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Lewis and Clarke Point

some low ground with a heavy timber consisting of oak, elm, honey locust, coffee nut and red cedar. This low ground was long ago cut away by the Missouri current. There is now a bold rock promotory (sic) jutting into the river which the writer has named "Lewis and Clark Point." September 5th the expedition passed the mouth of the Ponca river and so beyond the present limits of our state. It had spent two mouths navigating the eastern shore of the state, held two important councils with the Indian tribes, made a record of the soil, the general character of the plant and animal life, and the conditions of navigation. It was the opening of the west to Anglo-Saxon energy and enterprise and led to the early location of numerous trading posts in Nebraska.

     The second American exploring party to reach Nebraska was that of Lieutenant Pike who left St. Louis on July 15, 1806, with a force of twenty-three men, arrived in the Republican valley and held a grand council with the chiefs of the Republican Pawnees on September 29, of the same year. A force of 400 Spanish cavalry had visited the Pawnee village just a few days before, left many presents and a large Spanish flag floating at the door of the principal chief's lodge. Pike ordered the flag taken down and the American flag run up in its stead. The Pawnees at first refused, but when Pike took a determined attitude with his little detachment they obeyed. In the summer of 1901 the state of Kansas erected a monument to mark this event, about eight miles south of Hardy, Nebraska, on a hill overlooking the Republican valley. It is an open question whether Pike's action was not taken in this state. The official correspondence indicates clearly that he was north of the state line. This was the last Spanish military expe-



dition into the Nebraska country and was made for the purpose of conciliating the Indians to secure their trade at Santa Fe and to hold their allegiance to the King of Spain.

     The time for the first permanent settlement in Nebraska was near at hand. The very week that Lieutenant Pike was striking the Spanish flag in the Pawnee village, Lewis and Clark arrived in St. Louis after more than two year's absence. The summit of the Rocky mountains had been crossed; the shores of the sunset ocean had been seen. The news they brought stirred the spirit of adventure and commercial enterprise. There was room for both in the new empire and at last there was a sympathetic, responsible home government to sustain both. Manuel Lisa, the leading spirit of young Nebraska appeared on the scene. Born of Spanish parents in New Orleans he had been for some years at St. Louis. In the spring of 1807 he formed a partnership with George Drouillard, a Frenchman who had made the

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Lewis and Clarke Memorial Boulder

trip to Oregon with Lewis and Dark to engage in the Missouri river Indian trade. They had a capital of $16,000. They came up the river that summer and again in 1808 establishing trading posts as far up as the Big Horn river. In 1809 the Missouri Fur Company was organized by Lisa and a number of others with a capital of $40,000. Lisa was field manager. Every year he traveled thousands of miles in the Indian country in pursuit of trade. He became the best known white man to all the Missouri river tribes. Some time about 1810 or 1812 he founded Fort Lisa, about ten miles above Omaha, just where the Nebraska bluffs jut farthest to the east presenting a promontory that was the most striking mark on the river front. The river washed the bluff in those days exposing its foundation of solid limestone. Here was the first commercial center of Nebraska. The Omaha, Otoe, Pawnee and loway tribes came here to trade. In 1812 the second war with Great Britain broke out.

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@ 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller