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NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol IV, no 1 (part 3)



home. Then the five good singers who were in the party struck up with one accord, "Home, Sweet Home," and never was it sung with a more hearty good will.


   We are indebted to Mr. Fred E. Bodie of Blair, for several recent important contributions to Nebraska territorial history. These contributions have come from examination of old documents in the possession of the Castetter Bank of Blair. This bank and the business which preceded it go back to the beginnings of Washington county. As receiver in charge Mr. Bodie has had occasion to go over these early documents and had discernment to recognize their historical value.
   The document which follows is the first record thus far found of a hat factory in Nebraska. The city of Desoto had then a population of more than 1,000 people, two newspapers, steamboats tying up at its river front to discharge cargo, enterprising business men, real estate promoters. To-day it is a horse pasture, three miles from Blair. The Missouri river has deserted its former channel and wandered away a mile or more eastward. And now after more than a half century, comes to light these ancient articles of co-partnership with their most interesting figures on the cost of hats, printed according to copy as follows:
   Article of agreement made and entered into this 3rd day of January A. D. 1862 by and between Joel Ruly of the City of De Soto County of Washington and Territory of Nebraska and John H. Hoskinson of the Same place the above named parties to this article mutually agree with each other and by these presents do Enter into a co-partnership for the purpose of manufacturing Hats in the City of De Soto County Washington & Territory of Nebraska and we the above named Joel Ruly and John H. Hoskinson do further agree and Bind ourselves by these presents to Each Share alike the expences of furnishing the tools necessary to Manufacture Hats. And it is further agreed between us that the material out of which the Hats are made to be furnished by us and that each one of us is to pay an equal proportion for the same but in the event that either one of the within named parties should furnish more stock than the other that the said party so furnishing shall be allowed to draw the amount of money so furnished out of the capital stock of the firm before any division shall be made & after the same shall be taken out by the respective party entitled to the same that the balance shall be then equally divid between the Parties to this instrument after first paying for the Making of Said Hats and we further agree by and between ourselves to each furnish an equal proportion all the material necessary to carry on a regular Hattery business Stock included and that John H. Hoskinson, one of the within firm is to manufacture Said Hats in a good workmanlike manner out of the material so furnished and for such prices as is laid down in a Schedule or Bill of prices hereto attached marked A and in consideration for said Labor each of us the parties herein name viz Joel Ruly and John H. Hoskinson are to pay and equal proportion of said Labor which pay is to be taken out of the Hats so manufactured before any division Shall be made or any disposition made of it other than is heretofore expressed.



  In Witness Whereof we have hereunto set our hand and Seal this 3rd day of January A. D. 1862.

Joel Ruly Seal
John H. Hoskinson Seal

In Presence of
Charles D. Davis
P. W. Lecombe


Making Caster bodies each

50 cts

napping Caster bodies with beaver, otter, or muskrat each

50 cts

making rabbit hats each

50 cts

making wool bodies each

35 cts

napping wool bodies each

37 1/2 cts

making wool hat each

37 1/2 cts

Finishing caster hats each

18 1/2 cts

Finishing rabbit hats each

12 1/2 cts

Finishing wool Bodies napped each

12 1/2 cts

coloring each hat napped

12 1/2 cts

blocking and washing out after coloring

5 cts

pulling and cutting coon skin

4 cts

pulling and cutting muskrat skin

3 cts

trimming caster hats each

12 1/2 cts

trimming wool bodies napped each

10 cts

trimming rabbit hats each

10 cts

trimming wool hats each

5 cts

scraping and cuting rabbit each

3 cts

Making roram bodies each

40 cts

The wool is to be carded equal by both parties pulling cutting

Beaver skin each

25 cts

otter do,

25 cts

wolf do,

20 cts

Making smoth caster hat



   The secretary of the Wyuka cemetery calls up to ask the origin of the cemetery name. This inquiry has frequently been made of the Historical Society. It may be well to put in printed form information upon this subject.
   In the Dakota or Sioux language the intransitive verb wanka means to rest, to lie down. To recline, kun-iwanka. The name of a couch is owanka. The pronunciation of wanka is very much as though it were spelled wong-kah.
   In the Dakota or Sioux language pronouns are incorporated with the verb, but for the third person singular no incorporate pronoun is used. In order then, to find the simplest form of the verb in Sioux we look to the third person singular instead of to the infinitive as in English. Therefore wanka exactly means in Dakota, he rests or he lies down.
   The Nebraska legislature in 1869 passed the act providing that eighty acres of land belonging to the state of Nebraska, not more than three miles distant from the state capitol building, should be selected by a board of trustees and approved by



the governor as a state cemetery. The act does not name the cemetery. The name was given after the site had been located and the tradition associated with the name, is that it was "Indian" for resting place. This is approximately correct.
   Lincoln and Wyuka cemetery are located in what was Otoe territory. The Otoe language is a dialect of the Dakota or Sioux language. The Omaha and Ponca languages are likewise dialects of the Dakota. The conversion of the Otoe word "wong-kah" into Wyuka is easily understood. Very commonly Indian words are mispronounced, due to the fact that the white man's ear does not correctly catch the exact pronunciation of the Indian tongue. There yet remains to be determined who of the early pioneers of Lincoln found and bestowed the name Wyuka on the state cemetery.


   Murie is a familiar name to students of the Pawnee and Indian wars on the Nebraska border. Capt James Murie commanded a company of Pawnee scouts during the Sioux-Cheyenne war. He was married to a Pawnee woman. In his later years he lived in the Grand Island Soldiers' Home where he died. He was a brave and efficient soldier, recognized by a special resolution of the legislature in 1870.
   James Murie, son of Captain Murie and a Pawnee mother, has been for many years a valuable helper in the work of collecting the history and folk lore of his tribe for publication. He is a graduate of Carlisle, speaks English well, knows the tribal traditions and is passionately devoted to their preservation. The editor of this magazine is indebted to Mr. Murie for assistance in visits to the Pawnee at their home in Oklahoma.
   The 35th Bureau of American Ethnology report has this reference to Mr. Murie's present work:
   Mr. James Murie, as opportunity offered and the limitations of a small allotment made by the bureau for these studies allowed, continued his observations on the ceremonial organization and rites of the Pawnee tribe, of which he is a member. The product of Mr. Murie's investigation of the year, which was practically finished but not received in manuscript form, at the close of June, is a circumstantial account of "The Going After the Mother Cedar Tree by the Bear Society," an important ceremony which has been performed only by the Skidi band during the last decade.


Made a State Institution February 27, 1883.

    An act of the Nebraska legislature, recommended by Govenor James W. Dawes in his inaugural and signed by him, made the State Historical Society a State institution in the following:

   Be it Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Nebraska:

   Section 1. That the "Nebraska State Historical Society," an organization now in existence--Robt. W. Furnas, President; James M. Woolworth and Elmer S. Dundy, Vice-Presidents; Samuel Aughey, Secretary, and W. W. Wilson, Treasurer, their associates and successors--be, and the same is hereby recognized as a state institution.
   Section 2. That it shall be the duty of the President and Secretary of said institution to make annually reports to the governor, as required by other state institutions. Said report to embrace the transactions and expenditures of the organization, together with all historical addresses, which have been or may hereafter be read before the Society or furnished it as historical matter, data of the state or adjacent western regions of country.
   Section S. That said reports, addresses, and papers shall be published at the expense of the state, and distributed as other similar official reports, a reasonable number, to be decided by the state and Society, to be furnished said Society for its use and distribution.

Property and Equipment

   The present State Historial Society owns in fee simple title as trustee of the State the half block of land opposite and east of the State House with the basement thereon. It occupies for offices and working quarters basement rooms in the University Library building at 11th and R streets. The basement building at 16th and H is crowded with the collections of the Historical Society which it can not exhibit, including some 15,000 volumes of Nebraska newspapers and a large part of its museum. Its rooms in the University Library building are likewise crowded with library and museum material. The annual inventory of its property returned to the State Auditor for the year 1920 is as follows:

Value of Land, 1/2 block 16th and H


Value of Buildings and permanent improvements


Value of Furniture and Furnishings


Value of Special Equipment, including Apparatus,

     Machinery and Tools


Educational Specimens (Art, Museum, or other)


Library (Books and Publications)


Newspaper Collection


Total Resources


Much of this property is priceless, being the only articles of their kind and impossible to duplicate.

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