle between the Indians of the plains and the white intruders, excepting the culminating battle on the Little Bighorn, called the Custer Massacre, which occurred ten years later less than, a hundred miles distant and in the same disputed territory. Its direct cause was the Powder River military expedition of 1865 and the establishing of a line of forts - Reno, Phil. Kearny and C. F. Smith - along the Bozeman road, in the summer of 1866, by Colonel Henry B. Carrington, of the Eighteenth Regiment U. S. Infantry. Colonel Carrington's command on this hazardous expedition comprised only the second battalion - eight companies of the regiment. The site for Fort Reno, at the intersection of the road by Crazy Woman's fork of Powder River, - then in Dakota -but now near the center of Johnson county, Wyoming, - was selected
on July 12th, for Fort Phil. Kearny on July 14th, and for
Fort Smith on August 12th.
(handwritten below photo - "See C 2382")
D. Charles Bristol (Omaha Charley)
(Collector of the Bristol Exhibit of
Early Indian Relics in the Historical Society's Museum.)
collection on exhibition in the rooms of the Nebraska
State Historical Society, where it has remained ever since.
When I was packing the collection at Homer for shipment to
the Historical Society, a Mr. Buck Walter, who lived there,
pressed upon Mr. Bristol his check of three hundred dollars
for one of the buffalo robes, but in vain; so the Historical
Society obtained the collection intact. Of course this
treasure is displayed at great disadvantage in the very
crowded space in the Society's rooms.
(Continued from Page Two.)
won the severest condemnation from the just. The report
of the commission which was appointed to investigate the
troubles with the Indians of the plains during the period
under consideration, made by General John B. Sanborn,
General N. B. Buford, and G. P. Beauvais, the celebrated
frontiersman and Indian trader, attributed the hostility of
the Indians to the causes adverted to, and directly to the
fact that though they had refused to sign the treaty imposed
upon them at Fort Laramie in June, yet immediately after
this refusal by the Indians who owned the Powder River
country to permit the use of the Montana road, a military
force was sent to fortify it by the erection of the three
forts along its course.
By John L. Kennedy, Federal Fuel Administrator.
(A paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical Society, January 13, 1920.)
On October 16, 1917, Dr. Harry A. Garfield, United States fuel administrator, tendered me by telegraph the office of federal fuel administrator for Nebraska, and I accepted the appointment the same day. My formal certificate of appointment is dated October 17. At the request of Dr. Garfield I attended a conference of state fuel administrators held in Washington on October 26, at which the work of the fuel administration was outlined. Upon my return from Washington I at once organized for work in the state.
In Nebraska there are six congressional
districts and ninety-three counties. An advisory committee
was appointed, consisting of one member from each
congressional district as follows: First district, John E.
Miller, Lincoln; second district, George W. Holdrege, Omaha;
third district, Mark D. Tyler, Norfolk; fourth district,
Frank W. Sloan, Geneva; fifth district, William H. Lanning,
Hastings; sixth district, Judge Robert R. Dickson,
The county was taken as the most satisfactory unit for organization purposes. I appointed the chairman in each county, and he made up his own committee. Selections were made without reference to party politics. In a few sparsely settled western counties the chairmen made no appointments and took charge of the work personally. In other counties committees were larger or smaller according to population and community requirements, the object being to have a member of the committee in each city or town. They averaged about seven or eight to a county, in all about seven hundred.
On November 6, 1917, I appointed Fred
P. Loomis, of Omaha, assistant fuel administrator, and he
rendered excellent service in the distribution of coal
during the winter of 1917-18.
At no time during the period of fuel
administration did Nebraska suffer seriously for lack of
fuel. Throughout the winter of 1917-18 sufficient coal could
have been obtained from usual sources of supply to meet all
requirements. The transportation facilities, however, were
inadequate. Coal cars, loaded and empty, were congested at
diversion points and terminals, and the free movement of
available coal was thereby delayed. The railroads also
lacked engines and equipment.
Nebraska is a mineless state. Our problems related
largely to distribution. This was particularly true during
the winter of 1917-18, when the transportation system was
found to be unequal to the emergency. Every effort was made
to relieve the situation and release cars, but considerable
disorder and confusion prevailed for several months after my
appointment. Coal cars were not placed promptly for
unloading, and were frequently "bunched," so that coal
dealers were unable to unload them as they arrived.
and Wyoming, and cars could not be diverted to any extent
from one railway to another. In the southwestern part of the
state, reached only by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
railway, much difficulty was experienced in preventing
actual suffering during the winter of 1917-18. In some
instances that railway furnished and transported coal in the
night to particular communities, to meet emergencies. These
conditions induced me to insist upon through joint rates
from all Wyoming and Colorado mines to all points in
Nebraska, so that coal cars might move freely from one line
to another at the most convenient junction or diversion
point. Such rates were eventually put into effect, to the
great advantage and relief of consumers throughout the
Soon after my appointment it became evident that great difficulty would be experienced in reaching correct margins, because of the imperfect bookkeeping methods of the retail dealers, and the lack of accurate records for previous years. My intention in the first instance was to establish prices in the different cities, towns and villages throughout the state. The county committees in Douglas and Lancaster counties investigated fully and reported specific prices for Omaha and Lincoln. These prices, with certain modifications, were put into effect in Omaha, December 19, 1917, and in Lincoln January 3, 1918. The prices in the two cities were substantially the same, differences in freight rates and local delivery charges being taken into account. Prices were established for the communities in Douglas and Lancaster counties outside of Omaha and Lincoln, to take effect February 1, 1918. Before establishing prices for the state at large, reports were called for from the several county committees, and I soon became convinced that the local price plan was impracticable and difficult of equitable application, because of the changing mine prices and transportation and other charges. Definite prices were then dropped, and maximum retail gross margins were established, on all coal and coke sold to consumers in Nebraska outside of Douglas and Lancaster counties, to take effect February 9, 1918. Those margins were on substantially the same basis as the prices in Douglas and Lancaster counties. On March 30, 1918, I made an order establishing maximum retail gross margins for the entire state, effective April first in that order coal dealers were required to post up and main-
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