in Nebraska, and the peer, perhaps, of any who have since practiced in the courts of this state. In those earlier days Mr. Poppleton was almost passionately fond of public speaking, for which he was well equipped with an unusual share of personal magnetism, reasoning power, and a plausible and persuasive address. He manifested a keen interest in political affairs up to the time of the segregation of his services in the office of the Union Pacific railway company, which was a distinct loss to the commonwealth.
   Among the most far-sighted law-makers of that first council was Dr. M. H. Clark, member from Fontenelle, Dodge county. He was a type of the vigorous frontiersman in form and mind. He was an enthusiast as to the commercial future of Nebraska. As chairman of the committee on corporations he made a report to the council on the 16th of February, 1855, which was a prophecy of remarkable accuracy, and which has been completely verified.
   The report in its advocacy of the chartering of a transcontinental railroad forecasts

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Engraving from pen and ink sketch by Stanislas W. F. Schymonsky, owned by Mrs. James T. Allan, Omaha, Nebraska.


This, and its companion pieces, are the only pictures extant of the Mission building as it appeared in 1854

and which has been completely verified.
   The report in its advocacy of the charter ing of a transcontinental railroad forecasts the future of such a road, and in concluding declares that if it could be built,

   The millions of Europe would be brought in contact with the hundreds of millions of Asia, and their line for quick transit would be, to a great extent, across our continent. Their mails, their ministers, their most costly and interesting travel and trade, would take this route, and augment our business and multiply our resources. In view of the comparative cost, to the wonderful changes that will result, your committee can not believe the period remote when this work will be accomplished; and with liberal encouragement to capital, which your committee are disposed to grant, it is their belief that before fifteen years have transpired the route to India will be open, and the way across this continent will be the common way of the world. Entertaining these views, your committee report the bill for the Platte Valley and Pacific Railroad, feeling assured that it will become not only a basis for branches within Nebraska, but for surrounding states and territories.

   The report begins with this sentence: "It is generally conceded that the portion of the territory of Nebraska which will first seek organization as a state is that which lies be-



tween the parallels of 40 degrees and 43 degrees, extending west to the Rocky mountains."

   That this discerning pioneer should thus have foretold the future northern and southern boundaries of the state is more significant than remarkable for prescience when we consider that it is simply a reflection of the original Iowa idea. This was the original and persistently proposed northern boundary for the territory until, at the last moment, all that remained of the unorganized part of the Purchase was included. It was the boundary in the bills introduced by Douglas in 1844 and 1848, and of the bill of the Iowa senator (Dodge) in 1853 -- the bill which, as amended, was finally passed -- and the 40th parallel was the southern boundary in the bill of 1848. This boundary had been fixed by the united desire or judgment of the bordering promoters of organization, and in accordance with the reasons given by the Iowa statesman already freely quoted. This forecast indicates that Mr. Clark was, to some extent, familiar with what had gone before; and his judgment as to the desirable and probable location of the coming state was confirmed by its projectors.
   That report, written and published before civil government in Nebraska was six months old, and when most of the people of the United States who had thought about the subject at all believed that the construction of a railroad from the Missouri river across the Plains and through the Rocky mountains to the Pacific coast was an impossibility, is a notable piece of economic and industrial faith, if not of foresight.
   Acting Governor Cuming delivered the first executive message to a joint meeting of the two houses in the chamber of the house of representatives at three o'clock in the afternoon of the first day's session .4 As might be expected of a man so able and of such positive parts, the message was comprehensive and well composed, and for the greater part direct, concise, and incisive; and as might be expected in one so young -- he was only twenty-six -- it not only had the unnecessary and at least now quite unusual appendage of a peroration, but this peroration was grandiloquent indeed. When it is considered that no other executive message since delivered in this commonwealth, except that of the ripe statesman, Governor Richardson, equals this first one -- the composition of an inexperienced boy -- in point of saying what should be said and saying it well, we readily overlook the final efflorescence.
   The temporary governor bespeaks for the expected permanent executive, Governor Izard, the blending of "a dignified disinterestedness with an appreciated efficiency . . well befitting the chief magistrate of the largest commonwealth of freemen within the limits of the Union or the world." Our appreciation of the unerring western apotheosis of mere size is heightened by the reflection that this physically greatest of all the territories, past or present, was the least of all in population. It is significant that the first recommendation of this first Nebraska message was in favor of a memorial to Congress in behalf of the construction of the Pacific railway up the valley of the Platte. The governor suggested that the legislature in its memorial should "urgently if not principally ask" for a preliminary provision for telegraphic and letter mail communication with the Pacific, and that for its protection parties of twenty dragoons, should be stationed at stockades twenty or thirty miles apart. Councilman Clark's committee report in favor of a Pacific railway and by the Platte route was an elaboration of the governor's recommendation. The legislature, was reminded that in the enactment of a code of laws and the establishment of public institutions, it had the benefit of an ample fund of experience treasured by neighboring states. The recommendation of the enactment of general incorporation laws was wise but unheeded. The governor also recommended that voluntary military companies be organized for protection against the Sioux, Ponca, and other Indians.

    ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNOR IZARD. Mr. Izard, United States marshal, who had been in Washington, we may believe with an eye to

   4 Records Nebraska Territory, p. 40.



promotion to the governorship, returned to Omaha on the 20th of February, and his arrival was formally announced to the two houses of the legislature by Secretary Cuming on that day, and on the same day the secretary presented him to a joint meeting of the houses, when he delivered a passable speech, as governor's speeches go, and which might be excused for its lack of much else by its plethora of reference to "sovereigns," "the principles of popular sovereignty," and "the sovereignty of the people."
   The new governor had taken the oath of office December 23, 1854, in the city of Washington, before Judge John A. Campbell, as-

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First United States marshal and second governor of Nebraska territory

sociate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He resided at Mt. Vernon, Francis county, Arkansas, and his appointment was due to the influence of Senator Sebastian of that state. The Helena (Arkansas Star in noticing his appointment admitted that he was "riot endowed with shining talents," and the governor's Nebraska contemporaries still living are not heard to dissent from the admission. He was doubtless a fair sample of the overplus of the mass of aspirants for place with which southern dispensers of patronage must have been infested, and for whom, in the emergency, such long-distance provision must be made. Since Secretary



Cuming, a quasi-resident, was himself an aspirant for the office in question, we may presume that his sympathetic reference -- in introducing his successful rival to the legislature -- to the carpet-bagger's "long and toilsome journey" in reaching Nebraska was not innocent of malicious irony. Izard was scarcely competent to properly perform the duties of his office. His short career gave evidence of this, no less than the implied admission of his friends when they said he "meant well."
   Governor Izard was not inclined to miss a chance to distinguish himself as a maker of state papers; so he gave himself the benefit of the doubt whether a second message was called for, and delivered one to the two houses February 27th. He had discovered his lack of discretion and sense of propriety in his address of the 20th in saying that "in the discharge of my official duties as your chief executive I shall endeavor to carry out the wishes of the national administration." In his message to the all but sovereign legislature he betrayed his ignorance of the limitations of the province of the executive by expressing regret that he was not "sufficiently familiar with the progress already made to indicate a course of policy for the government of your future action." He recommended in the message the adoption of the code of Iowa for temporary purposes, "as a large portion of our citizens at present are from that state, and are more or less familiar with its system"; that provision be made for all local officers to be elected by the people; that the interest of settlers on lands they had occupied, not yet surveyed under the act of Congress of July 22, 1854, be treated as taxable property; and he followed Acting Governor Cuming in wisely urging general instead of special legislation as far as possible. These first legislators were true to their type in that practical politics was their first care; and house file No. 1, offered January 18th, by Robertson of Burt county, was a joint resolution as follows:

   Resolved, That we herewith endorse the principles enunciated in the bill organizing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska; that we rejoice that the geographical line between the northern and southern states has been erased, leaving the people of every state and territory free to control their domestic institutions; and that we commend the firm and patriotic course of the men, without distinction of party, who have aided in establishing the sound constitutional principles of the compromise of 1850, and
   Resolved, furthermore, that we pledge ourselves to oppose any unfair discriminations, such as those of the late Missouri compromise, but to protect and defend the rights of the states and the union of states, and to advance and perpetuate the doctrine of popular sovereignty.

   LOCATION OF THE CAPITAL. The momentous contest of the session was opened by the introduction of bills for the location of the seat of government. The contest has raged at intervals from that time to this. On the 24th of January a bill was introduced in the council by Richardson of Douglas county, and the following day Latham of Cass introduced a similar bill in the house. A motion by Nuckolls to insert the words "Plattsmouth of Cass county" in the council bill carried 7 to 6. A motion by Clark of Dodge to insert the name of Bellevue lost. Richardson succeeded in having the bill referred to the committee on public buildings. The Latham bill left blanks in the bill to be filled in relative to the location. A motion by Kempton, to insert Plattsmouth, lost, as did a motion to insert Brownsville, and a similar motion to name Omaha. Latham later renewed his motion to name Plattsmouth, but the motion lost by a tie vote, and Poppleton, the general in the house for Omaha, finally renewed his motion which carried, and the bill was sent to the council.
   In the council Mitchell moved to insert Plattsmouth instead of Omaha, but Richardson procured its reference to the committee of the whole as a substitute by a vote of 7 to 6, and then secured its postponement for two days. In the meantime, Mitchell had seen a sign and withdrew, upon the first opportunity, his motion to name Plattsmouth, and moved to locate the capital about two and one-half miles north of Omaha; then Richardson gave



notice that upon some future day he would make Mitchell sole commissioner to locate the capital buildings, and Mitchell withdrew his last amendment. Richardson's task was now easy and, in spite of Bennet's dilatory tactics, the bill was passed by a vote of 7 to 6, Mitchell's vote having changed from Plattsmouth to Omaha.
   After the location had finally been made, charges of bribery were frequent in the press of that day. The Palladium did not fail to credit Mr. Poppleton with efficiently following up Cuming's primary work. Nevertheless the governor had virtually located the capital, and was to be a very great factor in locating it actually. And thus it occurred that Thomas B. Cuming was the founder of Omaha.
   The Bellevue of today, in size and condition, illustrates the truth that mere righteousness and beauty are not in the reckoning against western hustle with all that it implies. The original missionary's residence and the building which was occupied by the Indian agency are still standing; the first on the edge of the plateau immediately overlooking the river. The walls are a concrete of mortar and small stones, and the house is rectangular in shape, two stories in height with a veranda extending between the two stories along the entire eastern or river front, thus commanding a magnificent view of the river valley and the distant bluffs and groves on the Iowa side. A hall extends from east to west across the middle of the house. The mission house itself was long since removed. The first church (Presbyterian) and the residences of Chief Justices Fenner Ferguson and Augustus Hall are still standing and in use. The natural townsite of Bellevue comprises a level plateau of about three thousand acres in the angle between the Missouri river and Papillion creek. It rises on the north to a high hill which seems to have been especially designed by nature for the capitol of the commonwealth; but though selfish and shortsighted man has disposed where God so magnificently proposed, still the eminence is fittingly crowned by the main building of Bellevue college.
   The journal of the council tells us that "Mr. Richardson (of Douglas county) nominated Mr. Sharp of Richardson county for president of the council, whereupon, on motion of Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Sharp was declared duly elected." This is suggestive that both sides in the capital contest depended upon Sharp, and that he was ready to disappoint either. Surviving contemporaries of these men and times insist that Sharp agreed for a valuable consideration to support Omaha in the capital struggle, and that, mistrusting him, the consideration was recovered through strategy by an emissary of Omaha (A. J. Hanscom). Though Sharp appears to have favored Omaha interests in the appointment of committees of the council, he for some reason lost interest in the cause of Omaha, and afterward voted against locating the capital there.
   On the 5th of February, after the capital campaign had ended in triumph for Omaha, friends and beneficiaries in the council moved resolutions vouching for the uprightness and purity of motive, and commending the efficiency of the Napoleonic leader in so rapidly organizing the territory -- the first, doubtless because it was felt that he needed it, and the second because he really deserved it. A resolution declaring the right of the council to inquire into the acts of public officers, and another declaring explicitly that the several acts of Acting Governor Cuming in the organization of the territory were proper subjects of investigation by a committee, had been rejected January 24th. Mr. Bennet now insisted that the vote of confidence could not be properly awarded in the face of the denial of the investigation; but after a fierce fight the resolution was carried by a vote of 8 to 5. Those voting nay were Bennet, Bradford, and Cowles of Pierce, Mitchell of Washington, and Nuckolls of Cass. We find Mitchell's enmity or conviction unabated by his capital commissionership, and the Palladium's perfidious Sharp, in this instance, in the enemy's camp.

   LAWS OF THE FIRST SESSION. Council file No. 1 was a joint resolution by Richardson providing that the style of the laws should be as follows: "Be it enacted by the council and house of representatives of the territory of



Nebraska." Mr. Rogers would have it amended into this more democratic fashion: "Be it enacted by the people of the territory of Nebraska in general assembly convened," but his amendment failed and both houses passed Richardson's resolution.
   The enactments of the first legislature were classified in eight parts. The first part was intended as a complete civil code, and was appropriated from the code of Iowa. The second comprised laws of a general nature prepared by the legislature itself. The third was the criminal code, also appropriated from the Iowa code. The fourth located and established territorial roads. The fifth defined the boundaries and located, or provided for the location of county seats. The sixth incorporated industrial companies and towns, or cities rather. The seventh incorporated bridge and ferry companies, and authorized the keeping of ferries and the erection of bridges. The eighth consisted of joint resolutions adopted at the session.
   The first enactment, in part second, as arranged in the statute, provided for taking another census to be completed by October 11, 1855, for a new apportionment of members of the house of representatives, and the time when annual elections should be held and the legislature should convene. The second prohibited the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors in the territory. H. P. Downs of Nebraska City took the first step in a prohibition movement in Nebraska when he obtained eighty signatures, besides his own, of people of the town named, to a petition for a "prohibitory liquor law," and lodged it in the council. The petition was presented by Mr. Bradford on the 6th of February, and was referred to the judiciary. committee. On the 9th of February Mr. Rogers of that committee made the following unique report:

   Your committee, to whom was referred the Petition of H. P. Downs and eighty others, praying for a prohibitory law against traffic in intoxicating drinks, and against licensing dram shops and other drinking houses, report:
   That in their opinion, where the people are prepared and public sentiment sufficiently in favor of a prohibitory law to fully sustain and enforce it, such a law would be productive of the best results to the community.
   That in the opinion of this committee, the traffic in intoxicating drinks is a crime, and they would be unwilling to legalize this crime by the solemn sanction of a law granting license for its commission. They are unwilling to elevate to respectability by legal sanction any trade or traffic that tends to demoralize [the] community, retard the progress of education, impoverish the people, and impose on the sober and industrious part of [the] community, without their consent, a tax which must necessarily be incurred to take care of paupers and criminals manufactured by the traffic.
   They are unwilling to make a traffic creditable the evil effects of which do not stop by besotting (sic) and bankrupting the heads of families, but which cause hunger, shame, distress and poverty to be imposed with tenfold severity upon the innocent wife and children of their families. As much, however, as we may be in favor of a prohibitory law until [the] community by petition or otherwise may fully manifest their determination to sustain such a law ----5 S. E. ROGERS.

   Some Features of the New Laws. The: revenue law required the auditor to distribute the territorial expense authorized to be paid out of the territorial treasury according to the assessment rolls, which were to be transmitted to him by the judges of probate of the several counties. The probate judges levied the taxes, and the sheriffs were at once the assessors and tax collectors. The sheriff was also coroner of his county. A register of deeds was provided.
   The supreme court consisted of a chief justice and two associates, who were to hold a term annually at the seat of government. In accordance with the organic act, the legislature divided the territory into three districts, and fixed the times and places of holding court therein. A judge of the supreme court presided over each of these districts.
   The act regulating elections named the first Tuesday in November, 1855, and on the same day thereafter every second year, as the time for the election of a delegate to

   5 Here the report, Council Journal, p. 52, breaks off short. Thus prohibition in Nebraska was born in Nebraska City, and was afterwards legitimized and was a law of Nebraska, though little enforced, until 1858, when it was repealed by a license act.

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