ADVANCEMENT AND PROMISES.
PREPARED AND COMPILED BY
ROBT. W. FURNAS.
THE SCHOOL LAND LAWS,
Published by order of the Board of Educational Lands and Funds.
COMMISSIONER PUBLIC LANDS AND BUILDINGS.
JOURNAL COMPANY, STATE PRINTERS.
(Every Name Index)
A glance at the map will show at once the grand position which Nebraska holds at the centre of the continent, midway between the two great oceans of the world. The great extent of lands in the state, an area sufficient for an empire of itself, double the size of Ohio, and larger than all the New England states combined, offers great and varied advantages to those who look westward to-day for homes where they can find peace and profit, plenty and comfort, and those opportunities for social relations, schools, churches, and all those prized privileges which they enjoyed in the homes left behind, in the East. Ride over the western prairies to-day; stopping at the occasional sod cabin of the homesteader, and there will be found sure signs of a class of settlers who will make this a rich agricultural country, and are raising a rich crop of young men and women of whom any section of the country might be proud. These will soon direct the destinies of the great West. A great proportion of those coming west to-day are not pioneers. They have seen that life farther east, but want to find homes for their grown-up boys where they can commence farming at once without the labor of clearing away a forest. Here is one great advantage in making a start on the prairies. Immigration has always moved on the same parallels, and here it is seeking the great Golden Belt of the continent, so-called from its great capacity for grain producing.
It may certainly be classed as a prairie country, but not flat like that of Illinois. This is gently undulating, and one noticeable feature is the valleys in connection with the uplands, giving the settler a choice of any location he may desire. Lands can be had entirely suited for the plow, or those where farming and pasturage can be combined. High table lands for grain, with adjoining valleys where heavy crops of the finest hay can be cut, and where cattle and sheep can find both pasturage and protection in winter.
The growth in population, wealth, agricultural advancement, and all other essentials, are such as to warrant the assertion that Nebraska is the great western state of the very near future. A state only since 1867, a territory from 1854 to that date, her population is now over one million - happy, prosperous people. Her assessed valuation is over one hundred million. This is but about one-third the actual valuation. This wonderful development has been achieved by reason of rich soil, good climate, and favorable location, which have brought hither the best of settlers from the East and from the old world. Nebraska lies between parallels 40o and 43o north latitude, and 18o and 27o west longitude from Greenwich. The state is thus within the temperate belt; and thus its location is in the centre of the Union. The soil is alluvium or lacustrine, black and rich with organic matter, almost equally rich in the subsoil. Numerous rivers intersect the state; and the great proportion of the land is easily tilled. Where Nebraska is untilled, there belts of finest trees fringe the rivers; and the buffalo grass by a marvelous provision of nature is pasture all the year round. Therefore, in Nebraska the herdsman goes before the farmer; and the now far west of the state is a pasture land for enormous herds of cattle. Nebraska has grown as a state under the policy of the homestead law. It is for the farmer with moderate means who will farm well from 80 to 160 and 320 acres of land. Under these circumstances, the farmer who himself farms his own land is always pushing the herdsman further west. Up to the hundredth meridian, the farmer has mastered the land. Where he settles the buffalo grass disappears; and its place is more than filled by the blue joint and numerous other grasses, good for pasture and good for hay.
Taxes are low; public debts small. The total state debt is less than a half million of dollars. The state levy is a fraction over seven mills on the dollar.
In all parts of the state, the soil commends itself to the intelligent farmer.
The Rural New Yorker, a disinterested witness, speaking of the soil, says: "The finest garden mold in the state of New York is
not a whit better than the average Nebraska soil, which is light, free from stones, easily worked, and eminently productive."
To this, the American Agriculturist adds: "The whole of Nebraska is a country of unsurpassed fertility. The soil is from three to ten feet deep, the surface gently rolling, and the whole region intended by nature for the great production of cereals, which can be raised with less labor than in the old settled states, all the work being done by labor saving machinery. The farmer rides on his plow, corn planter, cultivator, mower and reaper, threshes his grain by steam, and can shell his corn and grind feed for his stock by wind power."
On the high prairies the land is a rich black mold, ten to thirty inches deep, underlaid with a yellowish formation known as the "loess," and from ten to one hundred feet in depth. Wherever this has been brought to the surface, in digging wells or cellars, after a short exposure it produces a plant growth equal to the surface soil. This underlies the whole of the state as far west as 300 miles. In the valleys the soil is rich and black, found often more than ten feet in depth, and underneath the same formation, which cannot be exhausted by ages of cultivation. Crops of corn have been grown for twenty years in succession without any failure in quantity or quality, without the use of any artificial fertilizers.
The large amount of silicia (sic) in the soil gives the advantage of natural drainage - absorbing water like a sponge, holding it until a time of drouth, and then sending it to the surface. On lands well cultivated there is rarely loss of crops if seasons are either wet or dry.
These lands need no artificial fertilizers, for ages of cultivation cannot exhaust them. Their versatility of production is wonderful. Wheat, rye, barley, corn, broom corn, buckwheat, sorghum, millet, Hungarian, peas, beans, all the vegetables of field and garden, and all the fruits and grasses known to the temperate zone flourish to perfection in this soil.
First settlements were made in 1855, the year following the passage of the "Kansas-Nebraska Act," and extinguishment of
the Indian title to lands. The increase of population since that time has been rapid.
At this date over one million.
The ratio of increase as compared with other States is:
310 per cent
The climate of the State is all the agriculturist could demand. The early opening of spring, when small grain and grass seeds can be sown when only two inches of frost is out; the late autumn when crops ripen slowly, securing the sure generation of the seeds; the usual mild winters are such that corn can be harvested at a season when in the East there is little work on the farm, are all of advantage to farmers. The winds from the west which pass over the snowy tops of the mountains bring their cool breezes over the great plains at harvest time, subduing the summer heat. The day may have been hot, but when the sun goes down the evening air is cool and brings refreshing sleep, a luxury to the tired workers not often enjoyed, except on the plains of the West. The winds sweep away any possible malaria, and the rare, invigorating, life-inspiring atmosphere leaves its impress on every
form of animal or vegetable life. The succession of work during the year is a gradual one, in which the farmer finds something to do during every month in the year, from grain growing in summer to grain feeding in winter.
Already, within our eighteen years of existence as a State, we are with more public institutions and well constructed buildings than any State before at our age. Educational - the State university and normal school. For the unfortunate - two asylums for the insane, schools for the blind and deaf and dumb, and feeble minded. For the safe keeping of the depraved and vicious - a State prison. For the incorrigible - a reform school. For the friendless - a home. All evidence of high standards in the line of civilization.
Taking all in all, no State in the Union has been so well served in its educational affairs, and has so favorable future for the very best advantages to its children for the very least taxation. It will be remembered that by provision of the enabling act one-eighteenth of the lands of the State were set apart for the endowment of common schools.
The aggregate in acres of this magnificent gift is 2,746,080. By the terms of the Constitution, none of this land can be sold at a price less than $7 an acre. Only a few hundred thousand acres have been disposed of up to the present time by sale. The amount realized from these sales in cash has been $1.160,267.30 The amount due on notes of purchasers, secured by the land itself and drawing 6 per cent interest, is about $3,112,542.56. About 953,638.19 acres of these lands have been leased for a term of years at an average valuation of $3 per acre, and a rental of 6 per cent, which represents the sum of $2,400,000, and an income for the temporary or available school fund of $160,91952. The total amount of the permanent school fund represented in cash, bonds, notes, and leases is therefore $6,173,988, producing an annual income of over $482,257.45 per annum. The permanent fund from
the sale of these lands can never be impaired under our Constitution, and the income from it can only be used in defraying the current expenses of the schools. When a school house is built, the money is raised by a direct tax.
Official documents show in Nebraska--
Paid teachers in wages
Value of school houses
Value of school sites
Value of school property in books, apparatus, etc.
Number of pupils who attend school
Average number of days' school in each district
Cost per pupil
$ 1 80
Total amount expended for educational purposes in 1884
The State University and Agricultural College, which under the act of 1869 are consolidated under one general management, have an endowment of 186,000 acres of land, only a small portion of which has been sold, but which is being leased very rapidly, and will bring in a constantly increasing revenue. The State Normal School is endowed with a grant of 12,500 acres of State lands, that were quite valuable, and the income derived from this source will eventually go a good ways in paying its expenses. From five to six hundred young men and women are in attendance at these institutions from term to term, and the advantages afforded for a higher education at the expense of the State are equal to those found in any section of the Union. The value of this endowment will be in the neighborhood of three and a half millions. So far as the limits of the Constitution will permit, the annual income of these funds will be from $60,000 to $200,000 by the year 1900.
Our State Library contains 25,000 volumes.
LANDS IN STATE ON WHICH TAXES ARE PAID.
Total No. acres land in State
LINCOLN CITY, THE CAPITAL.
The capital city, Lincoln, is a marked illustration of progress and development. The site of the city up to 1867 was a desert waste; to-day we have a city with a population of 20,000 to 25,000 enterprising, prosperous, indomitable, go-ahead people; a taxable valuation of from eight to ten million dollars; four national banks with a paid-up capital of near a million dollars, and deposits over two million, wholesale houses with an annual trade of six millions or more; manufactures showing a product, annually, of from two to three millions; fourteen churches, in which is invested $200,000; school houses and property valued at $135,000 gas, telephone, street railways, and water works under way, with numerous other excelsior characteristics.
Standing at the half-way point on the railway across the continent between the Atlantic and Pacific, and marking the line between the exclusively agricultural and the cattle ranges and mining regions of the United States, the city of Omaha is one possessing peculiar interest. For years the Missouri river was the western boundary of civilization, and the courageous soldiers, adventurous miners, and hardy pioneers who gathered at Omaha, then on the "overland trail," made it the starting point for many a historic enterprise. Stanley, the African explorer, was a newspaper correspondent quartered at this city. Lieut. Schwatka, the penetrator of the Arctic regions, was long stationed at Ft. Omaha, and George Francis Train figured here as a projector of the Union Pacific railway, before he went to London to introduce tramways. Being also a representative city of the North-
west, having neither the mushroom-like growth of a mining center, nor the slow development of the metropolis of a land of farms, it has attracted the attention of travelers. George Augusta Sala, on his journey four years ago, sojourned in Omaha for several days, and pronounced it a "juvenile but exceedingly promising city." Moody, the evangelist, denominated it "a new Chicago," and William Black, during his visit to friends in this city, several years ago, took notes for the location here of one of the climaxes of his novel, "Green Pastures and Piccadilly." That Omaha is a representative city, its history fully attests.
The population at Omaha, together with Council Bluffs, which is on the east side of the Missouri, and if properly called would be "East Omaha," and is now connected with Omaha by local trains of the U. P. R'y, is over 75,000, and with the addition of the proposed important business, within five years from the present date at least double, or 150,000, may be relied upon.
As showing partially the business of Omaha, the following statistics are presented:
Union Pacific Shops, probably the largest in the United States
Union Pacific R'y offices at Omaha B. & M. in Nebraska
The various other roads The Union Elevator, capacity 1,000,000 bushels
Boyd's Packing Rouse and Refinery, capacity 100 tierces of lard per day, slaughtering 1,500 hogs per day
The Omaha and Grant Smelting and Refining Co., capacity 150 tons of lead per day. Work night and day. The Omaha and Grant Company is the most extensive smelting and refining company in America. Some idea of the extent of business of the concern may be gained from the tact that the Omaha works did a business last year of $52,989 300. This does not include any of the business of the
Denver works During the last year the Omaha works constantly employed about 300 men, paid out $245,000 in wages and expended $30,000 in improvements. The metals-shipped during the year were,
STATISTICS OF THE WILLOW SPRINGS DISTILLERY CO.
Improvements, consisting principally of additions of new and improved machinery for cooking grain, new boilers, storehouse for cooperage stock, and two new hay barns, at the total cost of $20,000
Average number of men employed during year
6,750 tons coal
Same are made at distillery cooper shop, employing 20 coopers. Production, 1,400,000 gallons distilled spirits, of which about 100,000 gallons whiskey; 1,300,000 gallons Cologne spirits and alcohol.
The sales of the product aggregate the sum of $1,592,000, and the tax paid during the year on distilled spirits, withdrawn from the distillery warehouse, amounted to $1,217,700
Cattle: About 3,500 head of cattle were fed during the year in the distillery barn from the slop production by the distillery, which also consumed about 15,000 tons hay.
The White Lead Co. has a paid up capital of $90,000 and capacity for corroding 2,500 tons pig lead per year They have a liquid paint and color department, one of the largest in the West, and are preparing to increase their facilities
Harris & Fisher. This prosperous business was started by Mr. Robert Harris, in 1870 They have the largest retail butcher's business in Omaha. Are also packers of pork and beef, and have considerable canning works. Gross returns during 1883, $419,285
Sheeley & Co., pork packers, have a capacity for slaughtering 500 hogs per day
The Omaha Nail Works. Capacity, 500 kegs per day
There are a vast number of other works all doing a considerable trade, from whom returns have not been obtained.
The manufactories and works are all upon the line of some of the railroads. There are two first-class hotels, the Millard and the Paxton; Boyd's Opera House cost $125,000, and seats 1,700 people; most efficient water supply and works; a fine public library and law library; gas works; several miles of street railway.
There are now nine banks doing business in the city of Omaha, of which number six are national, one savings and two private. They all represent a paid in capital and surplus of $2,407,000, and their deposits aggregate $7,800,000.
The manufacturing interests of the city have been rapidly advanced during the past four years, until there is now employed as capital, by the various manufacturing companies, the sum of $3,200,000. This amount is represented in twenty-seven different industries, not including the large shops of the Union Pacific Railroad, which alone represent as large a sum.
The jobbing houses of Omaha have nearly doubled in number in live years, and on the 1st of January, 1884, there were forty-four wholesale houses in the city, including several large lumber yards, but not including a larger number of retail houses who also do some jobbing. There is, all told, rising one hundred and forty-seven business houses in the city who wholesale only, or partially. The aggregate capital now employed by the sixty-four jobbing houses referred to is three millions three hundred and sixty-four dollars - and the best estimate that can be obtained places their sales in dollars, for the year 1883, at from nine to nine and a half millions.
There are sixteen fine brick built school buildings, the valuation of which is $490,000. The cost of the High School building was $260,000. The number of teachers employed is ninety-six, together with the five teachers in the high school. There are twelve principals. The teachers' pay roll amounts to $6,700 per month. The daily attendance, 5,200; number of pupils in public schools, 5,600; number of school age in city, 8,921.
The Creighton College, a memorial college erected in memory of Mrs. Mary and Mr. Edward Creighton, cost $60,000, and has a
large attendance. Mr. Edward Creighton was one of the western or pioneer stock raisers, and left an enormous fortune and a munificent endowment for this institution; besides which is the Sacred Heart Convent, a magnificent structure just outside the limits of the city.
The three principal English newspapers are:
The Omaha Herald, with job printing office
The Omaha Republican, with job printing office
The Omaha Bee
As late as 1858, our nearest railroad connection was Quincy, Illinois, east, and St. Louis, south, requiring from five to ten days to reach. Now the trip is made in near as many hours. Then, twenty to thirty days by ox teams was required to reach "Pike's Peak," or "Cherry Creek," west; now twenty-three hours speed one from the Missouri river to Denver. Then, three hundred and sixty-five days - often more - were required for a trip overland to the Pacific coast. Now, seated in a Pullman palace car, as comfortable as by your parlor fireside, less than one hundred hours transports you from Omaha to San Francisco. Then the overland fast pony mail line conveyed letters to Denver and Salt Lake at best in five to ten days; to-day the simple click of a minute machine and your message is at either point named in less time than is required to indite it. April 1, 1884, we had in the State 2,685 miles operated railroads. At same date 4,687 miles telegraph, 1,954 of which is not operated by railroads.
Railroads in Nebraska, unlike in most other states and territories, were pioneers. They lead off, as it were, reaching out into unoccupied, uninhabited regions. Settlements and civilization followed, and with wonderful well known results.
Manufacturing interests are receiving more attention, and the great opportunities for the profitable investment of capital are being realized. Flouring mills, creameries, woolen mills, packing houses, etc., are increasing in number, but to keep pace with the increase of production of the raw material, more of these institutions are needed. An able writer says: "Here is Nebraska, the centre of the finest agricultural region between the two oceans, to furnish an almost illimitable market for the leading articles of manufacture, surrounded with immeasurable resources in crude materials, possessing a splendid railway system, offering through these means the highest inducements to manufacturing capital, skill, and experience. And the tendency is clearly this way. Manufacturers are steadily working westward toward and into their great market field, nor will the movement cease until the great interest of manufacturing and agricultural production are working harmoniously upon common ground."
At the date of the issue of this pamphlet, the editor was able to obtain reports from only a few of the more important points in the State. The following will give an imperfect idea of what the young State is doing outside of agriculture proper:
Since the first settlements, made in 1854, there have been planted forest trees, in Nebraska, 244,356 acres, or 605,514,168 trees, all of which are growing and in prosperous condition
The following actual measurement of tree growths, of known ages, are made, showing circumference in inches, two feet above ground
Kentucky Coffee TreeÝ
*Planted. ÝSpontaneous growth.
Silver Leaf Poplar*
The Nebraska state constitution provides that "the increased value of land, by reason of live fences, fruit and forest trees grown and cultivated thereon, shall not be taken into consideration in the assessment thereof. A state law "exempts from taxation for five years, $100 valuation for each acre of fruit trees planted,
* Planted. Ý Spontaneous growth.
and $50 for each acre forest trees." Also makes it obligatory that "the corporate authorities of cities and villages in the state shall cause shade trees to be planted along the streets thereof." Further, "any person who shall injure or destroy the shade tree or trees of another, or permit his or her animals to do the same, shall be liable to a fine not less than $5 nor more than $50 for each tree injured or destroyed." To encourage growing live fences, the law permits planting "precisely on the line of the road or highway, and for its protection, to occupy for a term of seven years, six feet of the road or highway."
The orchards in the state show 12,033,112 fruit trees - apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot, prune, nectarine, cherry, and other small fruits. To this we add 2,906,784 grapevines. Beside home consumption, Nebraska shipped of her crop of 1884 over three hundred thousand bushels of apples, and grape by the hundred tons.
The problem of forest tree and fruit culture in Nebraska has been thoroughly and most satisfactorily solved. Near all the valuable varieties of timber grow and flourish to satisfaction.
The attention of eastern fruit growers, with capital to plant large commercial orchards, is directed to the great opportunities presented by Nebraska fruit growing as a special business, and for profit which will not compare with that secured by the hard labor of plain farming. From New England westward, fruit growing has advanced in doubt, an uncertainty as to the possibilities of the beyond, until to-day the prairie states present the finest fruits grown in the great golden belt - a region of golden grain and fruits.
No state offers such great opportunities for planting great commercial orchards for profit. Soil, climate, and rainfall requisite for abundant production, is all that could be desired. Varieties differ in many instances from those of the eastern slates, but the list of fruits recommended by the State Horticultural Society gives only those kinds which have been thoroughly tested
by the best growers, and may be taken as a sure guide by the planter. An apple orchard will commence partial bearing at an early age, but at six years a full crop will be realized. The crops grown - first corn and then clover for hay or hog pasturage - will pay all interest and expenses.
List of fruits recommended by the Nebraska State Horticultural Society:
APPLES--Summer--Red June, Astrachan, Duchess, Buffington, Cooper, Am. Summer Pearmain, Cole's Quince, Sops of Wine, Lowell, Sweet June. Autumn--Snow, Rambo, Wealthy, Pewaukee, Dyer, Grimes, Porter, Fall Winesap, Calvert, Striped Gilliflower, Utter, Perry Russet. Winter--Ben Davis, Jonathan, Janeton, White Winter Pearmain, Ortley, Swaar, Smith's Cider, Northern Spy, Missouri Pippin, Newton Pippin, Winter Wine, Plumb's Cider, Otoe Red Streak, Minkler, Iowa Blush, Walbridge, Mann, Lansingburg. Crabs--Hyslop, Whitney No. 20, Alaska. For trial, Golden Beauty.
PEACHES--Hale, Crawford's Early, York, Troth, George [V., Smock, Crawford's Late, Wood's Late, Morris White, Beatrice Amsden, Alexander, Newiugton, Jacques, Heath Cling, Lemon Cling, Louise, Rivers, Mixon.
GRAPES--Concord, Delaware, Martha (a little tender), Eumelan, Dracut Amber, Moore's Early, Salem, Pocklington, Worden, Elvira. For trial, Niagara, Poughkeepsie, Brighton, Lady, Early Victor, Janesville.
CURRANTS--Red Dutch, White Grape, Versailles, Longbunch Holland, Victoria. For trial, Fay's Prolific.
BLACKBERRIES--Snyder. For trial, Early Wilson, Early Cluster.
RASPBERRIES--Black Cap-Gregg, Souhegan, Mammoth Cluster, Tyler. For trial: Burns, Barnard. Red--Turner, Cuthbert. For trial: Reliance, Crimson Beauty.
PEARS--Planting of pears for profit is not recommended, as the trees have almost universally blighted, but would recommend as the safest varieties Flemish Beauty, Louise Bonne, Vicar, Lawrence, Clapp's Favorite, Bartlett, and Keifer.
CHERRIES--Early Richmond, Belle Magnifique, Reine Hortense, English Morrello, Late Richmond. For trial: Olivet, Dye House.
PLUMS--Jefferson, Miner, Wild Goose, Forest Garden. For trial: Weaver, Wolf, De Carduc, Blackman, Desoto, Prunus, Simoni (Russian).
STRAWBERRIES--Crescent (p), Downer's Prolific (s), Charles Downing (s), Mt. Vernon (s), Miner's Prolific, Duncan, Cumberland (p), Jersey Queen, Piper's Seedling (s), Bidwell. For trial: Nigh's Superb, Manchester, James Vick. [(s)--Staminate. (p)--Pistillate.]
Varieties of apples for a commercial orchard: Buffington, Cooper, Wealthy, Utter, Pewaukee, Ben Davis, Winesap, Jonathan, Mo. Pippin, Winter Wine, Rome, Beauty, Otoe, Red Streak, Domine, R. Janet, Plumb's Cider, Minkler.
Letters of inquiry answered by addressing J. T. Allan, Secretary, Omaha.
It is a well known fact that Nebraska is capable of sustaining as dense a population to the acre as any part of the world, which is so thoroughly demonstrated by her exhibit at this Exposition, and further by carefully gathered statistics on file in the Agricultural Department at Washington.
It is also known that she is pre-eminently a stock State, which was also thoroughly demonstrated to the pioneers of the" Star of Empire" that first wended their way across our fertile valleys covered by the one vast herd of buffalo, elk, deer, and antelope that gathered here from all parts of the great Northwest to revel in our one hundred and fifty-four varieties of native grasses. In short, it was the Garden of Eden for God's great herbaceous family, and the Indian's paradise.
As "all flesh is grass," it is here found in sufficient quantity and quality to alone bring all kinds of stock to a very high state of perfection, cattle and hogs needing but little of our native corn to fully fit them for our fat stock shows.
With our abundant supply of pure water coming from springs or streams fed by the melting snows of the Rocky Mountains, our altitude giving us a pure, dry atmosphere, disease among domestic animals is seldom known except where brought in by
some of the thousands upon thousands of different kinds that are annually imported to be fed on our luxuriant native grasses.
While our laws are very stringent against bringing in infected stock, occasionally some diseased animals escape the eagle eyes of our stockowners, every one of which is a self-constituted detective to prevent the importation of such; but with little caution and care on the part of the owners, assisted by the aforesaid natural agencies, all traces of it soon disappear. So much so, that at this writing there is no prevailing disease in the State, except in a few localities some hogs are being lost, and in almost every instance the cause can be traced to the carelessness of the owner in not properly looking after their sanitary condition.
A better idea of our great resources cannot well be expressed than was by Dr. Moor, in response to the toast, "The Great West and Northwest," given at the late Cattlemen's Convention at St. Louis, from which we quote: "The great West and Northwest the great bread and meat producers of the nation. When the Saviour of the world sought the hospitality of his disciples, he asked: 'Children, have ye any meat?' And when he framed that incomparable litany for the universal service he included this petition: 'Give us this day our daily bread.' Thus bread and meat have the highest recognition as staple commodities of mankind. Now, to lift the great West and Northwest to the proud eminence of being the bread and meat producers of the nations, is a compliment overwhelming, a responsibility appalling.
"From our fields the granaries and shambles of the nations are to be filled. Southern Illinois was once the Egypt of the United States, but this Western Egypt, unlike her decadent prototype, has annexed empire after empire to her vast domain - Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Dakota, and Nebraska - (but the greatest of these is Nebraska).
"And now the great West and Northwest broadcast their bounties to the world. And so between these magnificent grain-bearing States on the east and the fertile seaboards of the Pacific lie the great mountain ranges that rim the continent, bordered by the grandest pasture lands that drink the dews and sunshine of heaven.
"Who will number these cattle on thrice a thousand hills,
compute their value, or translate their substance into the cheer and comfort they bear to the millions of homes and hearts of men?
"Accepting the sentiment of the toast as true, the great West and Northwest are the bread and meat producers of the nation. Were I asked to design for them a becoming seal, I would gather in some of their sunny slopes representatives of the toiling and hungry myriads of earth, with outstretched arms pleading for food, and hastening to their relief sun-browned cowboys driving sleek and fatted beeves, and ruddy grangers bringing lumbering trains groaning beneath their burthens of wheat and rye, and fruits and flowers; and so thenceforward 'granger' and 'cowboy' would stand as symbols, no longer the one of rudeness and the other of violence, but of intelligent industry and beneficent bounty." There are now in the State -
Cattle, all kinds
Mules and Asses
These are valued at $78,324,604.
Mostly all pure breeds are represented in the State, and each breed has its enthusiasts. Those who aim at raising beef are supporters of either the Shorthorn, Hereford, Devon, or the recently introduced Aberdeen-Angus, or Galloways. Others turn their interests to the dairy breeds, and then the Jersey, the Guernsey, the Holstein, the Ayrshire, the Freisian, each has its supporter and advocate. There is room for all, and they all find a welcome.
There is always a ready market at home for all bulls bred by regular breeders; in fact, the demand exceeds the supply, and many high class bulls are brought from the Eastern States. Hundreds of grade bulls are needed for the western plains, which stimulates even the small farmers to keep a well bred bull for using on their best grade cows to meet this demand.
The ratio of increase in thoroughbred cattle in Nebraska the
past five or ten years has been beyond the expectation of the most sanguine. The most noted advance has probably been made in the beef breeds, for which Nebraska is peculiarly suited, her situation being so central to the great cattle marts, and her corn and grass so abundant and cheaply produced.
With these feeding facilities and an abundance of pure water (nearly every quarter section of land in the eastern half of the State is provided with one or more springs of never-failing pure water), a soil and climate that has no equal for stock raising, we predict that at no distant day Nebraska will take the highest rank in the production of thoroughbred cattle, including all the breeds most highly esteemed both in Europe and America. We have reports from nearly every county in the State, and estimate that there are about four hundred breeders of thoroughbred cattle in Nebraska, at the present time.
The numerous streams and lakes in the State will soon be utilized and prove of great value for producing excellent food in abundance and at a small expense compared with growing meat. Private parties who have a lake, or spring sufficient to furnish water for a small pond, are engaging in fish culture for a family supply, and with excellent success. There is no doubt but Nebraska will rank with any of the Western States in this important interest.
The State Commission was created by legislative act in 1879, with a very limited appropriation, sufficient only, at first, to collect statistics and data relative to the location of streams and lakes and their adaptability to fish culture. During the three years, to 1882, 811,000 of California salmon fry had been hatched and planted.
In March, 1882, the Commission purchased a site of fifty-two acres, embracing a fine stream of water, and immediately established ponds, buildings, a dwelling-house for the superintendent, and appliances for carrying on an active and successful business, and have now six ponds adapted to breeding and handling brook trout, bass, wall-eyed pike, German carp, and other varieties,
and can hatch at one time, twenty million of eggs of the speckled trout, pike, or other fresh water fish. Since the purchase of this site, the commission has procured, hatched, and planted the product of over 200,000 brook trout eggs. It has also procured from the U. S. Commissioner about 2,500 German carp of the mirror and scale varieties, a large proportion of which have been distributed to persons who have constructed suitable ponds for their use, retaining at the fisheries a suitable number for breeding when they shall become of sufficient age. The first lot was obtained at Washington, D. C., in December, A.D. 1881, of that season's product. In many parts of the state this fish makes a great growth - in some instances have attained the length of nearly, two feet at two and one-half years old, and have bred during the last summer.
The Commission has at the Santee fisheries (P. 0. address, South Bend, Nebraska), for breeding purposes, several thousand brook trout, rainbow trout, California trout, German carp, and black bass.
In April last, our efficient superintendent, Mr. Martin E. O'Brien, was directed to go to Saginaw bay, in Michigan, and procure a quantity of eggs of the wall-eyed pike. He procured several millions of eggs, brought them to the fisheries and successfully hatched them with a small percentage of loss, and placed in the streams and ponds in the state about two millions of healthy fry. These fish have survived and made excellent growth, some measuring eight inches in length.
Two years ago there was less than a half dozen private or artificial fish ponds in the state. To-day, there are between forty and fifty, well stocked with fish for breeding and cultivation for personal use, and a large number of persons are commencing the construction of ponds especially for raising carp for market as well as for home use.
The Commission propose to obtain a large number (if possible, many millions) of wall-eyed pike eggs, next April, to be hatched and planted in the state; also, to continue the work of planting brook trout in the streams adapted to them.
The estimated value of our propagating and hatching establishment is ten thousand dollars. It is situated in the beautiful val-
ley of the Platte river, about twenty-five miles from its confluence with the Missouri river, near the Santee lakes in Sarpy county, from which it takes its name, Santee Fisheries.
R. B. LIVINGSTON,
W. L. MAY,
B. E. KENNEDY,
The yearly extension of the rain belt westward has been very apparent during the past few years, and due advantage has been taken by extreme western settlers. Lands which five years ago had only a scanty covering of buffalo grass, the soil baked by the hot suns of summer, are now sending up a growth of blue stem and other strong native grasses, which will shade the soil. This is due to increased rains. On these lands, 300 miles west of the Missouri river, five years ago voted as worthless for agriculture, in 1884 were fields of wheat yielding twenty-eight bushels per acre; oats, forty bushels, weighing forty-eight pounds to the bushel; excellent crops of rye and barley; corn of excellent quality, one field of 160 acres averaging forty bushels per acre; and acres of forest and fruit trees planted and growing. The question is asked, What is the cause of this increase of moisture? And the most reasonable solution is, rain follows the plow. As the land is turned over, the rain is held and the moisture gradually given back to the atmosphere through evaporation. Prof. Aughey, of the State University, has made some interesting experiments in connection with this subject. Immediately after a rain, six inches square was marked out in a plowed field and the soil taken up to the depth of a foot and carefully weighed. The same was repeated with a similar amount taken from the unbroken prairie a few yards away. Both were dried and reweighed, when it was found that the sample from the plowed ground had lost nine times as much moisture as that from the prairie. One had held the rain which had ran off the other.
Groves and forest trees exert the same influence. The rain falling among the decayed leaves and undergrowth sinks into the
ground to be given off again. Judging by the past, as farming progresses westward, we may confidently expect a continued increase of rainfall.
The yearly increase of rainfall has attracted attention to lands in Western Nebraska, and a large extent has been taken during the present year. West of North Platte, on the south side of the river, along the route traveled by so many thousands to Pike's Peak, over what then was a desert of sand, cactus, and sage brush, is now a farming region. Fifty bushels of rye, forty of oats and barley have been harvested, with heavy crops of lucerne. Well ripened corn and a grand success in tree growth all tell of the value of these western lands. The most enthusiastic believer in the western movement of agriculture might be astonished today and not be surprised if the whole slope from the base of the mountains eastward could be made an agricultural region. Besides these, the grazing lands of the western region are not as yet on the market for sale, but can be leased in quantities suitable for stock growing, which gives a sure and early return with large profit. The shipments of cattle the present year tell of the great value of these lands for meat producing, where a steer can be grown on the native grasses to the age of three years for six dollars; and no animal could be healthier than one grown on the western plains.
The facility of shipping the produce of the farm without the expense of hauling it long distances, is a most important feature in Nebraska farming; and as the farming lands are opened westward, as the rainfall moves toward the occident, the railways will give the same facilities as fast as the products are ready for market.
The whole of Nebraska has an underlying strata of pure, fresh water. In the Platte Valley this is found in a gravelly bed eight to ten feet below the surface. On the high lands it is found at a greater depth, costing $20 for boring and tubing a well seventy-
five feet deep. A windmill and pump set up costs $150, so that for less than $200 an abundant supply of water can be had for domestic purposes, watering stock, irrigating gardens, etc. The wind power can also be utilized for shelling corn, grinding grain for feed, and many other purposes. Those who have had eastern experience with springs and running brooks know they are liable to become, impure and often dry in the summer, and ice has to be broken for cattle to drink water that is too cold in winter. Those who have tried it give preference to the high prairie farm where there is such a regular and abundant supply of pure water always at hand, and can be had at the house or in the stock pasture, or wherever it is needed. Abundant rains give a full supply of soft water, and cisterns can be cheaply made by cementing directly on the firm earth walls. No part of the agricultural portion of the West can boast of a better water supply than Nebraska.
The rainfall in Nebraska is from two directions, one from the west and one from the south. The latter is brought by the moisture laden clouds of the Gulf, which come north until they find a lower temperature and are then condensed and precipitated in showers. From this direction the most of our rain is received. The wind from the Pacific leave their moisture on the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the form of snow, and start east comparatively dry, gathering by the way the evaporation from the Platte and other streams, and from cultivated lands which have absorbed previous rainfalls, and deposit their burdens in Central and Eastern Nebraska.
Who are coming West and seeking wider fields and new homes for themselves and sons? The answer is, men who have made agriculture a business in the Eastern States, and who realize the great advantages of prairie lands for producing meat, combined with grain growing. To-day the world - not the Atlantic States, but in the broadest sense the world - asks for that indispensable article, meat. When our American bacon found a market in the iron-working towns of Great Britain, it made a revolution in the
power of labor, that power at the anvil and the forge. And the prairies is where corn and pork can be produced. There is no part of the West where corn can be more surely produced than Nebraska, and then follows feeding.
The opportunities in this western region are great. The whole front of Nebraska is a grand corn region, not excelled on the continent, where fifty bushels can be grown on an acre at a cost of three dollars. The eastern farmer may ask what is to be done with it, and the answer is, feed cattle, hogs, and sheep grown on the grazing lands, the free pastures. It costs less than to deliver the grain at a railway station. Again, the value of mixed feed, corn, and oats, barley and rye, ground, which are worth 50 per cent more than unground, are all in reach of the farmer for home use or shipment; and besides, the power which pumps the water grinds the grain.
The time will soon come when there will be an abundance of tame grasses - blue grass, orchard, and timothy on the uplands, and red top in the valleys. These and clover have all proved a success wherever tried, fully equal to the growth in any Eastern State, and hence their value for fall and spring feeding cannot be over-estimated in the near future. The want has not been felt while our prairies have been covered with native grass rich in all the qualities necessary for producing both milk and meat. The great abundance of this has caused the building of numerous creameries, the products of which rank No. 1 in all the markets, both East and West.
Increase in value of western lands is a point which demands the attention of those looking for new homes. The days of cheap agricultural lands in the West will soon close, and this great tide of western emigration must wander over the great expanse of western lands to find here and there a farm. In the regions of rainfall, or where lands must be irrigated, every acre owned or cultivated will bring a large per cent of profit. At the same time these lands are increasing in value daily, and farmers from the Eastern States who have sold their $100-an-acre farms will want them. Actual settlers is what is wanted to furnish the products demanded by the markets of the world. The bacon, flour, corn meal, butter, and cheese of Nebraska is called for across
the ocean, and wherever her products have been sent the quality has been approved, and the demand is in great excess of the possible supply, hence the necessity of more production; and the rich lands, growing daily in value, invite the skilled farmers to new homes of broad extent.
Is a question which, is asked to-day. From the present rapid advancement in population and productions, the oldest inhabitant cannot answer; but there is a firm assurance that no Western State in less than ten years can compare with it in agricultural wealth. The great and increasing advance in grain and stock growing, in mixed farming, dairying, and other industries which are producing food that the markets of the world call for, all point to the 75,000,000 acres of Nebraska lands as a region for producing the products in most demand. The annual western movement of rainfall is shown by good crops realized west of the North Platte, on lands rich in all the elements for grain producing, which only have heretofore needed rain to cover them with waving fields of golden grain. The experience of each succeeding year proves that there are "no waste lands." The "broken lands," as they are called in some parts of Western Nebraska, are being rapidly taken by men who are engaging in stock growing, and these are offered at low prices, for sheep and cattle lands. Lands which will combine pasturage and produce grain for feeding, give a return which answers the question, "What is the future of Nebraska?" The success in growing forests and orchards ensures great tracts of timber which will change the once treeless plains into a beautiful region of combined prairie and forest. This will be one of the best features in the near "Future of Nebraska."
There is room for the great westward flow of settlers - the poor man who can take a homestead, and the eastern experienced farmer. The man who puts up a sod cabin, turns over what he can of prairie sod, receives the first year a crop of corn, which
in some of the western counties yielded in 1882 thirty bushels to the acre. Others who sowed flax on their breaking got a crop which brought nine dollars per acre, had plenty of the finest vegetables, hay for the cost of cutting, and at the end of the year found that they had realized a good profit for the labor. Settling on the prairie is different from plunging into a region covered with timber. Nature seems to have provided protection and food for man and beast; all that is required is diligent labor and economy to insure an early reward. The farmer or stockgrower, or both combined, can realize a competence and wealth here in a shorter time than in any other western State. Any person intending to come west can, through the reliable information published, make up his mind where the best location can be had.
© 2002 for NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller