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Falls of Arikaree in Cherry County

     There was no delay by the ruling interests in the new state to act upon the situation. Governor David Butler issued his proclamation convening the legislature to meet at Omaha in extra session May 16, 1867. Some forty different subjects were enumerated by him for the legislature to consider. In brief they were to construct a new system of law and administration for the state. Now was the opportunity of the South Platte to assume control of affairs and visit long delayed vengeance on the city of Omaha. With a South Platte governor and a majority of both houses from the same region the task was not hard. A bill to re-locate the seat of government was quickly passed,--in the senate by a vote of 8 to 5, in the house by 25 to 14. Three commissioners, --Governor David Butler, Secretary of State Thomas P. Kennard, and Auditor John Gillespie,--were appointed with power to locate the capital, the state university and the state penitentiary, somewhere in Lancaster, Seward, or the southern half of Butler and Saunders counties. They were empowered to acquire title, survey and sell lots in the new capital city and with the proceeds erect the necessary state buildings. On July 29, 1867, the three commissioners unanimously chose the present site, whose name by the terms of the act was to be Lincoln. It was a bold enterprise to lay off a capital city on a naked prairie, miles west of any compact settlement and expect to sell enough lots to erect expensive and permanent public buildings. The commissioners were equal to the emergency. Auction sale of lots began September 17 at Lincoln. The first day's auction was a failure. The commissioners, determined to succeed, "arranged" for bids the following day. It may well be doubted, however, whether the experiment would have proven a success if it had not been for the active support of the people of Nebraska



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Site of Peter A. Sarpy Trading Post Near Bellevue

City. Nebraska City votes in the legislature had passed the act and now Nebraska City capital came to the front for the purchase of Lincoln lots,--after the three commissioners, to prevent an impending failure in the sales, had risked their own capital by becoming bidders.

      Work on the new state house,--costing $68,000,--was begun in December, 1867, and it was far enough advanced for occupation the December following. The commissioners were required by law to deposit the funds received with the state treasurer--to be drawn out by warrant in payment for building contracts. It became noised about that the enemies of Lincoln intended to enjoin the treasurer from paying out the funds. The commissioners thereupon disobeyed the law and kept the funds in their own hands. Altogether the state realized about $300,000 from its sales of Lincoln real estate, of which $76,715 was received the first year.

      Other events in 1867 were the location of a state normal school at Peru, a visitation by grasshoppers in June which did considerable damage, the beginning of a geological survey by F. V. Hayden in the employ of the United States government, the enactment of a registration law requiring all voters to register and the enactments of a new common school law which made some radical changes, giving to the people in each school district the taxing power for the support of their own school. The Sioux and Cheyenne Indian war which had ravaged the plains in 1864 and 1865 broke out again. A party of Indians supposed to be Cheyennes threw a Union Pacific freight train from the track at Plum Creek, killed the engineer, fireman and five other men, burned the train and escaped without punishment.

     The year 1868 was presidential election year. The republican party declared itself in favor of the reconstruction measures and the pending Fifteenth amendment, while the demo-

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