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.
A recent publication at
the Iowa State Historical Society gives the history of the
Cardiff Giant, a stone figure manufactured at Fort Dodge,
Iowa, and "discovered" at Cardiff, New York, in 1869.
Thousands of dollars were made by the exhibition of the
stone figure before the hoax was exposed. Which reminds the
editor of the "Petrified Man" found buried in the badlands
about three miles from Chadron in the nineties. The story of
this famous frontier scout will be given in it future issue
of this magazine with exact facts and verified dates.
Delay has occurred in the issue of this magazine. For this there is sincere regret. It should promptly appear as dated. Sometimes delay arises for need of time to verify and correct manuscript. With much current correspondence and limited office force it is difficult to meet all the calls. Our remorse is mitigated only a little by noting that some of the strong state historical societies are farther behind in their periodical issues than Nebraska. Most of the copy for the next two issues of this magazine is now in hand and they may be looked for at an early date.
Two articles in one issue of this quarterly by Mr. Bengston, one of our recent research members, is more than is usually accorded. Both articles have been in type for some time and the change in form of the magazine seems to require publication now. And then both are good stories.
"American Catholics in the War" is the title of a new historical volume of 470 pages from the Catholic War Council; edited by Michael Williams, published by MacMillan. The book says it is but the beginning of the record. It will be found of great reference value to students of religious movements as well as wars. A few direct quotations illustrate this point:
"There were some 20,000 Catholics among approximately 2,700,000 inhabitants of the thirteen colonies in 1776."
"It is estimated that in the United States in 1860 there were about 4,500,000 Catholics out of a total population of 31,500,000."
"In the United States religious census of 1916 the total number of church members in the country is set down at 41,926,854, the number of Catholics as approximately 16,000,000."
"The value of Catholic Church property to given at $374,206,895, which far exceeds that of any other church."
"The Catholic citizens of America furnished for the World War more than 30 per cent of the enlisted fighting men in our army and navy."
"The department of historical records at the National Catholic War Council has on file the names of more than 17,000 Catholic soldiers, sailors and marines who were killed or died under the colors, with more than 2000 parishes still to be heard from. The total number of American dead as given by the war department is 126,656."
Upon the editor's desk lie two volumes of Records of the World War, fresh from the office at the adjutant general at Washington. These are Field Orders of the Fifth Division and of the Second Army Corps with maps and diagrams. They are thin volumes of less than 200 pages each, but packed with thrilling interest. Their contents cover the period overseas from May 1918 to February 1919. Most of the orders are
marked "Secret." Directions for advance, for signals, for
liason with other commands are brief, but full. From these
printed volumes of original records historians of the future
will obtain their most important material. Complete sets of
these volumes in the Historical Society library will be
available for ex-service men and others interested.
The Winnebago Indian tribe lives half (nearly) in Nebraska - the other half in Wisconsin. The Nebraska half is the subject of a 60-page monograph written by Dr. Margaret W. Koenig and published by this Society in August. Passing from the old life to the new is it critical period in the life of any primitive people. The survival of the Winnebago, like that of the Pawnee is still in doubt. Dr. Koenig's contribution has been highly commended in a number of letters received by the Society.
Index of continuous growth of interest in history of the State is the flood of letters coming to the editor's desk. Every day brings numerous inquiries in regard to historical sites, events and persons in Nebraska. Many of these letters call for extended research to answer.
The Daughters of the American Revolution in Nebraska are making a concentrated effort to gather pioneer reminiscences and county data to be placed with the Nebraska Historical Society for reference. Already some valuable miscellaneous manuscripts have been secured.
All of the records of the Nebraska State Council of Defense and the papers of the Womens' Council of Defense are in the keeping of the State Historical Society. Photographs and other records showing Nebraska's part in the World War are constantly being added to our collections.
The Historical Society has recently acquired many of the private papers of Dr. L. J. Abbott who was a member of the House of Representatives in 1867. These papers are full of interesting material relating to the history of Nebraska.
The next issue of Nebraska History will appear in its new magazine form - convenient for reading and for binding into volumes of the same size as bound volumes issued by the Society.
THE WINNEBAGO IN MINNESOTA
Recently the superintendent received a letter from Thomas Hughes, an attorney at Mankato, Minnesota, asking for a copy of a photograph taken in New York City in 1866 showing the principal chiefs of the Winnebago tribe and especially Chiefs Decorah and Little Hill.
This photograph was taken at the instance of Robert W. Furnas, when he was Indian agent for the Omaha and Winnebago. He deposited a copy with the Historical Society. It is one of the most valuable pictures of that period, clear and distinct after all the years and showing Colonel Furnas surrounded by the group of chiefs who accompanied him on his trip east.
Mr. Hughes' letter gives a glimpse of what is being done at the old home of the Winnebago to preserve their tradition and memory. The Winnebago were the first Indians seen by the editor as a very small boy in Houston county, Minnesota. Mr. Hughes writes:
"The Winnebagos, as you know, had their reservation here in Blue Earth County, from 1855 to 1863, and our local society, as well as our state society, is much interested in their history. During this past winter, I have gathered a large quantity of material pertaining to the tribe. I have several dozen letters from Oliver LaMere and Dr. N. W. Jipson of Chicago, who is writing a history of the Winnebago tribe. Our local society have had a map made of the old reservation here, which covered a strip of land twenty-five miles long and thirteen miles wide and we have been relocating the sites of the various villages, which the Winnebagos occupied while here, with the names of the chiefs of each. We have also gathered a few pictures and quite a good deal of material pertaining to the history of the tribe while here and obtained biographies, as far as possible, of the most prominent chiefs. I have found the study very interesting.
Glad to know that your early home was here in southern Minnesota, and also of your interest in Winnebago history. Of course I have also been greatly interested in the Sioux, who were the aborigines, as you know, of the southern half of our state."
B. E. Bengston, Funk, Nebraska.
About seven miles south of Axtell,
Kearney county, Nebraska, are the tumble-down buildings of
Walker's Ranch. The decaying structures are all that is left
of one of the interesting landmarks of the early days. The
walls are gray from exposure to sun and rain and probably
have never known paint in any form. For many years the ranch
has undergone but slight changes and if any of the old
timers who once frequented the place should again chance
thither he would no doubt find much that would remind him of
olden times. There is the same house, a low frame affair,
the same stable and various other buildings with a wide
street between them running nearly northeast and
When the team started again they both
traveled in the same direction - southwest towards Walker's
B. E. Bengston, Funk, Nebraska
For a small spot, sections 9, 10, 15
and 16 in Bluffs precinct, Hamilton county, may well, as
historic ground, claim a brief notice. The descent of the
table-land and over the bluffs into the Platte River valley
is here short and the river is only a little more than a
yards wide. Side by side, they lie bearing mute witness
of the perils of the passage. An Indian village was located
here and in fear of ambush or savage treachery the wagons of
each train were driven abreast instead of in single file as
otherwise was the custom. The site of the Indian village is
in the angle formed by the section line on the east side of
section 9, and the ancient river bank.
farmplace had been built up where that was located. On
coming to the site of the Old Indian village I found a
cornfield there and of the plum grove only one solitary tree
was left. This was a small one and stood under the wire in
the line fence where the cultivator could not reach it.
Captain Lute M. North of Columbus, is one of the few survivors of the old battle days on the Nebraska plains. He is one of the still fewer pioneers having close acquaintance with that most picturesque and interesting figure in early Nebraska history - the Pawnee Indian. Quietly living in his pleasant home at Columbus, Captain North reads with eager interest everything relating to that early period so familiar to him. A recent correspondence with him refers to a matter of great importance in western history - what is called the Great Sioux Treaty of 1868:
Columbus, Nebr., June 30th, 1921.
Dear Mr. Sheldon:
Photo stat copies of the weather reports taken at Fort Atkinson in 1819-1820 and much other material relative to the history of the fort have recently been added to our collection.
Within the past few weeks the
Historical Society has come in possession of nearly complete
files of the printed reports of the grand lodge of Good
Templars in Nebraska.
stitutional convention which met that year, reading as
(These items are for the year 1920.)
Benjamin Seward Mothersead died at
Talmage July 3rd; settled upon a farm near Nebraska City in
Among the interesting adventures of historical society work is the discovery of new truth - or of the records thereof. It may be a find of flints cached away in some ancient Indian village site. It may be some weather stained diary of an explorer or pioneer. It may be some unexpected printed document giving exact information long sought. A set of documents with maps and detailed information upon events in the fateful frontier years 1864-76 is among the recent valued additions in our library. Those include original material on Fort Kearny, Fort Phil Kearny, events on the Platte river, the extinction of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe title in western Nebraska, Sitting Bull's explanation of the coming of the Indian Messiah.
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