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Bluff, the site of the first Lewis and Clark Indian council,--five miles above Fort Lisa where it at once began work on the first United States military post in our state. For several years this post appears in the report of the secretary of war as Council Bluff,--later as Fort Atkinson in honor of its first commander and finally when Nebraska is organized as a territory the town located on the site is known as Fort Calhoun. From 1819 to 1827 this is the center of Nebraska life and activity. Lisa, the early ruler of the region, is dead and his post is moved to Bellevue. At Council Bluff is an army of 600 to 1,000 soldiers, besides a host of traders and hangers-on. Hither came the distant tribes of the plains to get a glimpse of the military strength of the great father. Caravans were made up here which went as far as Santa Fe. Here came in 1824 an expedition of 26 Spaniards from the Rio Grande and Arkansas to make peace with the Pawnees who raided that far away. Through Major O'Fallon's influence the peace was made. Steamers going up the Missouri made this one of their principal stopping places. Here farming was first carried on in Nebraska by white men. Colonel Leavenworth in command of the post wrote John C. Calhoun, secretary of war, on August 30, 1823: "Our spring wheat has done well and all our crops are very good." In another letter he says they have raised enough crop to feed an extra regiment which it was proposed to send there. Here, also, was the first civilized cemetery. Over one hundred soldiers died the first year of scurvy and beyond doubt many others in the years which followed. Here was military and naval headquarters during the hostilities known in our early annals as "the Arickaree War of 1823." This war was brought on by an attack of the Arickaree Indians, who then lived in two large villages in South Dakota where the Grand river meets the Missouri, upon General Ashley's company of boatmen and trappers bound for the upper Missouri. Fourteen trappers were killed and nine wounded. The fight took place June 2. The news reached Council Bluff June 18th and June 22nd six companies of the Sixth infantry with two six-pounder cannon left the fort under command of Colonel Leavenworth and started up the river by steamboat. Joshua Pilcher, who had taken the place of Manuel Lisa in management of the Missouri Fur company, got together forty white frontiersmen, took another cannon from the fort at Council Bluff, collected about five hundred Sioux allies and came on in two other boats. Other parties of trappers and Indians joined and the whole army numbering eleven hundred men with four cannon appeared in front of the Arickaree villages August 8 The Arickarees were calculated to have about eight hundred warriors and had surrounded their villages with a wall of wood and dirt. After two days of skirmishing in which the Arickarees lost twenty or thirty killed and the whites but two wounded while the Sioux had two killed and seven wounded the Arickarees escaped at night and their villages were burned. The expedition returned to Council Bluff with a very bitter feeling between Colonel Leavenworth and Pilcher over the conduct of the campaign. It is thirty years after this before another Indian war affects Nebraska.

     Fort Atkinson or Council Bluff was abandoned as a military post in 1827, the troops going to Fort Leavenworth which thenceforth becomes headquarters for the Santa Fe trade and the plains Indians. Although three-quart-



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Coins Found on the Site of Old Fort Atkinson

ers of a century has passed the evidence of human activity at this first Nebraska fort are still abundant. Great piles of brick and stone still cover the soil and every year the farmer's plow and gardener's rake bring to light evidence of those pioneer days. Probably near a hundred gold, silver and copper coins have been found there and thousands of military buttons and tools. Marked as the site of the first Indian council and first United States fort in Nebraska it will become in the centuries to be the great early historic spot within our borders.

      With the departure of the military in 1827 the Indian, Indian trader and Indian agent were left the masters of Nebraska. But a new epoch was at hand-that of the overland wagon trail, the missionary, the school. The early expeditions across our soil,--military, scientific, commercial,--were made on horseback or on foot. There has been dispute who was the first pioneer to make a wagon trail across the state. The honor seems to belong to William L. Sublette who left St. Louis April 10, 1830, with eighty-one men on mules, ten wagons loaded with goods and drawn by five mules each, two dearborns with one mule each, twelve head of cattle and one milch cow. The route was, in the main, the one later known as the Oregon Trail,--up the Big Blue, the Little Blue, the Big Sandy, across the divide to the Platte and up the North Platte. Sublette's party arrived in the Wind river country July 16th and returned to St. Louis the same fall bringing back their ten wagons loaded with furs and the milch cow. A picture of. that cow herself which made the trip from the Missouri to the Wind river mountains and back would be worthy a place in a gallery of Nebraska pioneers.

     After the Sublette wagon trail came that of Captain Benjamin Bonneville. Bonneville left the Missouri river near Independence, Missouri, on May Day, 1832, with an outfit of 110 men and forty wagons, bound for Pierre's Hole in the Wind river country. His route was up the Kansas river, across the divide to the Big Blue, up the Little Blue and Big Sandy and across the divide to the Platte which he struck about twenty-five miles below the head of Grand Island,--thence crossing the Platte near the forks up the North Platte, past Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff to the Laramie fork where he arrived June 26. 'Washington Irving has told his story, more in the form of a romance than of history, in his "Adventures



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Chimney Rock

of Captain Bonneville," and claimed for him the honor of first blazing the wagon track which soon after became the Oregon Overland Trail. After Bonneville came Nathaniel J. Wyeth, who followed Bonneville with a train of pack horses in the summer of 1832, crossed the mountains to Oregon and arrived at the mouth of the Columbia in October. In 1833 he returned to Massachusetts, but April 28, 1834, found him starting again from the Missouri river with a company of seventy men and two hundred and fifty horses on their way to Oregon. In the party were two scientists. Thomas Nuttall (whom we have met before) and J. K. Townsend. There are also five missionaries, among them Jason and Henry Lee. This party entered Nebraska May 12 in what is now Pawnee county and passed out of the present state June 1 when it reached Laramie fork, where it found a party of trappers building the first stockade which was afterward to become so noted as Fort Laramie. This expedition begins the real Oregon emigrant movement across the plains and continued in the general course taken two years' before,--up the Blues and Big Sandy, across the divide to the Platte and up the North Platte to South Pass.

     On November 18, 1833, Rev. Moses P. Merrill and wife, the first missionaries to Nebraska arrived at Bellevue. They found there John Daugherty, United States Indian agent, his brother Hannibal, sub-agent, Gilmore and LaFlesche, government blacksmiths, Lucien Fontenelle, a French trader, Charlo the interpreter, and half a dozen other white families or rather families with a white father and Indian mother. Joshua Pilcher was in charge of Cabanne's old trading post about a mile below the site of Fort Lisa and Roubidoux had a trading station up the Platte about twenty miles, near the principal Otoe village. An old log house whose floor was piled with dirt the rats had brought in was the missionary home. It was cleaned and here, on November 25, 1833, the first. Nebraska school began with Mrs. Merrill as teacher. The scholars were half breed and Indian children. A Sabbath school conducted by Mr. Merrill was begun the same week. One of the features of both schools was singing and in a few weeks, the melody of religious hymns from the lips of

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