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Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume I

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  The military history of the territory may perhaps be most appropriately treated under three distinctive heads, relating to three different phases of military service. The history of the territory's participation in the actions of the Civil war, and of the continuous succession of troubles occurring on the frontier is, of course, the most important branch. Besides this, however, is the subject of a general military nature concerning the department of which Nebraska at present forms a considerable portion; and finally, the topic of the state militia; which, being yet in its infancy, does not furnish material for any prolonged consideration.

  Treating of these various branches of the subject, there appears in this chapter first an account of the early militia organizations for local defense; second, the record of Nebraska's share in the rebellion, which was of a nature well calculated to develop any amount of latent pride over the operations of its troops; then the continued and perplexing border troubles; following that, the general departmental history of the different military districts of which Nebraska has made a part; and in conclusion, the subject of the state militia as at present constituted.

  While this arrangement of the chapter necessarily divides the militia into separate sections, the reader will at a second glance perceive the advantages gained by a more thorough chronological presentation of facts, since it is true that the territorial and state militia are very distinct features in the general military history of Nebraska.

  The authority under which the first militia was organized was a proclamation issued by Acting Governor Cuming, December 23, 1854, in which he recommended that "the citizens of the Territory of Nebraska organize in their respective neighborhoods into volunteer companies, constituting in all two regiments, one north and one south of the River Platte," which formed a social as well as natural dividing line for many years. The companies were to elect their own officers,




the regimental commissions being designated by the acting governor, and the companies were advised to "keep such arms and ammunition as they can procure in good order and ready for service," and to establish night sentinels in the frontier districts. Block houses were suggested as a suitable place of refuge in case of attack. The regiments were designed solely for defensive work, in the face of a by no means imaginary foe. The Indians, while sectionally peaceful, were subject to constant influence through intercourse with more warlike tribes, and, worst of all, through frequent incursions of the savage Sioux.

  In the spring of 1855 depredations were committed upon the property of settlers in Dodge County, supposed to be the work of Pawnee Indians. Governor Izard thereupon appointed Gen. J. M. Thayer and Gov. O. D. Richardson a commission to hold council with the chief of the Pawnees, and through the interpreter, to assure him of the Government's desire for peace, but at the same time to impress on his mind the fact that outrages of such a nature would not be tolerated.

  The council was held at the village of the Pawnees, on the Platte, and the report of the council is given in the language of that document: "We left Omaha by the way of Belleview (as it was then spelled), and there were met by Mr. Allis, the United States interpreter for the Pawnees, who accompanied us on this service. On the third day from the time of our departure we arrived at the upper village of the Loup and Tapa bands of the Pawnees, and had a talk with the chiefs in council, in presence of the bands, numbering perhaps two or three hundred. We were received and treated in a very friendly manner by them.

  "After stating to them the fact of the stealing of a number of oxen on the Elkhorn, and your instructions to us, they replied through the interpreter that they were glad to hear of the kind and friendly feelings that were entertained toward them by the Government and people of the territory. They said they wished to be on friendly terms with us; that they were glad we had come among them; that they knew of no depredations committed by the Pawnees upon the whites; that the Poncas were frequently about and were enemies of theirs and constantly annoyed them. They presumed the Poncas did the thing complained of.

  "We then left them, returned to the north side of the Platte, and in the morning proceeded down the river some four miles, opposite to where the lower village (or as it is called, the Grand Pawnee Vil-



lage) stands. After waiting a short time on the bank of the river, the chiefs of the Grand Pawnees came across, and through the interpreter we made known to them our business. In a few minutes they replied that they knew of no depredations by the Indians of their band or tribe upon the whites of Nebraska. That a few days since some of the Poncas were about and they sent out a number of their tribe to find them. They came across one ox that was wounded; that they killed the ox and used him; that the ox had several Ponca arrows in him and they supposed from that that the Poncas shot him with arrows; that they had had nothing more to do with the affair than above stated. In answer to the question how it happened that the ox was in the direction of their village from the Horn, they said it was a trick of the Poncas to drive the ox toward their village to throw suspicion off from themselves onto the Pawnees. The chiefs of both bands were distinctly told that though the whites were friendly to the Indians, yet they will not suffer the Indians to take their property or injure them in any way; and that the Indians will be held to a strict account and punished for any injuries they may inflict upon the whites."

  The result of this commission was practically of no great value, except to impress a mild lesson on the Indians of their responsibility for outrages committed on the whites. This lesson, as subsequent pages reveal, was not heeded by the savages.

  The commissions issued to territorial militia in 1855, the year the system was organized, were: John M. Thayer, brigadier general, First Brigade; Peter A. Sarpy, quartermaster general, First Brigade; William English, commissary general, First Brigade; John B. Folsom, adjutant, First Brigade; H. P. Downs, inspector general.

  First Regiment: J. D. N. Thompson, adjutant; A. J. Hanscom, colonel; William C. James, lieutenant colonel; Hascal C. Purple, major; Thomas L. Griffy, adjutant; John B. Robertson, quartermaster; Anselum Arnold, commissary; M. H. Clark, surgeon; George L. Miller, assistant surgeon.

  Second Regiment: David M. Johnson, colonel; Richard Brown, quartermaster; Gideon Bennet, commissary; William McLellan, adjutant; Isaiah H. Crane, surgeon; William Hamilton, assistant surgeon.

  The appearance of hostile Sioux near Fontenelle in July, 1855. first caused Governor Izard to call upon General Thayer for active service. The general was authorized to raise a volunteer company of forty men and place them under proper equipment for effective duty.



  The first company of volunteer militia was also assigned to service under him and further authority given him to demand an increase of force, if necessary.

  When the country of the Omahas was sold to the Government of the United States, a colony came from Quincy, Ill., to Nebraska to seek for themselves and their children new and better homes. Upon arriving at Bellevue, Neb., they found there Logan Fontenelle, the chief of the Omahas. He was a halfbreed, his father having been a Frenchman, his mother an Omaha squaw. Logan had been educated at St. Louis, and was much more than ordinarily intelligent and brave. As he was familiar with all Eastern Nebraska, the colonists requested him to accompany them in their search for a suitable location for a settlement. He acceded to their request. This was in 1854. The Quincy colonists, consisting of Dr. M. H. Clark, James A. Bell, W. W. Keep and some others, under the guidance of Logan Fontenelle, started out together, journeying up the Elkhorn, and finally found a spot with which all were satisfied. They named it Fontenelle, in honor of their guide. They then returned to Quincy for their families, leaving Logan to guard their claim. Upon their return he joined his tribe.

  In the spring of 1855, the Omahas were removed on to their reservation, and the money due from the Government was paid to them just above Decatur. Upon getting on the reservation, they, as had been their custom from time immemorial, went out on a buffalo hunt. Their course was due west, where were to be found not only plenty of buffalo, but also plenty of Sioux, the latter as much their enemies as they were the enemies of the buffalo. It had been for years the custom of the Sioux to come and fight them every summer. The two tribes had had a number of battles already on the Elkhorn, and the Omahas saw that it was beginning to be of no use for them to fight the Sioux, so now they decided to retreat. After retreating two or three days, they supposed themselves out of danger and crossed to the south side of the Elkhorn, finding there fresh buffalo tracks. These they followed into the brush. After this they camped, and in the morning Logan, Joe La Flesche and Sansouci started on ahead of the village, two or three miles, chasing some elk which started up in their course. Le Flesche and Sansouci continued the pursuit of the elk for some distance, Logan falling in the rear or taking a divergent



course; at any rate he was never again seen alive by his companions. Soon after missing Logan, they saw behind them the Sioux still in pursuit, and made the best possible speed back to the village. In a short time they were all surrounded and fired upon by the Sioux. This was about 10 o'clock in the morning, and the trouble lasted until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. About this time the Omahas saw some Indians riding Logan's horse, with a small piece of his scalp dangling from one of their belts. The Omahas asked for a parley, and inquired if the owner of the horse had been killed. Upon receiving an affirmative answer, they cried out, "You have killed our chief and our best friend," and after the Indian fashion the whole village set up a wail of lamentation. This ended the battle; the Sioux returned to their own country and the Omahas went out in search of the body of their fallen chief. Passing down Beaver Creek six or seven miles, they found it, the breast pierced with seven arrows, the back part of the skull broken in with a tomahawk and a portion of the scalp removed. The young men washed him and dressed him in a piece of rawhide. In the vicinity of his body were two large pools of blood and an old shirt, with the left side shot away. Logan had been armed with a double-barreled gun, one barrel rifle, the other shotgun, and in his last brave struggle for his life had shot away a large portion of the left side of the body of one of his enemies, who was probably the worst wounded man that ever survived his injuries. Joe La Flesche placed his body on the back of a large mule and conveyed it to Bellevue for burial.

  The Sioux themselves gave substantially the same account of his capture and death. After discovering him, they chased him fifteen miles, and failing to overtake him, gave up the chase. Watching him with disappointed eyes, they saw him descend into the creek, and as he did not appear on the other side, one of their number went stealthily forward to reconnoiter. This Sioux, upon reaching the bank of the creek, saw Logan vainly endeavoring to extricate his horse (a noble animal, which had saved his life that morning by its speed and endurance) from the treacherous mire of the bottom of the creek. Logan had attempted to cross the creek on what he supposed to be a solid beaver dam, but it proved to be too soft to bear his horse's weight. and his efforts, though strenuous, were vain. Upon taking in the situation, the Sioux crawled back out of sight and gave the signal to his companions. They speedily surrounded Logan, who was unconscious of their movements until it was too late to escape. However, he resolved to sell his life as dearly as possible, but as his enemies rushed



upon him, he shot both barrels of his gun at one of them, hitting him in the left side, with the result outlined above. The odds against him were, however, so great that he was almost immediately killed by about seven arrows piercing him in the breast, and by having the back part of his head broken in with a tomahawk. This occurred on the 15th of June.

  His body was wrapped up in a rawhide and removed to Bellevue for burial. His brother, Henry Fontenelle, made him a coffin, but as it was some time before this could be accomplished, and as the weather was warm, his body was so swollen that the coffin proved too small. He was, therefore, buried without one at Bellevue, on July 1, 1855. A large number of Omaha braves attended the funeral, the services of which were conducted by Stephen Decatur. Thus, unfortunately for the Omahas, was their brave chief, and one of the bravest of men, slain and laid to rest. His influence over his tribe was supreme, and they with good reason sincerely mourned his loss. He was sufficiently intelligent to perceive the tendency of modern progress, the results of the contact of the white man with the Indian, and the course that was necessary for the latter to pursue in order to prevent his, to most others, seemingly inevitable annihilation. And it is safe to say that had it been decreed him to live, the Omahas would today have been living upon a considerably higher plane of civilization than is now the case.

  The so-called "Pawnee War" occurred during the summer of 1859. From the official reports the following statement of the disturbance is compiled:

  About July 1, 1859, messengers arrived in Omaha, from Fontenelle and vicinity, announcing that the settlements along the Elkhorn had been broken up by the Pawnee Indians, who were driving off stock, burning fences and houses and threatening the lives of the inhabitants. A citizens' committee, consisting of John Evans, John M. Taggart, S. Searte and W. M. Saint, appealed to Governor Black for aid in suppressing the troubles. The committee reported the Indians, encamped near Fontenelle, had been engaged in pilfering until finally, emboldened by the non-interference of the whites, they made more effective assaults, in one of which the settlers had killed four of the Indians. The situation was a threatening one, requiring prompt action. Governor Black was absent, in Nebraska City, when the summons arrived, and Secretary J. Sterling Morton was called upon to act in his stead, by virtue of his legal authority. A numerously signed address was sent him, urging vigorous measures. In



response, Secretary Morton issued a call upon Col. Charles May, commandant of Fort Kearney, for troops to repel the incursions of the savages, the strength of whom was reported to be seven or eight hundred warriors. In reply to this call word was sent to Acting Governor Morton that all of the disposable force then stationed at Fort Kearney had just been dispatched to protect the transportation train of Russell, Majors & Waddell, government contractors, but that he would immediately send an express to Lieut. B. H. Robertson, commanding Company K, Second Dragoons, and order him to proceed without delay, with his company, to the relief of the settlers.

  Meantime, Maj. Gen. John M. Thayer, at the solicitation of many of the inhabitants of Omaha, and in compliance with earnest petitions from Fontenelle and other points on the Elkhorn River, set out for the scene of the disturbances, at the head of the Light Artillery. Company, of Omaha, Capt. James H. Ford in command.

  Upon the evening of the 5th of July, Governor Black, with a portion of Company K, United States Dragoons, in command of Lieutenant Robertson, arrived at Omaha. A dispatch was that day received from General Thayer, dated in camp at Fontenelle, July 2d, stating that the reports first received were fully verified and that the settlements for fifty miles had been broken up. The general expressed the belief that no peace could be effected without first instituting rigorous measures, and that he was ready to open hostilities on receipt of the governor's orders.

  Governor Black, in the face of this emergency, called for volunteers, procured horses and equippage from the firm of Wood & King, of Omaha, liverymen, who completely emptied their stables at his request and laid in stores from the stocks of Lacy & McCormick and George Clayes, general merchants. These business men were prompt, humane and patriotic, responding when slight chance of compensation was apparent. The morning of July 6th witnessed the departure of the company, under command of Lieutenant Robertson and accompanied by Governor Black in person.

  The work of depredation was continued by the Indians. Dispatches were sent by General Thayer, showing a deplorable condition of affairs in the vicinity of Fontenelle and urging stringent processes. The postoffices in the territory named had been destroyed and Government property burned.

  On the morning of the 8th, Governor Black's troops joined the forces under General Thayer, south of the Elkhorn. By the consolidation of these divisions, about two hundred men, mostly mounted,



were placed under organization and elected commanding officers. This was as follows: Commander-in-chief, Gov. Samuel W. Black; major general commanding expedition, John M. Thayer. The staff of the governor was: Lieutenant colonels, John McConihe, R. E. Bowie, C. D. Woolworth, Samuel A. Lowe. The staff of General Thayer was: Captains, R. H. Howard, A. S. Paddock, Witt Black, J. W. Pattison. The companies of troops were:

  No. 1, Omaha Light Artillery, with one six-pounder gun; captain, James H. Ford; first lieutenant, E. G. McNeely; sergeant, William Searight.

  No. 2, First Dragoons: Captain, George F. Kennedy; first lieutenant, J. C. Reeves; second lieutenant, C. A. Henry; first sergeant, J. S. Bowen.

  No. 3, Second Dragoons: Captain, R. W. Hazen; first lieutenant, William West; second lieutenant, H. C. Campbell; sergeant, Abram McNeil.

  No. 4, Fontenelle Mounted Rifles: Captain, William Kline; first lieutenant, James A. Bell; second lieutenant, William S. Flack; sergeant, John H. Francis.


  No. a, Columbus Infantry: Captain, Michael Weaver; first lieutenant, William Grauman; sergeant, John Browner.


  No. 6, Columbus Guards: Captain, J. Rickly; first lieutenant, J. P. Becker; second lieutenant, J. C. Wolfel.

  When organized, the regimental officers were: His Excellency, Samuel W. Black, commander-in-chief; John M. Thayer, major-general; William A. West, colonel; B. H. Robertson, United States Army, lieutenant colonel; Samuel R. Curtis, inspector general; Experience Estabrook, adjutant; - Reed, major; W. T. Clarke, quartermaster; A. U. Wyman, commissary; Henry Page, wagon master; J. P. Beck, William McClelland, surgeons.

  The command numbered as follows:






No. 1..........





No. 2..........





No. 3..........





No. 4..........





No. 5..........





No. 6..........





  The entire roster of this expedition is preserved in the journal of the council, pp. 270 to 276, Session Proceedings of 1860.

  The campaign was a brief, but effective one. After a demonstration or two, the Indians, then on their way to the summer hunting grounds, were overcome and surrendered to terms just to them, but efficient for the protection of settlers.

  General Thayer stated that "his troops came upon the Indians and the Indians surrendered. The line was formed, the cannon was planted and the chiefs of all the different bands came forward, throwing down their arms and raising white flags. The interpreter was directed to communicate with them, and they asked to have a council. They acknowledged that their young men had committed these depredations and offered to give them up and did bring forward six, who were delivered up. Two of them were shot as they were trying to escape the next day. The guard so informed me. I did not see it done."

  The duty of protecting property and the lives of citizens was fully appreciated by the civil and military branches of the territorial government. It is, however, beyond the intention of this chapter to enter into a detailed history of the Indian tribes of Nebraska.


  In the summer of 1863, the fierce Sioux started on a raid of murder and destruction through the Platte Valley. From Fort Kearney eastward to Omaha, the whole country was wild with fear and apprehension. For a time it seemed as though the settlements would be broken up. Mr. Martin's ranch, south of the Platte, near Grand Island, was attacked and two young boys narrowly escaped a horrible death by riding post haste to Fort Kearney on a single horse, pursued by a band of red devils, one of whose barbed arrows passed through the side of the younger brother and transfixed itself in the back of the elder boy in front of him. They both lived, although the Indians killed and horribly mutilated one of Mr. Martin's field hands.

  A few miles farther east occurred the massacre of the Campbell family. The whole valley was wild with horror and Columbus became a harbor of refuge. The rush was intensified by an isolated case of massacre previous to this date, which occurred on the Loup River, near the Pawnee reservation.

  The beginning of the trouble at this time was when a band of Pawnees attacked Mrs. Pat Murray and a number of hands who



were making hay for the Government along Lost Creek. The story already has been told in another part of this work, and will not be repeated here; but while the alarm was spreading in the West like prairie flames before the wind, a sudden shock was given in advance of all real danger, perhaps by a statement quietly made by a freighter, who had been resting his ox teams a few days in the angle between the Platte and Loup rivers. About noon one day, this freighter stated that in looking after his oxen down in the thicket, he suddenly came upon a band of forty Sioux concealed in a thicket and armed with the best of weapons; that, having been long and widely acquainted with the Sioux tribes, and knowing these to be of that people from their general features and their dress, he addressed them in their language, gave them his name and place and occupation, and was at once known by some of the party; that they then, upon his promise of secrecy, and leaving the place and pushing out of the way, revealed to him their plot of cleaning out the whole Platte Valley, that these forty men were only spies sent forward by 500 braves encamped up the river, to make observations and report the best points of attack; that, after promising secrecy, the thing looked to him so horrible that he felt bound to let us know, so that we could prepare for the emergency. Thus, reporting to a few who were at the time working at the little mill over there, and also to Mr. Barnum, he pushed on up the road. This rumor went that afternoon up and down the valley by telegraph, and by runners on swift ponies; also to the German and Irish settlements on Shell Creek. A few of the bolder class made a cautious reconnoissance up and down the rivers that afternoon, and for several days following, but found no decided traces of the lurking foe. The stampede from Wood River began to cross the Loup and pour down the valley into and much of it onward through Columbus. The whole country was wild with alarm. The settlers came pouring in that evening. But next day it was a sight strange and painful indeed; for hither came nearly every living being and thing -- men, women and children, with food and bed; cattle and horses -- pell-mell, crowding into the little village and filling every square yard of space in the buildings and in the gardens and streets. That day an organization of Home Guards was effected, with captain, lieutenants, corporals and all. Sentinels were posted at night, and patrols were sent abroad through the day. And so, for ten dreadful days and nights Columbus -- that is, the old town -- with Mrs. Baker's hotel as headquarters, was garrisoned and guarded -- a promiscuous mass of men and brutes huddled together within a little stockade of fenceposts,



set edge to edge in a trench. The belief in a present actual raid of the reds was not strong or general, but in such case of danger, so appalling in its nature, however uncertain in its degree, apprehension is fearful and suspense dreadful. During the day it was quite endurable, for no approach of the foe could be without due notice, and even a strong force would be received with telling effect. But when the evening shadows fell, anxiety marked every face, and even stout hearted men acknowledged their solicitude.

  "Below Columbus, very few left their premises, for that point was quite an outpost of defense, where Mr. Lo and his braves would be welcomed, should they come 'with bloody hands to hospitable graves.' Many, however, sent their wives and children down the valley to Fremont, Elkhorn and Omaha, the men remaining to guard their huts by day, and dream at night of scalping knives, etc.

  "The spring of 1864 marked a new era in the history of the plains and introduced a new feature in our frontier warfare. To protect the surveys then being made for the proposed line of the Union Pacific Railroad, the Government established a line of military posts all the way to the mountains. By presents and a wholesale free pass on freight cars, the company made fast friends of the Pawnee tribe, and an order was issued by the Government, at the request of the company, for recruiting a company of Pawnee scouts to operate along the line, in concert with and auxiliary to the regular troops. The honor of commanding this new force was given to Frank North, one of the earliest settlers of Columbus. With the title of major, he selected his subordinates -- captain, lieutenant and others -- from the hardy young men of Columbus, his trusted associates, giving some of the lower offices to the Pawnees. Together they made a formidable force and became a terror to the hostile tribes."

  The Home Guard which was organized consisted of J. S. Taylor, captain; E. W. Arnold, first lieutenant; J. A. Baker, second lieutenant; J. B. Beebe, orderly sergeant. J. L. Martin, later of Merrick County, dubbed the military stockade at Grand Island "Fort Sauer Kraut," that at Columbus "Sock-it-to 'Em," and at Elkhorn, "Fort Skedaddle."


  The patriotic devotion of Nebraskans to the cause of the Union during the dark days of 1861 to 1865 forms a most interesting section of this work, as it does of the military history of all loyal states and territories.



  A casual glance at the statistics furnished by the war department might create the impression among those not posted in the matter that Nebraska was remiss in doing its duty to the country in the hour of peril. The number of troops furnished, it is true, was small. The fact must, however, be borne in mind that the territory, at the outbreak of the Civil war, although embracing a vast amount of country within its limits, was decidedly poor in population, there being, according to the census of 1860, but 28,841 white inhabitants to occupy its 125,994 square miles of area. Of this small handful of people, there entered into military operations during the progress of the war, 3,307 men -- about one-ninth of the entire population. Considering its resources therefore, it will be seen that Nebraska gave not only reasonably, but generously.

  The spirit of loyalty to the Union which characterized the people of Nebraska was intense. The stormy days of the border troubles had strengthened them in their adherence to the spirit of the Constitution. In the exposition of this feeling, a few quotations may not be out of place.

  On the 14th of November, 1860, after the canvass of the returns announced Lincoln's election to the presidency, the Omaha Republican spoke editorially as follows anent the rapidly complicating political issues of the day:

  "In the election of Lincoln, the republicans have performed a conscientious duty; they have achieved a brilliant triumph in the success of a noble principle, and now we await with considerable interest the result. Previous to the late elections, southern politicians made frequent and bitter threats of secession in case of Lincoln's election. Will they do it now? Speaking for ourselves, we must candidly say that we feel but little apprehension of such a result. The present is not the only time that the fanatical spirit of the South has broken out in open threats of secession and nullification; and it is our belief that the present state of agitation will end in equally as harmless a manner as those which have arisen before. * * *

  "To South Carolina we look for the inauguration of this movement, if it occurs; and she falters, hesitates and appears frightened at the peril of her position. The leading secessionists urge that immediate action must be taken; that the people must not wait for an overt act on the part of Mr. Lincoln. And yet South Carolina trembles while she gazes into the yawning abyss which stands ready to receive her at the first decisive step; she dare not brave the peril to which this movement would subject her. * * *



  "It is an easy matter to dissolve this Union on paper and in windy resolutions, but practically as South Carolina learned in Calhoun's time, great and insurmountable obstacles stand in the way."

  Again, January 2, 1861, the Republican said: "On the 4th of March, Mr. Lincoln will be inaugurated. Then the people will be at ease; public confidence will return; treason will be promptly rebuked; the Constitution respected; the laws enforced and the Union preserved. The only anxiety felt by the people is for the few remaining months of Buchanan's term."

  The bill for the abolition of slavery in the territory was passed by the Legislature on the 10th of December, 1860. Three weeks later it was returned to that body unsigned by Governor Black, accompanied by an elaborate veto message setting forth his views of the constitutionality of the slave traffic. It is but justice to state, however, in this connection, that the governor, although an advocate of slavery, did not indorse secession, and his death two years later, while gallantly leading a brigade of troops to battle, gave ample evidence of his loyalty to the Union.

  In commenting upon Governor Black's message, the Hon. T. W. Tipton, of Nemaha County, then a member of the council, made the following remarks: "In my humble opinion, this veto message is a most remarkable production -- remarkable on account of the pertinacity with which His Excellency follows up this question of human freedom with ponderous documents, earnest protests and unavailing entreaties. In its component parts, it is equally remarkable, whether you consider it a system of dove-tailed fallacies, special pleadings or sublimated foolishness. If His Excellency had a mint of gold with which to bribe this Legislature, and we possessed all the logical acumen and captivating eloquence of our race; were we willing to receive the one and exert the other, we could neither give dignity to this document nor force to its conclusions. The honest hearts of our constituents would consign us for our efforts, to everlasting political infamy."

  Messrs. Strickland, Goss and Belden also spoke spiritedly and at length on the bill, which, notwithstanding the gubernatorial veto, was passed, the council voting 10 to 3 and the House 33 to 2, in its favor.

  The news of the fall of Fort Sumter evoked intense enthusiasm and an unbounded spirit of loyalty throughout the territory. In Omaha the stars and stripes were hoisted upon the territorial capitol, the postoffice, hook and ladder building and many stores and private dwellings. Business was for a time neglected; the situation was



earnestly discussed and public gatherings held. Immediate steps were taken to lend all possible aid to the general government, and the formation of two companies of infantry, one of dragoons and a squad of artillery was commenced in the city.

  The first material evidence of the inauguration of war was seen on the 23d of April, when two companies of United States troops arrived in Omaha from Fort Kearney, en route to Leavenworth and the front. They encamped at the steamboat landing for a day, awaiting the arrival of a transport. Meanwhile, local preparations went hurriedly on. The infantry and dragoon companies drilled nightly and were in a short time enabled to report their ranks filled.

  Governor Black appointed George F. Kennedy, of Florence, acting brigadier general of the First Brigade of Nebraska troops pending the organization and enrollment. On the 18th day of May Gov. Alvin Saunders, who had just succeeded to the executive chair, issued a proclamation calling for the immediate raising and equipment of a regiment of infantry, that being the quota assigned to the territory under the first call for troops.


  Whereas, the President of the United States has issued his proclamation, calling into the service of the United States an additional volunteer force of infantry and cavalry, to serve three years unless sooner discharged; and the secretary of war having assigned one regiment to the Territory of Nebraska: Now, therefore, I, Alvin Saunders, governor of the Territory of Nebraska, do issue this proclamation, and hereby call upon the militia of the territory immediately to form, in the different counties, volunteer companies, with a view of entering the service of the United States under the aforesaid call. Companes, when formed, will proceed to elect a captain and two lieutenants. The number of men required in each company will be made known as soon as the instructions are received from the War Department, but it is supposed now that it will not be less than seventy-eight men. As soon as a company has formed and has elected its officers, the captain will report the same to the adjutant general's office. Efforts are being made to trample the stars and stripes--the emblem of our liberties in the dust. Traitors are in the land, busily engaged in trying to overthrow the Government of the United States, and information has been received that these same traitors are endeavoring to incite an invasion of our frontier by a savage foe. In view
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of these facts, I invoke the aid of every lover of his country and his home to come promptly forward to sustain and protect the same.

        Done at Omaha, this 18th day of May, 1861.

SpacerBy the Governor,
A. S. PADDOCK, Secretary of Nebraska.SpacerALVIN SAUNDERS.

  This appeal was responded to somewhat slowly, the obstacle being that the territory was without means of defraying the expense of keeping the men in readiness until the entire regiment was mustered into service. Under the provisions then in force, the state or territory was obliged to stand the expense of maintenance until the regiments were ready to be turned over to the general Government. To obviate this difficulty, Governor Saunders requested of the War Department that the several companies might be turned over as fast as recruited, thus relieving the territory of the extra cost.


  In 1860 Platte County was sparsely settled and Columbus was the only trading point within its borders worthy of mention. The census showed there were less than eight hundred people in the whole county and, owing to the Civil war and restless Indian tribes, the increase in population was of no great consequence during the next five years. It was, therefore, not possible for Columbus or Platte County to figure in the great conflict between the states, to the extent that any special notice was taken of the few of her valiant sons, who took up arms to fight down rebellion and maintain the integrity of the Union. Telegraphic communication with the outside world had not been established when the war broke out and mail service was by pony express. So that, reports of the rapid advance of events in the controversy between the National Government and the recalcitrant states below Mason & Dixon's line, filtered into the settlement on the plains some little time after they had culminated in results fatal to the preservation of national peace.

  As a matter of course, the people of Platte County were loyal friends of the Union. Many of them left monarchial countries to become citizens of the republic and enjoy free institutions. They were stanch supporters of the Government.

  It is practically impossible to determine, even from the adjutant-general of the state's report, the names of all from Platte County



who served in the War of the Rebellion, few as they were. The mustering officer, in most instances, noted the name and place of nativity of the recruit and failed to make note of his place of residence. Another reason for the difficulty in making a complete list is that a number of men went from Platte County into the service and were not collectively identified with any one regiment or company, so that their names have been lost among organizations of the various states. However, through the kindness of James H. Galley, one of the few surviving members of the Second Nebraska Cavalry, the names of practically all the men who enlisted in the Second Nebraska Cavalry, from Platte County, have been supplied for this chapter. The Second was the only distinctive Nebraska organization in which Platte County finds a place in the history of the Civil war. The names, as given by Mr. Galley, follow.


Companies B and D

W. A. McAllister, George Lawrence, Company B; Edward Gerrard, Company D.

Company K

Henry Brown, J. H. Galley, John Hashberger, J. M. Hashberger, James Hudson, Luke Johnson, Philip Lowe, L. H. North, William Penn, Albert J. Skinner, James L. Skinner, Daniel W. Kitchen, Valentine H. Thomas, John Will, John Zeigler.


  Under the Grant administration a strong and practical peace policy was inaugurated in favor of the Indians, and the different agencies were grouped and assigned to several religious denominations, in order to get their cooperation in the work of advancement for the race. The Pawnees came under the Society of Friends, who had the selecting of agents and other appointees, subject to confirmation by the Government. Thus it came to pass that from among some score of applicants considered by the Baltimore Friends meeting, William Burgess was chosen as agent for the Pawnees (four allied bands), with agency headquarters at Genoa, Nance County, Nebraska,



or what was then known as the Pawnee reservation, a tract 15 by 30 miles in size, and intersected by the Loup River its entire length from west to east. The removal with his family from the peaceful environment of the old home in Pennsylvania to the then western wilds, there to take up the burden of official fatherhood over a semi-savage people, occurred in January, 1873. This was an eventful year in Indian affairs. The "advent of the Quakers" was confronted with open hatred and hostility by certain elements, political and otherwise, among the surrounding settlements, all of which tended to instill the Indians with prejudice and restlessness. There was evidence of concerted action upon the part of the whites to drive the Indians out in order to get their lands. The Indians went, eventually, but not at the bidding of their white neighbors of Platte County, but from causes that few of the whites in their arrogance even suspected. The Pawnees looked upon the encroaching settlements as an intolerable oppression, and, true Bedouins of the plains that they were, they became restless from their own initiative. To get away from their fatherland, where they were rapidly being cooped up like captives (the expression of one of their leaders), became their passionate longing. "To the Southland! To the Washita!" became their exultant cry. Two of the younger leaders -- Big Spotted Horse and Running Chief -- openly declared their independence of government and of everything that oppressed them; and against the strongest protests and threats of punishment from Agent Burgess they broke away with a following of 300, late in the summer, and headed for the Fort Sill region, across a country where every wandering tribe was their lifelong enemy, without commissariat, passport, escort, or right of way; and glory redounds to their names among the Pawnee people. In this same year, from far off California came news of the Modocs holding the United States troops at bay in the lava beds. This added to the general confusion. At the Pawnee agency it might have been appropriately called an uprising of the whites. The Pawnees were never hostile to any constituted authority. Agent Burgess soon found himself supported by stanch friends among the leading chiefs as well as among the whites. He overcame all obstacles though this trying period by his never failing courage and tact. Next came the grasshoppers in countless hordes to devastate and scourge. It was late in the season of this first summer of Agent Burgess' charge that the Pawnees met with a disastrous defeat in a battle with the allied bands of Sioux, Cheyennes and Arapahoes out in the region of the Republican River. In this unequal contest about sixty Pawnee



women and girls were massacred by their hereditary foes of the North. Thus many things conspired to augment the disaffection the Pawnees showed for their old haunts in Nebraska. In a grand council of all the chiefs and representative men, called by Agent Burgess, they voiced a unanimous protest against remaining in the North, and by impassioned speech and gesture declared their desire to join the tribes of the Southland --"To the Wichitas!" In the fall of 1874, under orders from Washington, Agent Burgess, accompanied by his son Harry E., made a tour of inspection through the Indian Territory preparatory to the removal of the Pawnee tribe the following year. A big caravan of Indians had started ahead of the agent and arrived at the Washita, in Southwestern Indian Territory, early in 1875. A council was held and subsequently the Pawnees became established on their new lands between the Cimarron and Arkansas (now Pawnee, Okla.), their present home. As a souvenir of this eventful journey, Mr. Burgess, the son, preserves a map of that section, made by his father in the camps of that then southern wilderness.

  Resigning from the Indian work in the late summer of 1877, Mr. Burgess removed with his family to Columbus, Neb. Having been in the newspaper business at different periods of his life -- editing the Wyoming Republican, at Tunkhannock, Pa., before the war, and later the Intelligencer at Belvidere, N. J., he now resumed the vocation and published the Columbus Gazette and later the Genoa Leader. Again, in 1882, he made a change of residence, this time going to Southern California. He located at National City, San Diego County, where he founded the Record. At this place he was also police judge and was secretary of the county board of education. Subsequently he resided in San Francisco, where he continued in editorial work. He contributed to a number of publications of the country. He was a member of Lincoln Post, G. A. R., of San Francisco. He was also a member of the Odd Fellows and had been an active Good Templar in his younger days. In 1897, accompanied by his wife, Mr. Burgess returned to Pennsylvania, where he made his home up to August, 1905. During that period he had a class in phonography for a time at the Carlisle Indian School, he having made a lifelong study of shorthand. Among his literary friends was the poet Whittier, with whom he had been a co-worker in the great antislavery movement, and like this great and good friend, whom he revered, Mr. Burgess, too, was ever ready with voice or pen to lend aid toward the betterment of humanity. In the latter part of 1905 he went to Chicago to make his home with his daughter and two sons



there. He was ever optimistic, and although in his eighty-third year, was possessed of remarkable energy, both mental and physical. He attended the Chicago Friends' meeting and after their custom was wont to break the silence upon occasion by a few well chosen words in testimony to the Light within, and the mind power of resignation to Nature's law and the supreme will of the Over Ruling Father. In November of the same year he succumbed to a sudden attack of intestinal trouble, and without great or prolonged suffering passed from this earthly life to his eternal reward. His mind remained keen and active to the very end. His was an exemplary life. He fought the good fight. He kept the good faith of the illustrious Fox and Penn. He shrank from no duty that lay before him, and ever kept the abiding faith in "the Divinity that shapes our end." At his death he was survived by six children and an only sister, his senior, Mrs. Mary Longshore, of Philadelpiha.

  In politics, Mr. Burgess was a stanch republican, but he ever maintained a conservative attitude, whether as editor or public speaker. He was moderate in all things. He knew no bias of class or race distinctions. His creed was to do right. He had charity for all and ever held out a helping hand to each humble toiler he met upon life's was. As the "father" (A-ti-us) of the Indian people, Agent Burgess was loved and revered by them. He ruled with a kindness and gentle firmness more potent than military regime. He was a man without fear and never carried firearms throughout his western career.

  His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth L. Burgess, daughter of Abram and Rhoda Longshore, was born in the year 1825, at Middletown, Bucks County, Pa., and died at Carlisle, Pa., August 30, 1900. Hers was a varied career. As a girl on the family homestead she was the strong support of her parents in their home industries. Educated in the best local schools, she became a teacher, in which vocation she continued after her marriage in 1846, and assisted her husband in the management of the Greenwood Seminary at Millville, Columbia County, Pa., whither they journeyed partly by stage and packet boat to Northumberland, en route, and thence by private conveyance to their destination. One sister, Anna M. Longshore-Potts, M. D., of San Diego, Cal., is the sole survivor of a large family of brothers and sisters. When her husband was appointed United States Indian agent for the Pawnees in Nebraska, Mrs. Burgess became superintendent of the manual labor school at Genoa, then a Government institution on the Pawnee reservation. After the removal of the tribe to the Indian Territory (1875), she continued her educational



work as village matron, instructing the native women in the practical arts -- sewing, baking, washing -- and leading them in the ways of economy, cleanliness and right living. After resigning from the Indian work she resided at Columbus, Neb., also at Genoa, and subsequently in California, at National City, and in San Francisco. In 1897 she returned with her husband to Pennsylvania, where she spent the remaining three years of her life. She studied medicine in Philadelphia, but did not make it her profession. A brother of Mrs. Burgess, Dr. Joseph S. Longshore, of Philadelphia, was one of the founders of the first woman's medical college of this country and was also an active worker in the temperance and anti-slavery movements. Among the noted and estimable women of that period, as her friendly associates, were Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Anna Dickinson, and others. Thomas Elwood Longshore, author of The Higher Criticism, was another brother, whose wife was Hannah E. Longshore, M. D., a prominent physician of Philadelphia. Mrs. Lucretia M. Blankenburg, president of the Pennsylvania Woman's Suffrage Association, is a niece. Mrs. Burgess was a woman of plain tastes and most careful habits. Naturally gifted with oratory, she was wont to speak in her later years at the Friends' meetings. The cardinal principle of her life was to do right. Revered by young persons, she in return cherished for them a romantic sentiment which lasted throughout her life. In her public utterances, her appeals to them, by stern though kindly admonitions to improve their minds and to lead useful lives, would touch their consciences with almost hypnotic power. She did not age in the ordinary sense. Her faculties remained keen and wondrously forceful to the very last. With husband and eldest son enlisted in the Civil war, Mrs. Burgess found herself face to face with conditions which called forth all her strength and heroism. Soon following this darkened period of trials she was called upon to aid in the enlightenment of the leading Indian tribe of Nebraska. She regarded them as a family of children. All fear and prejudice were eliminated from her plan of regeneration. The example of her own sterling character made a lasting impression on this primitive, sermi-barbarous people. In taking charge of the Genoa school, in 1873, she brought to bear the lofty principles of justice and morality. Things at the school were found in a rather stagnant condition. The appointment of Mrs. Burgess as superintendent was deemed advisable by influential members of the Friends. She instituted immediate reforms in all departments, and put in operation a rather aggressive policy of cleanliness and discipline. In the little



community comprising the agency forces there was discovered an undercurrent of hostility and even treacherous proceedings. This condition she met with coolness and courage. She triumphed over all obstacles and won the approbation of the controlling influences among Friends, under whose auspices she was acting. The manual labor school became prosperous and harmony prevailed. She taught the Indians to show consideration for their women and to be modest in their personal appearance and manners. Chiefs were requested not to come into her presence without shirts and covering for their bodies, with which terms they would cheerfully comply. Men would be induced to bear burdens for their wives and daughters, to please their "teacher-mother." Pedagogical instruction and moral training were the basic principles inaugurated at this Pawnee school at Genoa, in those early days, in the wilds of the Loup Valley. In her broad experience, from having been at home equally upon the Atlantic's or Pacific's shores, associating with the leaders of thought and reform, or attending the savage sick in the wigwams of the western wilds, she learned to look upon the sufferings of humanity as due to social evils--ignorance, greed and selfishness--all in perversion of the Divine plan; and she pronounced the taking of human life as legal punishment wrong in the sight of God and as but a showing of our own gilded barbarity. She saw in the Indian a creature of God's with a mind keenly susceptible of cultivation and a soul to save. She mingled with them freely, without fear or prejudice, and the Indians were wont to revere her as one divinely gifted, sent among them to lead them on the straight and peaceful way. Chiefs and warriors of the highest rank addressed her as "A-tira" (the Pawnee for mother) .

  Thanks to the potent influence of such lives, the theory of killing Indians to render them "good" no longer-finds advocates. The old Pawnee reservation has become one of the prosperous counties of Nebraska, named in honor of Governor Nance. The old school building stands on its original site, enlarged and improved, and the beneficent educational work so vigorously promoted under the administration of Mrs. Burgess still goes on; and associated with this old historic spot is the memory of a noble woman whom warrior, medicine man and chief deigned to call "our mother."

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