NE History & Record of Pioneer Days
Vol VII, no 1 (part 2)
Flint is the gold of the
aborigine -- with flint he satisfies his every want. From flint he
made his arrow point to kill his game and fight his battles; his
knives to cut his meat and make his clothes, and to scalp his
enemy; his hoe to cultivate his corn and dress his hides. His
worship, his industry, and his every occupation involved the use
of it. His social advancement is determined by the skill he
acquired in shaping it to his needs. The life history of the
aborigine is determined by the study of his flint implements. On
this ruin scrapers are most abundant. Small war points are
plentiful, but the notched bird points are rare. Many very fine
knives have been found, and the typical Harahey diamond-shaped
knife with four cutting edges predominates.
"Ceremonials" are common. One of these, the very finest specimen ever found in this state, is eight inches long, three inches wide and no thicker than window glass -- one of the most perfectly chipped specimens in the world. It was found in this Loup river area by Mrs. Hannah Larson, and loaned to the State Historical Society. It is made of the beautiful chocolate brown jasper which is found on the Republican river bluffs. From this same material was made the collection of superb implements which you may see at the St. Louis Historical Society rooms. These implements were found in a cache in Tennessee, which shows the wide area of traffic among the aboriginees.
This Larson ceremonial is the artistic Harahey type of chipping. Another ceremonial found in this same area is about the same size but is the coarse Quivira type of chipping and is nearly two inches thick. This was loaned by Mrs. J. W. Williamson of Genoa.
A ceremonial 22 inches long and 4 inches wide was loaned by Will A. Brown of Fullerton. There is but one larger in the world -- 23 inches long. These are but a few of the wonderful specimens found in this Loup river area.
All the pottery found here is "Basket ware" -- no coiled ware exists. The tempering is sand, clam shells, quartz, and often mica is intermixed with the tempering. Broken pieces of potsherds are often found in the pottery specimens. Some have grass impressions on the outside; cord or fabric impressions are not uncommon, but nearly every piece shows rude lines made in the plastic clay with a stick, especially as rim and handle decorations. Some specimens show the form of the wicker work of the basket in which the vessel was made, while many are decorated over the entire outer surface with a
LOUP VALLEY INDIAN SITE FINDS, JULY, 1924
Top -- Bronze chain, possibly Spanish.
Next below -- Bronze plate, probably of quilted armor.
Bottom -- Three sharp flint knives from cross section of mound house.
stick on the plastic clay, showing they were made without the
basket support, on the outside at least. Some show rough on the
inside as if made around some object. The vessels were from a half
pint to three gallons in size. The walls are from one-eighth to
one-half inch thick, some are much thinner.
They are from black to light gray in color, while some are burned red and quite hard. Most specimens absorb a little moisture and might serve as water coolers. Yet this pottery stands hard usage well and does not disintegrate. Some people have fancied they saw glyphs in the rude geometrical lines on the edges. The art of making basket ware emanated from Scandinavia and the ancient Runic days.
The pottery study is still in progress, as it is one of the best means for the study of these aborigines.
A few perfect bone implements were found preserved in the ashes, but most of these crumbled on exposure.
At the south of the village is quite a
prominent bluff leading gradually down to the Loup river bank
between two abrupt draws. There are two of these bluffs covered
with slightly raised mounds, and covering nearly five acres. I
selected one of these slightly raised mounds and made a cross
section. At a depth of 4 1/2 feet of moved earth, three graves
The form of each grave was easily traced by a dark color showing some preparation before the body was deposited. The interior of the grave may have been burned. It may have been lined with grass or a skin robe, but the dark streak in the soil showed to the very top of the mound and a number of these grave outlines were noticed on these bluffs.
At the bottom of the graves I found a dark gray mass, all that was left of the human body after centuries of rest in the bosom of mother earth. This mass is about a foot across and half an inch to two inches deep. One grave was three inches deeper than the others. The lowest point, as well as the dark streak at the sides, was plainly defined by unmoved earth much lighter in color with the texture of unmoved loess soil. No bones and no implements were found in these graves.
About ten feet below the highest point of bluff, on the slopes of the side, I found a mass of bones in a sort of charnel pit near the surface. Dr. Newmarker of Columbus identified many of these bones as human. This charnel pit may be the final repository of the bones of a scaffold burial. This mass is four feet across and 8 inches deep. Many of these bones show evidences of fire and this may be the spot where stood the
torture rack upon which human sacrifice was offered to the
The evidence leads me to believe that this ruin was Skidi -- that it was their first permanent home after they came north to the Loup valley from Texas. They came to the Loup valley a century before the Pawnees came to the Platte valley. The Pawnees came a century before Coronado saw them in 1541, so these ruins go back to 1341 at least and possibly much farther.
Undoubtedly the Lord of Harahey led his 200 naked followers from this Loup area when he visited Coronado in Quivera. This Loup area was "Harahey " -- "Quivira" was farther south.
A number of Spanish trinkets which might have belonged to the expedition of 1720 were found on this trip, but my time has expired.
I hope you will write to WOAW, -- expressing your opinion of this program. WOAW is the first radio station to broadcast this kind of a program and should be commended for their enterprise by those who appreciate it.
In the Hemingford Ledger, July
17, 1924, J. A. Smith writes a story of the first homesteaders in
Box Butte county. In a part of his story is this:
"It was in the year of 1884 that the writer and two other men started out from Western Iowa to hunt for Government land in Western Nebraska. We had heard about the White River country, how well watered it was and that a body or range of timber ran through it. We thought we would like to have some of this land so we started out with a team and good spring wagon which was loaded with a tent and cooking utensils. Our search took us away beyond settlements where living creatures did not exist except coyote and antelopes. On our way out we fell in with Ezekiel and William Maiben who were also on the land hunt. At Valentine we were joined by Mr. Phillip Michael, Daniel Mauk, Mr. Blair, and one or two others. Mr. Blair filed on a timber culture claim and desired to travel with us and see his claim. This claim was situated on Box Butte Creek in what was then termed "Box Butte Country." This of course took us off of the main route to White River, but we thought we would like to see the country so we got on the Niobrara river and traveled up that river until we came opposite the above named creek. Here we went into camp. The next morning we drove south until noon to see how the land looked. We arrived at High Table Land, three miles south of Hemingford. The country looked so good, and so much expansion of it, every acre looking the same that we asked ourselves "Why look further. This land will be settled, a railroad built through here and this will become a prosperous country." So we searched until we found a section corner stake, ran out our claims and returned to camp. The next morning we were up early and left for Valentine land office to file on our claims. Imagine our surprise to be told that we were first to file on homesteads and pre-emption's in Box Butte country! Previous to this there had been a few filings made on timber claims on Box Butte creek.
Miss Lucy Haywood
of Lincoln, has presented to the State Historical Society an original copy
of the Daily Citizen, J. W. Swords proprietor, dated Vicksburg, Mississippi,
Thursday, July 2, 1863. The copy is printed on wall paper, due to the exhaustion
of white print paper during the siege of Vicksburg. It is four columns in
width and is filled with war news. It contains a glowing eulogy of General
Lee's campaign into Maryland and Pennsylvania, predicting the complete victory
of Lee over the "abolition hordes." Two or three other paragraphs are worth
"The Federal General McClernand until recently outside the rear of our city has been superceded. He and Grant could not run in the same harness. He was for splurging and Grant for gassing, both got the loggerheads. So poor Mac had to leave, and Grant has all his own way. * * *
"The Yanks outside our city are considerably on the sick list. Fever dysentry and disgust are their companions, and Grant is their master. The boys are deserting daily and are crossing the river in the region of Warrenton and cussing Grant and abolitionists generally. The boys are down upon the earth delving, the burrowing, the bad water, and the hot weather.
"On Dit. -- That the great Ulysses -- the Yankee Generalissimo, surnamed Grant -- has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on Saturday next and celebrating the 4th of July by a grand dinner and so forth. When asked if he would invite Gen. Jo. Johnston to join he said, "No! for fear there will be a row at the table." Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it. The way to cook rabbit is "first catch the rabbit," etc.
Note July 4th, 1863.
"Two days bring about great changes, the banner of the Union flows over Vicksburg. Gen. Grant has "caught the rabbit;" he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with. him. The "Citizen" lives to see it. For the last time it appears on "Wall-paper." No more will it eulogize the luxury of mule-meat and fricassed kitten -- urge Southern Warriors to such diet never more. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we found them. It will be valuable hereafter as a curiosity."
Vicksburg, Nov. 22nd, 1863.
Dear Sister: I send you a copy of the Vicksburg Daily Citizen. The last edition ever published. It was issued on the 2nd of July, the day before the surrender. When we came into the city some of our boys went into the printing offices and finding the edition only partly struck off, went to work and finished it. I saw a copy that was issued by the publisher before we came in and therefore know this to be a true copy. All except the finishing note which was added by our boys. I could only get one copy of it. Please take care of it for me, for I hold it above all price. You can show it to your friends, but don't lend it. Be sure and let Mrs. Finley read it. I wrote to you a week ago.
F. L. HAYWOOD.
Schuyler Sun of July 17, 1924, is a very interesting account of the beginnings
of Schuyler, by Mrs. Mary Murphy Henry, from which is taken the following
"In April, 1856, a company was formed in Omaha for the purpose of founding a city at some point on the Platte river beyond North Bend. General Esterbrook, Colonel Miller, E. W. Toncray and Isaac Albertson, the father of Mrs. G. H. Wells of Schuyler, were among the prominent members of the company. The last two men named were sent out to decide upon a site. At this time there was no bridge west of Omaha and when Mr. Albertson and Mr. Toncray reached the Elkhorn river, they had to get their team and wagon across the river as best they could. The horses swam the river and the wagon was carried across on a rudely improvised raft, acting as a ferry boat. The raft and the wagon floated down the river and lodged in a thicket and mud near the river's edge. The wet, tired and hungry adventurers finally released their raft and its cargo and journeyed on to the west and halted on the west bank of Shell creek, at a point a little above where it enters the Platte. Here they proceeded to found the city of "Buchanan" on April 27, 1856. This farm is now known as the Sherman Mapes farm and is occupied by Herman Yohnk.
A few weeks later the erection of a "Logtown house" was commenced. That was about the extent of the vision of Buchanan. Columbus to the west and North Bend and Fremont to the east very soon took the life and interest out of Buchanan and the proposed city became a thing of the past as hundreds of other paper towns of the west have done.
The next permanent settler after the arrival of Mr. Albertson was Daniel Hashberger. Mr. Hashberger was the man who later donated the present site of the old courthouse to Colfax county. He arrived here in 1856. At the time of this settlement there were but 25 people in the country which was a part of Platte county at that time. Among the early settlers were the families of Mr. Albertson and Mr. Toncray. These early settlers were among the unfortunate ones who had to endure the hardships of the severe winters of 1856 and 1857. Daniel Hashberger was one who braved the storm to Omaha in February, 1857, his supply of provisions being nearly exhausted. He started to make the trip on foot for the purpose of buying food. He was unable to return for over a week's time. He then heard that the road was open as far west as the Elkhorn river. He hired a team and after two days managed to get his provisions and himself to that locality. Here he rested long enough to "dump" his goods and then proceeded on his journey homeward on foot. He returned to Elkhorn with a team of oxen to take his previous freight on to his destination. The journey took sixteen days.
Trips to Fort Calhoun in Washington county for flour and to Omaha for provisions were made in fair and stormy weather as a matter of necessity in keeping soul and body together. One very fortunate circumstance greatly favored the early settlers and that was the abundance of wild game. For instance, Mr. Albertson during the first year of his stay here shot 33 deer and 8 elk. Fuel was scarce and difficult to haul. When obtained it had to be hauled on hand sleds mostly.
Former Senator John C. Sprecher of Schuyler writes a very interesting account of the Schuyler Homeguards, organized during the world war. The most important part of the story is the erection by funds raised by the company of an immense granite monument at the cost of $5200 commemorating the services of Colfax county men in the world war and carrying the names of 17 who died in the service. This monument stands in the court house grounds at Schuyler and is a fine contribution to the permanent record of Nebraska men in the world war.
Publication of General O'Neill's personal recollections of the founding of the Irish colony makes a very interesting chapter of Nebraska history as published by the O'Neill Frontier. Among the important items in this account is the following:
O'Neill City, Holt County, Nebr., August 22, 1875.
At a meeting of O'Neill
Colonists, held at O'Neill City, August 22nd, 1875, the following
resolutions were unanimously adopted.
Whereas, We have been fortunate beyond our expectations in securing our homesteads in the locality chosen by General O'Neill, for the establishment of his Irish American colony, and
Whereas, We entertain a profound anxiety to urge upon our countrymen the necessity of improving this opportunity of securing homes for themselves, an opportunity which will be irretrievably lost in the near future, and
Whereas, We know from experience (there being representative men from near every State and Territory in the Union) that no part of the West offers so many advantages to settlers and particularly to Irish Americans as the O'Neill settlement, in Holt county, Nebraska. Splendid land, pure water, and a healthy climate, therefore; be it
Resolved, That first we hold ourselves in readiness to furnish all necessary information about the Colony to those desirous of obtaining it.
Second. That we will extend a welcoming, and so far as lies in our power, a helping hand, to those who come here to settle.
Third. That we return our warmest thanks to Gen. O'Neill and shall ever feel grateful for the untiring zeal manifested, and the self-sacrifice endured for the welfare of the colonists.
Fourth. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Irish World for publication.
Patrick Hagerty, Winona, Minn., John Reddy, Lacon, Ill., Patrick S. Hughes, Dover, N. H., Thomas Connolly, Manchester, Vt., Thomas Harrington, Ansona, Conn., Michael H. McGrath, Brooklyn, N. Y., Patrick Murray, N. Y., Edward Gallagher, Barclay, Penn., Wm. Joyce, Hazelton, Ohio, Tim O'Connor, Chicago, Ill., Patrick Barrett, Tennenville, Mich., John Fallon, St. Louis, Mo., Joseph Kresser, Dubuque, Iowa, Thomas Gallagher, Ottumwa, Iowa, Michael Dillon, Granier Co., Texas, Neil Brennon, Peabody, Mass., Charles Donnelly, Port Huron, Michigan. -- Committee on Resolutions.
I most cheerfully endorse the foregoing resolutions.
P. J. BEDARD, Pastor.
Henry W. Whitebrook, the first white boy born in Boone county died at the Soldier's home at Leavenworth, July 12, 1924, aged 53.
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