Letter/Iconhile the sessions of the legislature -- what they might or might not do, and chiefly in reference to sectional questions -- were still the chief topics of public interest, they were becoming less exclusively so; and in the interval between the fifth and sixth sessions, consideration of land sales, the territorial fair, state government, party organizations and conventions, and the annexation of the South Platte section to Kansas afforded busy and healthful diversion, and the attempt to sustain some view of these important subjects served to strengthen the wings of a strenuous but still fledgling press. The newspapers boomed the gold mines for the sake of the resulting advantage of the traffic thereto across the Plains, and commendation of the route starting from their town and depreciation of the others by the journals respectively of Omaha, Nebraska City, and Brownville, in point of energy and glowing headlines, are the reminders if not the full prototype of the present-day yellow journalism.

   SALE OF THE PUBLIC LANDS. Sale of the public lands, which had been fought off, as we have seen, by heroic spirit and effort, was now accepted without remonstrance, not because it was desired by the settlers, but rather because it was regarded as inevitable. The sale was advertised to take place at Nebraska City August 1st to 29th; at Omaha, July 5th to 25th; at Dakota, July 18th, and at Brownville, August 8th and September 5, 1859. The sales were confined to specific townships north of the base line and east of the 6th meridian, the Sac and Fox and the half-breed reservations being excepted.

    THE HALF-BREED TRACT. By the treaty of Prairie du Chien, July 15, 1830, what is known as the half-breed reservation, in Richardson county, was set aside for the "Omaha, loway, Ottoe, Yancton, and Santee Sioux half-breeds." The reservation was surveyed as early as 1837 and 1838, and the western line was retraced in 1855. As defined by the treaty, the reservation was bounded on the east by the Missouri river, on the north by the Little Nemaha, and on the west by a line starting from a point on the Little Nemaha ten miles from its mouth, on a direct line, the stream last named being the boundary line from the ten mile point to the mouth at the Missouri river.

   It was later found that a mistake had been made, and a resurvey was ordered by Joseph S. Wilson, acting commissioner for Thomas A. Hendricks, and all lines of the former survey were obliterated. A portion of the land included in the former survey was accordingly offered for sale, and after the territorial organization, settlers and speculators occupied the lands up the line of the former survey. The new survey threw a considerable tract of the settled land inside the reserve. The ambitious town of Archer, the first county seat of Richardson county, was a mile inside the reserve. The white claimants of the land between the new line and the old, induced Fenner Ferguson, then delegate to Congress, to procure the passage of a bill arbitrarily adopting the old survey as the western boundary of the reserve. The motive of the champions of the bill was impugned in the House and a lively debate ensued. In the meantime, the Missouri river had cut away some twenty thousand acres.



   THE APPOINTMENT OF GOVERNOR BLACK. Judge Samuel W. Black was appointed governor of the territory in February, 1859, and assumed the office on the 2d of the following May, Secretary Morton having been acting governor since the departure of Governor Richardson, December 5, 1858. The appointment was gratifying to the people because the new governor was popular, but more because their home rule sentiment was gratified. Black's three predecessors had all been importations, or rather exportations from far-distant states, and though he had been sent from Pennsylvania as judge of the second judicial district in 1857, yet there was a popular feeling that he had become identified

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The above engraving is made from a recent photograph taken from a point looking north and east, showing the Missouri river in the background and the south and west surface of the monument, with "40o N. Lat." in relief letters on the west side and "Kansas" on the south. The figure standing by the monument is that of Mr. John Wright, staff artist of the Morton History.

with the commonwealth. Indeed, comparatively, he was an old citizen, and there been a popular call for his appointment through the newspapers; and there was "great rejoicing on the part of the entire press of the territory over the appointment." The Nebraska City News, "the first to raise the name of Black for governor," feels particularly jubilant and happy. "His brilliant talents, his legal learning, his quick, active and sagacious intellect, his generous impulses and noble soul have endeared him to us -- to the whole territory." Evidently Morton was not looking over Milton Reynolds's editorial shoulder that day. For Black had a besetting sin, very common, it is true, among the politicians, and



even those who held the high places of that time, but in his case a serious clog to usefulness. Later -- April 16th -- the News copies with great show of indignation the following animadversion of the Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune of March 8th:

   "The opposition to the confirmation of Mr. Black as governor of Nebraska was on the ground that he was too intemperate. This was about two months ago. Ever since that time he has been in this city illustrating the truth of


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From photographs by John Wright, staff artist of the Morton History.



the charges against him, and is at the present time reduced to a sad condition." The raging News is soon to drive this comparatively mild-mannered newsmonger and utterer of "base and malicious lies, manufactured solely for the benefit of the black republican party," entirely off the field by its own unbridled charges along the same line.

   FIRST TERRITORIAL FAIR. The first Nebraska territorial fair was held at Nebraska City, beginning Wednesday, September 21st,



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[NOTE -- J. N. H. Patrick was quartermaster of Nebraska volunteers, 1861. He served four terms in the Nebraska state legislature from Douglas county.]



and lasting three days. Mr. Furnas, president of the first board of agriculture, gives the following account of this important function:

    Last week we attended the first Territorial Agricultural and Mechanical Fair at Nebraska City. The result of this, not only the first Nebraska Territorial Fair, but the first Territorial Fair ever held in the United States, was most gratifying. It was a perfect success, when we take everything into consideration. The times are hard, and many at a distance felt that they could not incur the expense of attending. The regular steamboat packets were all out of order -- one sunk, and the other fast on a sand bar -- and going to and fro in that way cut off; we are in the midst of election excitement, and everybody thinking and talking politics. Taking everything into consideration, we repeat, the result was all the most sanguine friends of the enterprise could expect . . .
   The exhibition of stock, farm products, mechanism, works of art, etc., were creditable indeed. Of course there was not that variety to be found in the county or state fair in the states. What there was, however, was unsurpassed anywhere. The attendance on the last two days especially was large -- all classes were there, from the chief executive to the humblest citizen.
   The records show that neither the president nor the orator of the occasion was a pretender, but that both had experimental knowledge of agriculture. Mr. A. D. Jones, of the board of agriculture, in his invitation to Morton to deliver the address, assures him that he is eminently qualified to edify an audience of practical agriculturists by reason of his position as a successful agriculturist," and in the list of premiums awarded we find these entries: Blooded horses, J. S. Morton, best stallion over four years old, $4; and again, best stallion for draught over four years old, $10; and still again, best Suffolk boar, one year old, $5; and President Furnas is credited with three first premiums for Devon cattle. But the most notable feature of the fair was, or rather is, the address by J. Sterling Morton. It was delivered, as President Furnas states in his introduction of the speaker, "from the improvised rostrum of a farm wagon, placed in the shade of this native oak tree." The address is important because it is a history of the first eventful formative five years of the territory -- a remarkably realistic and lucid history by an active, keen-eyed participant in the events he pictures -- and because it brings us for the first time face to face with a notable figure of the commonwealth. In his exaltation of the home builder the young man of twenty-seven forecasts a leading characteristic and channel of influence of his maturer manhood. The closing, or prophetic part of the address discloses the ability to "see straight and clear" and to believe accordingly, while others, of only ordinary vision, doubted or disbelieved.

   CHAPMAN-FERGUSON CONTEST. The regular biennial contest over the election of delegate to Congress was decided in favor of Ferguson, February 10, 1859, by a vote in the House of Representatives of 99 to 93. As in the Bennet-Chapman contest, the elections committee had reported in favor of seating Chapman, the contestant, by a vote of 6 to 2. The majority found that the total vote of Florence, as returned by the canvassers, was 401, of which Ferguson had received 364 and Chapman 4, and that this vote should be thrown out entirely, insisting that it was greatly inflated, and that a year later it was only one-third as large -- 159. Making some additional changes in minor precincts, they gave Chapman a majority of 376. The minority consented to throw out only 15 votes, which had been received at Florence after the hour for closing the polls, and, contending that only 159 votes had been counted by the canvassers for Florence, gave Ferguson 34 majority. The territorial board of canvassers had given Ferguson 1,654 and Chapman 1,597. While the final vote does not show a division along party lines, yet there was a leaning toward Ferguson on the part of the most pronounced republicans, and on the part of the leading democrats toward Chapman. The three famous Washburne brothers - Elihu of Illinois, Cadwallader of Wisconsin, and Israel of Maine -- already all republicans, voted to seat Ferguson; and Israel, who, with Boyce

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