all of Council Bluffs, took the matter under careful consideration. The first result was that on July 23, 1853, "The Council Bluffs and Nebraska Steam Ferry Company" was organized, with Dr. Enos Lowe president. The other members were Tootle & Jackson, S. S. Bayliss, Joseph H. D. Street, Bernhart Henn, Jesse Williams, Samuel R. Curtis, Tanner & Downs, and William D. Brown. Their intention was to secure the town site as soon as Nebraska was admitted as a Territory. This occurred May 23, 1854, when Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska bill, after a fierce and angry struggle, the circumstances of which form a prominent chapter in the history of our country.



     Mr. A. D. Jones, Thomas Allen and William Allen were among those who in the fall of 1853 crossed the river from Council Bluffs to secure claims. Each located a claim according to squatter laws in the vicinity of the present home of Herman Kountze. These are maintained by Mr. Jones to have been the pioneer squatter claims. Others followed, but the squatters were all notified by Mr. Hepner, the Indian agent, that they must abandon the ground as the Indian title had not yet been extinguished. This order was obeyed, and the squatters returned to Council Bluffs to await the proper time for locating on the Nebraska side of the river.
     In the month of February, 1854, Major Gatewood, Indian agent for the tribes in this vicinity, held a council with the Otoes, the Missouris, and the Omahas, at Bellevue, and the result was that they agreed to unite in a treaty by which they would yield up the title to their lands for a fair consideration, The terms of the treaty with each tribe were liberal and



satisfactory, and the tribes signed the documents during the months of March and April. They were then removed to the reservation provided for them.


     The Indian title to the land being extinguished, and the territorial organic act having been passed, the time had now come for the ferry company to carry out their proposed plan of founding a city. The company accordingly employed Mr. A. D. Jones, who was a surveyor,

     [Jesse Lowe was born in Raleigh, Rowan county, North Carolina, March 11, 1814. Soon afterward his parents removed to the then territory of Indiana, and settled in Monroe county, near Bloomington. As a boy Mr. Lowe's experience was that usual to boys on a farm in a newly settled country, but later he succeeded in obtaining a fair education at Bloomington College, Indiana. He then entered the law office of Gen. Tilghman Howard of that State (who was a gentleman of distinction in those days, and had

represented our government in Spain), and studied law, but did not then seek admission to the bar. His disposition craved change and outdoor occupation, rendered necessary in part by ill health, and he spent some years in traveling through the South, being often in Memphis, New Orleans, etc., and to a considerable extent engaged in purchasing stock for the army. At the breaking out of the Mexican war, being in Missouri, he entered a regiment raised by Sterling Price, as Commissary. He was afterward promoted to Paymaster, and served until the war closed.
   His elder brother, Dr. Enos Lowe, having removed to Burlington, Iowa, in 1837, was at the close of the war Receiver of Public Moneys at Iowa City, and Jesse joined him there; and when in 1853 the doctor was made Receiver at Kanesville (now Council Bluffs), his brother accompanied him to the new station, assisted in the duties of



the office, and was the messenger to carry the public funds to Iowa City for deposit. At this time Nebraska belonged to the Pawnees, Omahas and other Indian tribes, and Jesse Lowe, looking across the river one day, pointed to the present site of Omaha and said to his companions: "There is the place for a great city, and in time there will be one there. Why should we not begin it?" His friends assented, and on July 3, 1853, they crossed the river in a skiff, Jesse Lowe and Jesse Williams having to wade part of the way, and located their claims. Jesse Lowe took up a quarter-section of land about the western end of Cuming street (to which he subsequently added by purchase three other quarter-sections, making in all 640 acres), and within a week had a man with a mule team at work upon his "Ranche," which he subsequently called Oak Grove Farm. In 1854, the Indian title to the land having been extinguished by

the Government, the city was surveyed, platted, and fairly begun, the name of its former Indian owners being given to it by Mr. Lowe, and a "claim club" was organized May 28, of which Mr. Lowe was a member. This club built a small house on wheels, which was moved from one claim to another, and served as the home of each claimant in turn during the necessary periods of personal occupancy required by law. The old "claim house" found its last resting place on Ninth street, and is now the flat-roofed portion of the one-story house, 413 South Ninth street, across the alley on the south side of the Cozzens Hotel. At the time Mr. Lowe settled in Omaha he had, as a result of his former business enterprises and savings, what were considerable means for those days, and he established himself in the real estate business, which he continued until his death. He had also the exclusive privilege of trading with the Indian tribes at the adjacent agency. When the Territory was organized he was admitted to the bar, but never practiced. He built the first banking house (almost the first brick building in Omaha), which, after years of occupancy by different private banking firms, became the United States National Bank, and was early in 1887 torn down to give place to a fine modern building of stone. In 1857, the city having obtained a charter, Mr. Lowe was elected its first mayor, and J. M. Woolworth was the first city attorney. The parents of Mr. Lowe being strict "Friends," or Quakers, his early training in the principles of that sect shaped and governed his whole life, although in his later years he became a member of the Lutheran church. He was an excellent financier, of sound judgment, ready at all times to aid in anything calculated to promote the advancement of Omaha, and enjoyed to the last the unqualified respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. He died April 3, 1868.]

to survey the site, covering the claims of the company. Mr. Jones spent the greater portion of the month of June and a part of July in this work, in which he was assisted by Mr. C. H. Downs, who carried the chain and drove the stakes. The city was laid out in 322 blocks, each 264 feet square. The streets were made 100 feet wide, except Capitol avenue, which



was given a width of 120 feet, but having no alley in the blocks on each side of it. The lots were staked out 66 by 132 feet. Two squares were reserved--Jefferson Square, 264 by 280 feet, and Capitol Square, on Capitol Hill,



600 feet square. A park of seven blocks, bounded by Eighth and Ninth and Jackson and Davenport streets, was laid out, but was afterwards given up to business purposes, being now occupied by the Union Pacific headquarters, the Canfield House, the Cozzens House, and other buildings. During the latter part of the survey the Fourth of July was celebrated by a picnic on Capitol Hill by a party of Council Bluffs people, among whom were quite a number who became the first settlers of Omaha -- Hadley D. Johnson, A. D. Jones and wife, A. J. Hanscomb and wife, Wm. D. Brown and wife, Harrison Johnson, Mr. Seely and wife, Thomas Davis and wife and children, Fred




Davis and sister, who is now Mrs. Herman Kountze, and several others. The map of the survey was lithographed in St. Louis. Mr. Byron Reed has one of the original copies in his possession. The ferry company gave the name of Omaha to the new town. The name was taken from the nearest tribe of Indians in the vicinity, the Omahas. It is claimed that the honor of suggesting the name belongs to Jesse Lowe, long since dead. The meaning of the word, as given by Rev. William Hamilton, for many years an Indian missionary at Bellevue, is, "Above all others on a stream." According to an old tradition, the Omahas took their



name from an incident which occurred a great many years ago. As the story goes, two tribes of Indians met on the Missouri river and engaged in battle, in which all on one side were slain except one, who jumped into the river and swam under water for some little distance. Upon coming to the surface he exclaimed, "Omaha!" This word had never been heard before by the survivors of the battle, and to commemorate their great victory they at once adopted it as the name of their tribe.


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