NEGenWeb Project OLLibrary, Journals
NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol IV, no 3 (part 2)




   In answer to questions regarding women editors of Nebraska. Miss Martha Turner, of the Historical Society, has compiled this list:
   Brock Bulletin, Miss F. E. Warden, editor and publisher.
   Crookston Herald, Mrs. J. E. Estle, editor and publisher.
   Dixon Journal, Rivola B. Bennette, editor and publisher.
   Banner County News, Harrisburg, Ella B. Wilson, editor and publisher.
   Hebron Journal, Mrs. Erasmus M. Correll, editor and publisher.
   Nebraska State Grange Journal, Kearney, Mrs. George Bischel, editor and State Grange Community, publishers.
   Nebraska Legal News, Lincoln, Mrs. D. M. Butler, editor and publisher.
   Minden News, Miss Florence E. Reynolds, Editor, New Publishing Company, publishers.
   Morrill Mail, Mrs. W. E. Alvis, editor.
   Norfolk Press, W. H. & Marie Weekes, editors and publishers.
   Every Child's Magazine, Omaha, Miss Grace Sorenson.
   Tidings, Omaha, Mrs. Mary E. LaRocca, editor, Supreme Forest, publisher.
   Pawnee County Schools, Pawnee City, Elsie S. Hammon editor and publisher.
   Rulo Star, F. W. and Mrs. B. J. Beavers, editors and publishers.
   Stromsburg Headlight, Mrs. Chattie Coleman Westenius, editor and publisher.
    Upland Eagle, Mrs. J. W. Robinson, editor and publish
    Verdel (Knox Co.) Outlook, Kate M. Robinson, editor publisher.
    York New Teller, Miss E. G. Moore, editor and publish


   From T. S. Walmslay, chairman of the American Legion committee upon World War memorials and records, the His-



torical Society has received a most important and valuable report made to the American Legion at its meeting in Kansas City this year. The report is packed with definite information and opinion relating to the records, the history and memorials of the World War. These are matters which the State Historical Societies and the American Historical Association are deeply interested in. In this field the American Legion and the Historical Societies find need of cordial cooperation.
    A few salient facts in the American Legion committee report are given for information of members of the State Historical Society who may not have access to that document.
    Individual records of those in service during the World War are contained in the records of the Adjutant General's office, filling 140,000 feet of floor space and weigh over 2,000 tons.
    Selected draft records of the Provost Marshal General's Office contain the documents of 4.658 local draft boards and 23,908,576 registrants in draft lists, from which names were drawn those subject to service. These documents weigh over 8,000 tons.
    Besides the above records which relate primarily to the individual soldier and sailor of the World War, there are the records of all the other departments of military service and supply, making in the aggregate many more thousand tons. These are scattered in various buildings at Washington. The Adjutant General's offices in the various states have supplied with cards from these rational records giving the important facts relating to men in the service. Upon comparing these cards with known sources of information in the service states it is found that about 10% of them contain errors. Some states which plan to publish service lists of their own soldiers have postponed such publications until the records are checked and verified.
    The American Legion has recommended Congress to appropriate money for the erection of a national archives building at Washington in which shall be housed these historical records for the use of state historians and other persons interested.
    War history commissions in many of the states, composed of representatives of the State Historical Societies, of service men and others, have been formed for the purpose of preserving in each state material relating to the state's part in the World War. From this material volumes of state World War history are to be published.



Picture or sketch 

John Bratt, Nebraska Pioneer and Author. 1864-1918.


   John Bratt was born in Staffordshire, England, August 9, 1842. He arrived in America July 9, 1864. After a remarkable experience in Chicago and the South he came to Nebraska in May, 1866 and engaged as bullwhacker at Nebraska City with a freighting outfit bound for Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming. For the next four years (1866-1870) Mr. Bratt was on the fighting frontier, employed as courier, ranch caretaker, teamster, wood and hay contract foreman, contractor's agent and manager. The Union Pacific railway was under construction. Forts were being built. Military were moving. Indian wars were going on. Emigrants were migrating on the great trails.



    Stage lines and pony express riders were traveling night and day. The greatest panorama of human life stretched over the plains and mountains from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean. Mr. Bratt's life at this period was in the midst of dangers and important events. He held places of responsibility handling both men and money. For one firm he disbursed early two million dollars. He grew in the confidence of his employers and was advanced and finally taken into partnership.
   In 1870 the cattle ranching company of John Bratt & Co. was founded with Mr. Bratt as manager. For the next twenty-eight years he was in the plains cattle business, driving herds from Texas, building ranches, filling beef contracts, organizing county governments for protection, fighting Indian and white cattle thieves, constructing irrigation ditches for great meadows, quieting unruly cowboys.
    In 1898 Mr. Bratt went out of the ranching business, settled in North Platte, was member of the school board, mayor and devoted the remaining years of his life to business interests, support of civic welfare and enjoyment of his friends and family. He died June 15, 1918 after a brief illness.
    The manuscript "Trails of Yesterday" was written, as he says:
    Sometimes these were written under difficulties in tent, wagon box, ranch, or on the open prairie, if not on my field desk; perhaps on a cracker box, the cooks' bread box, the end gate or seat of a wagon, the skirts of my saddle, or on an ox yoke. These facts are what I have been and done in years of activity, often at the risk of my life.
   He expected to publish the book himself, but left that by will to his wife and daughters who have discharged the duty with fidelity and love.
    "Trails of Yesterday" is a real contribution to Nebraska literature as well as Nebraska history. It is the best picture of Nebraska frontier conditions thus far achieved in any book. In simple style the author tells his story. Incidents that stir the blood and fire the imagination follow each other in natural, truthful sequence. And, through it all, the pages disclose the personality of a real man.

    Attorney I. D. Bradley of Attica, Kansas, writes a most interesting account of his early Nebraska experiences. In April, 1867, he hauled 3,100 pounds of shelled corn to Denver with four mules. After that he drove up the North Platte river to the old Beauvais Ranch where he had narrow escape from 400 hostile Sioux. There are only a few still living who were on the plains in the war days of 1864-67.




   George L. Burr, editor of the Register at Aurora, writes "You ask concerning Judge Gaslin stories. I have one that came under my personal observation. It is not much, but such as it is you shall have it. I was a boy freighter from Smith county, Kansas, to Hastings, and when on return trip, I stopped over at Hunnell's ranch between Hastings and Red Cloud for dinner. It was an election day and the candidates were Gaslin and Dilworth. We had a good dinner, albeit considerably late. While we were eating, a half dozen of at table, the little daughter of the proprietor, Hunnell, a five or six year-old with long curls that were very beautiful, came to her father's arms, and said: 'They are having 'lection over to the schoolhouse, papa.' 'Is that so,' he replied, 'and did you vote?' 'Yes, I voted' said she. 'Who did you vote for?` inquired the father. 'I voted for Dilworth,' said the little girl, 'I didn't want no old Gaslin in mine.'
    "The man eating beside me ducked his head, but said never a word, and after dinner the other freighters told that it was Judge Gaslin himself and that he was a good judge but that he was prejudiced against women, he having a wife that had gone wrong, and that he had to watch himself in cases where women were concerned to see that he did no injustice."
   Other Gaslin stories:
    "At one term of district court the jury released several bad actors that the judge considered hardened criminals. They convicted one young fellow on a first offense. With utmost severity of manner he roared out: 'Stand up and receive your sentence.' The prisoner struggled to his feet expecting to receive the limit and the judge said, 'Prisoner at the bar: For some reason, God only knows what it was, the jury have seen fit to turn loose on this community several bad men, more guilty than you. If they can do this I can turn loose one boy that I hope will know more than to be ever caught in a scrape like this again. The sentence of this court is that you mount your horse, and be out of town in less than five minutes.'"

    "When I lived in Webster county about 1884 they told following yarn about Gaslin. The Cook murder trial where the man who committed a horrible and unprovoked murder of an employer was concluded and the prisoner ready for sentence. It should have been, murder in the first degree but a mob had hanged and nearly killed him and he was very pluckily rescued by Sheriff Warren at risk of his life and as a result the verdict was for murder in the second degree. The



judge had been greatly exasperated by several supreme court decisions in other cases and spit out: 'I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give this man five years in the penitentiary if he and his attorney will agree that he take his medicine and serve the sentence; or I will give him ten years in the penitentiary and he can appeal to the supreme court and see what they will do for him.'"
    "Later at Bloomington, he was holding court, and my father, E. M. Burr, was one of the attorneys at the bar. As court got in motion it became manifest that His Honor was very drunk and not in fit condition to act on the bench. As father was bringing forward his case, the judge made a great effort to appear preternaturally attentive, but he as well as the onlookers realized that he could not conquer his indisposition. 'This court sojourned,' thickly enunciated, 'I'm not in condition to try a lawsuit, and I'm not going to do it.' 'To what date, your honor' said father. 'To the twenty-fifth of Deshember,' said the judge. 'But your honor, that is a legal holiday' was urged. Confusedly he stared at the lawyers and jury. 'Whatsh holiday that comes on the twenty-fifth Deshember?' he inquired aggressively. The great judge who was noted for short-cut justice being too drunk to know when Christmas came.
    "Everybody has heard the story where he walked out, measured the breaking and passed judgement on the work, those points being in controversy in a case on trial before him. When court resumed trial of the case, he ruled out further evidence saying the court had seen the land and knew what the facts were."


Of Nebraska History & Record of Pioneer Days published Quarterly at Lincoln, Nebraska, for April 1922.
   State of Nebraska, County of Lancaster, ss.
   Before me a Notary Public in and for the State and county aforesaid, personally appeared A. E. Sheldon who, having been duly sworn according to law deposes and says that he is the Managing Editor of the Nebraska History & Records of Pioneer Days, and that the following is, to the best of his knowledge and belief, a true statement of the ownership, management (and if a daily paper, the circulation), etc., of the aforesaid publication for the date shown in the above caption, required by the Act of August 24, 1912, embodied in section 443, Postal Laws and Regulations, printed on the reverse of this form, to wit:
1. That the names and addresses of the publisher, editor, managing editor, and business managers are:

    Publisher, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Nebraska.
    Editor, A. F. Sheldon, Lincoln, Nebraska.
    Managing Editor, A. E. Sheldon, Lincoln, Nebraska.



    Business Managers, A. E. Sheldon, Lincoln, Nebraska'
    2 That the owners are: (Give names and addresses of individuals or, if a corporation, give its name and the names and addresses of stockholders owning or holding 1 per cent or more of the total amount of stock.) Nebraska State Historical Society.
    3. That the known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1 per cent or more of total amount of bond mortgages, or other securities are: None.

 A. E. SHELDON, Editor.

    Sworn to and subscribed before me this 11th day of April 1922.

(My commission expires Aug. 4, 1927.)


   "What has become" of the old fashioned newspaper custom printing a "Carrier's Address" to the New Year's edition?
This custom was well nigh universal in the 50's and 60's, it persisted in the 70's and lingered into the 80's. The editor of this magazine has seen no such address since the 90's. The stimulus for this paragraph is the receipt by the Historical Society from Mrs. J. M. Enochs, at the W. C. T. U. National Home, Kansas City, Kansas, of a very excellent copy, well preserved, the

"New Year's Address" of the Carrier.
Of the Weekly Nebraska News.
January 1, 1857."

   The address is in verse, which was the universal custom of the good old days. It was the business of the literary talent in each printing office to produce a page of verse--or worse--for this New Year's edition. The lines were supposed to rhyme and to convey some local allusion, some references to news and classic literature, some high hopes and aspirations for the future. They were also designed to act as stimulus on the subscriber for prompt renewal of his subscription and a bonus--the word was not then in use as now--to the boy who delivered the paper. So this old document, with its dear memories of the olden days, find appropriate place among the newspaper treasures of the Historical Society. Space may be spared for brief quotation only from its content.

I don't suppose you ever knew it,
That I the "Devil" am a poet;
But when these rhymes do you all read,
A Poet you'll think I am indeed,
Remember friends--I know it well,
The secret to you, I will tell:
"You can no more make yourself a poet,
Than a sheep can make itself a GO-AT."
      * * * * * * *  
On politics I've but little to say
Since Democracy has carried the day,
We've met the enemy gained the FIGHT
And our future prospects are yet bright,
And our brave LEADER needs no tear,
Still enough his patriot heart to cheer,
There is no dimness cast upon his fame
And BUCHANAN is still an. honored name.



I must by no means here forget,
Nebraska City is improving yet,
Buildings have sprung up in splendor,
Churches have increased in number;
Arts and science still hold a place
Learning still goes on apace;
We have a railroad almost here--
All with me join in a loud cheer.
    * * * * * * * *  
And now my friends and Patrons true,
I must ask a favor of you
Reward me with the precious dimes,
For my low bow and simple rhymes;
And if you choose to give a Quarter,
I'll not complain, "you hadn't orter;"
'Twill not decrease your wealth or joy.
But save from 'want your CARRIER BOY.

    There are twenty-one other stanzas but the above samples will suffice. Fine old humanistic custom! Why did it not survive? 

   A Los Angeles letter from Prof. H. W. Caldwell, former secretary of the State Historical Society, says:
    Of course you know that this city is making wonderful growth. In the last 15 months they claim that about 200,000 people have moved in. Thousands of houses have been constructed, and now everywhere the city great numbers of houses and buildings are under construction. Last evening friends took me with them on an automobile drive in a rather new and hilly section, yet we saw scores of houses under way, most of them very small in size. Great numbers of large buildings also are under way. The city in the last two years has greatly increased its manufacturing. The increase in population has made the rates for house or even room rent very high. I got out fairly well by going out of the central city to a nice district; and by a cousin I succeeded in finding a good room for $15 a month. Dr. Howard told me--I went there the moment I came-- that in his section rooms were about $20 to $30. As it is I am about 8 miles from them, yet I can go on a street car for five cents.
    Have you noticed that this city is the largest in area of any city of the world, it has 365 square miles now in the city--the main reason due to the need of water for all. Now the distance north to south is 40 miles, and it contains mountains, farms, and many named cities, now all part of this city. San Pedro is 20 miles away, next to Long Beach, and on the sea shore. I expect to go there tomorrow to visit Mrs. Jansen (Miss Fossler) in her high school. She lives within 4 blocks of me, and goes to her school every day, 26 miles. She has to start before 6 in the morning and gets home by 6 or 7 in the evening. That is not uncommon. Two of the Fossler women teach in the two Universities, and they live with their mother in Pasadena. It takes them about 1 1/2 hours to go and to return.
    In regard to myself, just a word. I have gained in weight, so that today I found I had more weight than for two or three years.

    Judge Alpha Morgan of Broken Bow writes to secure back volumes of the Historical Society publications. At no distant date it will be impossible to secure back volumes except by publication of new editions.




    No questions are asked oftener of the Historical Society than these:
    How long ago did prehistoric men live in Nebraska?
    What proof have we of their existence here?
    In the 36th report of the American Bureau of Ethonology (just received), pages 22-24, is further discussion of the problem raised by these questions. Gerard Fowke, expert from the bureau, visited southeastern Nebraska and Northeastern Kansas several years ago. He examined many burial mounds and village sites in this region. His chief purpose was to determine the age of man in the Nebraska region--so far as study of these remains might indicate. From his report just published, the following points are condensed:
    1. Remains found at old Nebraska lodge sites, except markings on some of the pottery, are not different from those found at sites of the Indian villages occupied at the time of Lewis and Clark expedition (1804-06). (Blackface, ours.).
    2. Fairly solid bones of animals and occasional human bones found at the bottom of the lodge sites, even where these are damp most of the year. To say these were there "thousands of years" ago is rash.
    3. The best test of the age of these old earth lodge sites is depth of dust which has accumulated above the floor and the dirt roof of the old structure. In some cases this is 20 or 22 inches. These sites are on the tops of hills where the winds blow. An estimate of an inch per 100 years is too small.
    4. Any estimate is a conjecture. It is safe, however, to say that no earthwork, mound, lodge-site or human bones along this part of Missouri river has been there 1,000 years.
    In regard to the skeletons and other remains found at Long Hill, eight miles north of Omaha, by Dr. R. F. Gilder--about the year 1906: Mr. Fowke says the hill has been so much dug over that no new evidence can be obtained there and the case must rest on what is now in print.
    For many years the writer has said that 1000 years was the safest guess on the age of man in the Nebraska region--so far as the evidence in sight disclosed. This opinion is firmed by Mr. Fowke--in fact it is hedged.
    Before the arrival of the horse from Europe A. D. 1540 and later--the western plains and prairies were a poor place for a prehistoric citizen. The centers of early population were in the woods of the Ohio and Mississippi--even in the sheltered canyons of the Rio Grande and the Colorado.
    Evidences of early men in this region are abundant along the Missouri. The remains of their early culture in bone, and flint, in charred wood, fire places and kitchen refuse are fascinating, for they show a culture differing from the red Indian of the historic period. We shall know far more of these early peoples fifty years hence--for time and money will be given to study of their remains.


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 beer, 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 3. 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.

Vol IV, no 3, part 1  Prior pageSpacerTOCSpacerNext page  Vol IV, no 4
Return to NE History & Record of Pioneer Days

© 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller