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crats in their platform asserted that this was "a white man's government." Temperance agitation was already active in the new state. Lodges of Good Templars were being organized in many counties. Their agitation had alarmed the German voters who had very largely been republicans in the struggle against slavery. A plank was adopted by the republican state convention which opposed all prohibitory laws. Before the convention adjourned it was reconsidered and stricken out. The democratic state convention held later adopted the identical plank thus stricken out. This incident indicated the policy of the two parties upon the liquor question for the next thirty years,--the republican party, with a large and aggressive temperance element in its ranks which persistently agitated the subject, trying to avoid any definite declaration or action in order to retain both the liquor votes and the temperance votes; while the democratic party uniformly opposed temperance agitation and anti-liquor laws, thereby especially aiming to unite to their organization the foreign born citizens. The election returns simply clinched the fact that Nebraska had become reliably republican, the republican candidate. for governor--David Butler--having 8,514 votes while the democratic candidate, J. R. Porter, had 6,349.

      The Union Pacific railroad was completed across the continent May 10, 1869,--thus realizing visions of a long line of Nebraska editors, orators and commonwealth-builders. The road had been incorporated by act of congress July 1, 1862. On December 2, 1863, ground was broken at Omaha upon receipt of a telegram from President Lincoln designating the "western boundary of Iowa, opposite Omaha as the eastern terminus. This was the end of a long fight by rival points on the Missouri river. On March 13, 1866, the first completed section of the road,--from Omaha to North Bend, -was opened to traffic. That fall it was completed to Grand Island and the next year beyond the western boundary of the state. In 1876 the Omaha and Republican Valley branch was in process of construction, and between 1870 and 1879 the St. Joseph & Grand Island track completed between those two cities, and became a part of the Union Pacific system.

      The Burlington road was opened to Council Bluffs January 17, 1870. In 1871 the track from Plattsmouth to Lincoln was completed and September 15, 1872, the main line was finished to Kearney. The Midland Pacific, from Nebraska City to Lincoln, was built in 1871. In 1874 it was extended to Seward. Hard times came on, the road was sold under mortgage, acquired by the Burlington and constructed to Columbus and Central City in 1880.

      The Northwestern line had its beginnings in these days. In 1871 the Sioux City & Pacific was built from Blair to Fremont and in 1881, under the name of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valey (sic), extended to Long Pine and Creighton. The Omaha & Northwestern, from Omaha to DeSoto, was constructed by an Omaha company in 1870, sold under mortgage in 1878, and absorbed by the present Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha.

     From the close of the war and especially from the time of her admission as a state a deep, strong tide of immigration had set in to Nebraska. For near ten years there was an unbroken line of white topped ships of the prairie crossing the Missouri river to cast anchor on some quarter section of Nebraska



land. When the census of 1870 was taken, although her territory had been reduced nearly onehalf since 1860 her population had increased from 28,841 to 122,933 and her wealth from $9,000,000 to more than $69,000,000. The location of the state capital at Lincoln had greatly stimulated settlement in southern Nebraska and by 1870 the fertile valley lands of the Blue river system of streams had largely been taken up and later comers were venturing out upon the "divides" away from the rivers. Log houses were the rule for the early settlers in the valleys, but the scant fringe of trees along the water courses would not furnish timber for such structures upon the prairie and for the next decade the typical home was a sod house or a dugout; often a combination of dugout and sod house served as a home for the family while a similar one a few yards away sheltered the stock from the winter winds. The district school houses were generally of sod, built in a single day by the united labor of the district and sometimes dedicated by a dance which raised enough money
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First Dwelling in Lincoln. Homestead of Judge Lavender,
15th and O Street, 1867

to furnish the window glass and stove, leaving the district free from debt. The space protected by these root-bound walls and dirt roof was the religious, social and political, as well as educational, center of the community. The lyceum, the preaching service and, later, the grange meetings were held here and influences set in action which directed the future destiny of the state.

     The spirit of speculation was strong in the souls of the swarms of new settlers who came and saw, as in prophetic vision, the unmeasured possibilities of the rich prairie soil ready for the breaking plow. This spirit ruled the legislatures as well as the cross-roads conversation of the next few years. Everywhere the public mind was feasted upon prospects of new railroads, county seat towns, manufacturing schemes. The legislature of 1869, in sympathy with this sentiment passed an act permitting towns, precincts and counties to vote bonds to the amount of ten per cent of their assessed valuation in aid of railroad and other projects. Five hundred thousand acres



of land had been given to the state by the federal government for internal improvements. An act was passed offering to any railroad that should build track in Nebraska, during the next five years, 20,000 acres of land for each ten miles of road built and equipped, not more than 100,000 acres to be acquired by any one road. A new revenue law was passed with a number of changes from the old territorial one. The University of Nebraska was set in motion by the act of February 15, 1889. In those early days when any new arrival from the east skeptically inquired what there was at Lincoln to make a city he was taken down to the salt basin and shown the white crust which covered the top of the soil there during dry weather. Then he was bidden to take a lead pencil and figure how many million barrels of salt would be required every year to salt the population that was filling the prairies. In harmony with all this the legislature of 1869 passed an act providing for the lease of the salt basin to A. C. Tichenor and others, on condition that they immediately invest not
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First Business Block in Lincoln. Built 1868, Corner 10th and O Streets.

less than $5,000 in a salt manufacturing plant and pay the state a royalty of two cents upon every bushel of salt made. The enormous state revenue that would soon accrue from this salt proposition was one of the gilded pictures of those early days.

     How to farm and raise stock at the same time and in the same neighborhood upon the rich, treeless prairies presented a problem that was solved March 4, 1870, by the enactment of the first general herd law for the state. This act made every stock owner responsible for damage done by his animals and left the homesteader free to plant his crop with no other fence than the skyline. The same legislature, not satisfied with the continual stream of new Nebraskans pouring into the state, set out to seek for them in the east and across the seas by providing for a board of immigration with an appropriation of money to print and send abroad in as many foreign languages as was thought advisable, circulars describing the advantages of Nebraska and inviting foreign born people to come here to better their condi-



tion. Congress was memorialized, so early as this, to provide the people of the United States with a postal telegraph system, an act was passed giving married women the right to carry on their own business, hold property, sue and be sued, independent of their husbands. The fifteenth amendment was ratified and a bounty of fifteen cents per head was offered for pocket gophers. Some of the small boys of that time, barefooted and freckled, who had never been the owners of fifteen cents in the whole course of their mortal lives, retain to this day vivid recollections of what mines of wealth were visible to their eyes in every gopher mound, after the passage of this beneficent act. The Nebraska senators and representatives in congress were instructed to vote against any more appropriations of money for improvements at Washington in the full expectation, as the resolution recited, that the capital of the United States would very soon be moved west into the Mississippi valley. Indeed there were not lacking those who freely prophesied that it would be located at Lincoln, in order to be near the immense supplies of salt shortly to be manufactured at the salt
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Lincoln in 1870

basin. This instruction, it may be remarked, has never been repealed by any subsequent legislature.

     The great political event which shook the fabric of Nebraska society in 1871 was the impeachment of Governor Butler. As one of the commissioners who had located the capital and provided the first state buildings, Governor Butler had occasion more than once to act outside the law in order to attain the object sought. In fact, the theory which in these early days, governed the action of officials to a large degree was, when anything seemed desirable, to go ahead and do it and look around for legal authority for the action afterward. In time this was bound to bring trouble, and so in February, 1871, the Nebraska house of representatives presented articles of impeachment to the senate against Governor Butler and Auditor Gillespie. There was a long list of charges against the governor, alleging that he had demanded boodle money from several contractors upon public buildings for the state, but the charge-in-chief was that he had taken over $16,000 from the state five per cent fund paid by the federal government and converted

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