Letter/IconHE first territorial democratic ticket was nominated by the convention held at Plattsmouth, August 18, 1859. General Leavitt L. Bowen of Sarpy county called the convention to order. Mills S. Reeves of Otoe was elected temporary chairman and John W. Pattison, the early journalist of Omaha but at this time of Dodge county, temporary secretary. Silas A. Strickland of Sarpy was permanent chairman, and Abel D. Kirk of Richardson, Merrill H. Clark of Douglas, and John W. Pattison of Dodge were permanent secretaries. According to the report of the committee on credentials, delegates were present from all of the twenty-four counties represented in the apportionment law of the preceding general assembly.
   The following special resolution was offered and adopted:

   Resolved, That to carry out the object set forth in resolution number five of the resolutions adopted by this convention, it is necessary that a special session of the general assembly of Nebraska territory be called for the purpose of authorizing the people to form a constitution preparatory to admission into the union as a state; and we recommend to his excellency, Governor Black, to call a special session of the general assembly for that purpose at such time as to him may seem proper.
   The chief interest of the convention centered in the choice of a candidate for delegate to Congress; and though Dr. Miller had won his home county -- Douglas -- in a contest with Estabrook, the latter was taken up by the convention and nominated on the ninth ballot.
   The first territorial convention which may fairly be called republican met in the school house at Bellevue, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon, August 24, 1859.
   Mr. Daily was on motion declared the unanimous nominee of the convention, and in a speech he said that he was not a candidate of any section. Thayer and Bennet promised to support the nominee of the convention. John H. Kellom of Douglas county was nominated for school commissioner, Henry W. De Puy for auditor, James Sweet for treasurer, and Oscar F. Davis for librarian.
   Orsamus H. Irish, who led the "peoples party" delegation from Otoe county, strongly objected to acquiescence in the Philadelphia platform, and the convention was by no means harmonious.
   Though manned by the leading republicans of the territory this convention stealthily if not sagaciously declined to denominate itself as republican, and it christened its nominations the people's territorial ticket. Its declarations of principles were as many-sided as its name was equivocal. It sought comprehensively to embrace all "those citizens of Nebraska who disapprove the policy of the national government during the last six years." Its demand for a homestead law, for a Pacific railroad, and for statehood, and its denunciation of the slave trade paralleled declarations on the like subjects in the democratic platform, while its heroic expression of devotion to popular sovereignty outran that of its rival, until at the end it was emasculated by th. saving clause, "subject to the regulations of Congress."
   In the principal counties the democrats nominated straight legislative and local tickets, while the opposition was called fusion or independent. The democrats elected their entire territorial ticket by a majority of about 400, and two-thirds of the members of the house of representatives. The council elected the



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year before being democratic, that party was again completely in-the saddle. The canvass of Daily and Estabrook was energetic. Estabrook's advantage in education and legal and political experience was more than set off by Daily's natural ability. In edge and staying power Daily was something of a diamond, but in the rough, and his forcefulness was not impeded by delicate moral scrupulousness. At the beginning of the canvass -- September 10th -- the News said of him: "We are only giving general circulation to a plain, unvarnished truth when we state that Mr. D. ranks among the most illiterate of republicans," and he won the sobriquet of "Skisms" by the reassuring statement in a speech at Nebraska City, just after his nomination, that his party, unlike the Democratic party, was united and free from "skisms" (schisms). The witty Irish editor of Dakota county observed that: "Daily is such a black republican that to call him an abolitionist rather improves his color." By accident or design Daily gained a material advantage over his opponent by his opposition to annexation. When Estabrook began to make capital charges against him in the North Platte by charging that he was a member of the Brownville annexation convention and there favored the scheme, his South Platte organ retorted that on the contrary he had made a very strong speech in the convention against annexation, and that as a delegate from Nemaha county he had voted for it under instructions but also under protest.
   In political contests both sides still continued to depend upon illegal votes, and an important feature of every election was a race for irregular returns, with the advantage of course on the side of the democrats, who were the final judges. The territorial board of canvassers, consisting of Governor Black, Chief Justice Hall, and Leavitt L. Bowen, United States attorney for the territory, found 300 majority for Estabrook and gave him the certificate of election. But if the democratic candidate had any advantage in this beginning his opponent could count on at least an equal advantage in the end -- at the hands of the now republican House to which his appeal would lie.
   On the 27th of October Daily made a lengthy public demand for the certificate of election, setting forth in particular that the 292 votes of Buffalo county, all returned for Estabrook, were invalid because that county had never been organized. Daily hinted that there were fraudulent returns from properly organized counties, but conceded that under the laws the territorial canvassers could not revise returns from such counties. He knew that the elections committee of Congress would take care of that part of his case. Though there was no minority report from the committee, the declaration that the report was unanimous, and that, "even Gartrell of Georgia, a democrat of the strictest sort, was compelled to join in condemning them (the election frauds) by such a report," was incorrect. Though Mr. Gartrell, who did most of the talking for Estabrook at the hearing before the House, had voted in committee, on the evidence it had, to oust Estabrook, he complained that no opportunity of seeing the report was offered him until the day when it was under discussion in the House. The republicans of the House, led by Mr. Campbell of Pennsylvania, who represented the majority of the elections committee, and Mr. Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts insisted on pushing the question to a vote on the showing of the committee, while the southern democrats asked for delay so that Estabrook might offer some evidence on his side. Mr. Dawes stated that Estabrook "omitted entirely to take any testimony on the subject simply because, as he says, he supposed the contestant had made a blunder which would be fatal to his case, and that he could not have a hearing on his testimony."
   The committee found that Buffalo county had not been organized and that the election was therefore invalid; that 238 of the 292 votes returned were cast, if at all, at Kearney City, situated on the south side of the Platte river, which stream was the southern boundary of the county as defined by the act of the legislature authorizing its organization; and that "the proof is that there are not over eight houses and not exceeding fifteen residents at Kearney City." The entire vote of



Buffalo county was therefore rejected. The thirty-two votes of Calhoun county -- twenty-eight for Estabrook and four for Daily -- were rejected because, the county not being organized, but attached to Platte county for election purposes, those in charge of the election there should have sent returns to the clerk of Platte county; while instead they were sent direct to the governor. The committee also found that the whole voting population of the county did not exceed six. So the vote of Calhoun was thrown out. The twenty-four votes of Izard county -- twenty-one for Estabrook and three for Daily -- were rejected because there were no voters at all in the county. The twenty-three votes of Genoa precinct, Monroe county --all but three for Estabrook -- were rejected because that precinct was within the Pawnee reservation. Sixty-eight of the one hundred and twenty-eight votes of L'eau-qui-court county were rejected because the committee concluded that there were not more than sixty voters in the county. There were thus subtracted 429 from Estabrook's total of 3,100 votes, leaving him 2,671. Daily lost ten of his original 2,800 and was left with 2,790, or 119 majority.
   The committee on elections were no doubt technically right in finding that the attempt of Governor Black to organize Buffalo county by appointing the county officers himself was invalid; but since it appears by their finding that there had been an informal election of the officers, it may be inferred that the wish of the committee stood in close relationship to their thought. A legally formal election on the Nebraska frontier in the '50s was about as rare and impracticable as a social function with Parisian manners in the same region. The act creating Hall county specifically authorized the governor to appoint the first county officers, and Black, without authority, seems to have imitated the like action of Acting Governor Morton a few months before.

   The legislature at the last session passed an act to organize the county of Hall, and Hon. J. Sterling Morton, acting governor, has judiciously appointed and commissioned the following officers for said county: Probate judge, Richard C. Barnard; sheriff, Hermann Vasold; recorder, Theodore F. Nagel; treasurer, Joshua Smith; justices of the peace, William A. Hagge, Isaac Thomas; constables, George Schultz, Christian Menck; county commissioners, Frederick Hedde, Daniel B. Crocker, Hans Vieregg. The name of "Hall" was given to this county as a compliment to Chief Justice Hall.

   Then follows this interesting descriptive paragraph:

    Grand Island City is the county seat of Hall county, and is situated forty miles west of Columbus. It is the extreme western settlement of Nebraska and is surrounded by a thrifty, intelligent farming population. The country about it is upland bottom, very fertile, and timbered and watered. Grand Island itself is seventy-five miles in length, and averages four miles in width, being heavily timbered with oak, hickory, cottonwood, and red cedar.
   Then comes this prophecy -- in those inexperienced times little more substantial that, the stuff that dreams are made of, but which nevertheless has already all come true:

    Hall county is destined to be one of the richest and most thickly settled counties in Nebraska, located as it is in the fertile valley of the Platte and on the great highway between Omaha and the Pacific.
   And next comes the inevitable political appreciation:

    Governor Morton has been peculiarly fortunate in the selection of his officers, and we know they give entire satisfaction, and are heartily endorsed by the people of Hall county. They are men of sterling integrity and sound democrats, and have long resided in our territory.
   If the names of these officers are a criterion, our early foreign immigrants must have been quick to appreciate the advantages of Hall county.
   The opposition freely charged fraud in the Daily vote, and especially in Richardson and Pawnee counties. The growing feeling on the slavery question is reflected by the contemporary press:

   Our worst apprehensions, we fear, have been more than realized with regard to illegal voting in Pawnee, Richardson and the entire lower tier of counties. The delectable leaders of the fever-heated and blood-hot abolitionists of Falls City, an interior, seven by nine



town near the Kansas line in Richardson county, that supports a half dozen whisky shops, an equal number of dilapidated dwelling-houses and one horse taverns, boasted that they could "import" all the voters they wanted from Kansas. This is the celebrated town founded by Jim Lane, and peopled by him with a scurvy horde of rapscallions fresh from the "sands" of Chicago and the Five Points of New York, as he was on his way to the memorable invasion of Kansas. Is it to be wondered that in a democratic county such a town within a stone's throw of the Kansas line, should cast for the republican candidate for congress one hundred and forty-three votes out of one hundred and seventy-two? The town could legitimately cast perhaps seventy-five votes.
   Every intelligent man at all conversant with politics in Richardson county knows that that county is democratic by at least two hundred majority. Yet the democratic candidate for congress gets barely thirty-nine majority. Pawnee county out of one hundred and forty-six votes gives the democratic candidate barely twenty-two votes. Does any one doubt that the Kansas abolitionists have played their high game of fraud and illegal voting?
   The Dakota City Herald made a statement in regard to the Buffalo county part of the case, which, while it may have been colored by partisanship, yet throws an interesting light on the facts and conditions pertaining to the elections of that year:

   The Republican papers say that there were frauds perpetrated in Fort Kearney and L'Eau Qui Court county, both which places gave Estabrook a goodly number of votes; the former yielding him 292 majority and the latter 128. On the other hand it is charged that he republicans polled a large number of illegal votes in Douglas, Richardson, Pawnee, Clay and Gage . . . The Omaha Republican says that not fifty legal voters reside in the two counties of Hall and Buffalo. Had we not known that this statement was, to say the least, incorrect, it might have passed for what it purported to be in this part of Nebraska; but having visited Fort Kearney several times during the past three years, we know from personal knowledge that there are more than fifty legal voters there. At no time we were there was there less than three times that amount. As voters, whether they might be termed "legal" or not we leave others to judge. They were chiefly government teamsters, herders, employees about the fort, Majors, Russell & Waddell's employees, sutlers and their clerks, trappers, traders, and a few gamblers. Last spring it would be safe to say there were three thousand voters at the fort, including those a few miles above and below. We know several who became discouraged at the report from the mines, but determined not to go back. One party went and settled on the Little Blue; another crowd laid off a town six or eight miles below the fort. A number of others went a few miles above to fashion a city and called it after an illustrious Pole. The probability is there are a large number of persons there, and that they have daily increased since spring. While we state these as matters of fact, we do not say there were no illegal votes polled. Indeed, it would be strange if there were not, when it is charged that in the city of Omaha, in the face of the law, and despite the vigilance of the sentinels of both parties, a negro cast a democratic vote and ten citizens of Iowa who were just passing through the town on their way home, voted for Daily. We do say, however, that in the absence of proof to the contrary, we accept and believe the 292 majority for Estabrook to be all right. Now for L'Eau Qui Court. We never were in that county, nor any nearer to it than Dakota City, and cannot speak by authority. But what strikes us as strange is this fact: that county is represented to be republican. They elected a republican county ticket and gave Judge Taffe, a republican, a large majority over Judge Roberts, democrat, for float representative. Being of the conservative kind, and not having their republican belief tinctured with abolitionism, they voted for Estabrook to a man. Since the election not one of these republicans has breathed a breath of "fraud," nor anyone else that we know of, nearer than the Republican office at Omaha.
   Daily was declared entitled to his seat without a roll call, May 18, 1860. It is not likely that Estabrook's blunder in not offering any contradictory testimony would have changed the result. There was a richer field for irregularities in his section of the territory than in Daily's, and so it would have been difficult, and probably impossible for him to overcome this natural presumption against himself before a more or less prejudiced committee and house. After the certificate had been given to Estabrook by the territorial canvassers conservative opinion was averse to a contest on this ground: "One great reason why so little has heretofore been secured for Nebraska is that she has never yet had a delegate so situ-

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