paper, of February 27, 1858, announces that in the coming
months of April, May, June, and July two thousand wagons,
hauled by sixteen thousand cattle, hitched up with two acres
of ox yokes and driven by two thousand ox drivers would
start across the Plains. The item promises to the citizens a
season of grand opera, when "Bellows Falls, or the Glory of
a Bovine Jehu" would be presented nightly.
Courtesy Nathan P. Dodge, Council Bluffs, Iowa
FERRY ACROSS THE ELKHORN RIVER
Twenty-three miles northwest of Omaha, 1854. Drawing by George Simons, whose uncle, Norton Simons, owned the Bellevue ferry.
as that of commercial transportation, in those
ante-railroad days is illustrated in an article puffing the
steamer Wautossa which appeared in the Omaha Times,
June 17, 1958: "The Wautossa arrived here 'up to time' on
Sunday morning last. Captain Morrison finding, at our levee
and at other landings near here, a large quantity of
freight, awaiting shipment for points above, consented to
extend this trip to Sioux City. The Wautossa departed for
Sioux City on Tuesday morning, having on board pleasure
parties from Nebraska City, Council Bluffs, and Omaha. A
band of music accompanied the party. The trip can not fail
of being a pleasant one to all on board."
59 February 25, 1860.
grants through Omaha cross the Platte at Shinn's ferry.
The correspondent says that since leaving Fort Kearney there
had not been less than fifty to one hundred teams in sight
at any time. Residents estimated that two thousand five
hundred to three thousand teams had already passed along
this route that season, and, allowing about five persons to
a team, estimated that from ten thousand to fifteen thousand
people had gone over that road to the during the spring in
question. There were plenty of antelope and other kinds of
but no buffalo were to be seen.
60 April 14, 1860.
61 Charles M. Stebbins of St. Louis, was president.
62 May 25, 1861.
63 Dakota City Herald, August 13, 1859.
64 October 19, 1865.
65 May 19, 1860.
of the Platte bottom and fifty miles in length. The same
paper, June 2, 1860, says that up to that time an average of
thirty-five teams and three men to a team had crossed the
Missouri river at Omaha on the way to the mines. The
Press66 of Nebraska City says:
66 February 31, 1860.
67 September 13, 1860.
68 May 4, 1861.
69 November 1, 1860.
70 March 1, 1862.
71 June 28, 1862.
72 August 14, 1863.
May, 1865, a meeting was held at Omaha for the purpose of
raising a subscription of $50,000 for building a bridge
across the Platte in the interest of the North Platte route,
and among those on the subscription committee were Edward
Creighton, Ezra Millard, and Dr. George L. Miller.
73 August 28, 1867.
74 August 22, 1863.
here to Fort Kearney is naturally better than any other;
in distance it is shorter thin most other routes; the road
is comparatively level; no large streams except the Nemaha
to cross; plenty of good water and pasture, and between here
and the Leavenworth road at Sandy you are never out of sight
of timber. Had about two good bridges been built five years
ago a large portion of the vast emigration to the mines
would have passed over this route. We vainly hoped that the
government would see the importance of this route and would
aid us in making a good road. Meanwhile the tide of travel
influenced by interested parties became fixed to other
75 August 2, 1862.