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Snake River Falls,--Twenty Feet Fall

sion was marked by acrimonious debate and a bitter fight over the United States senatorship resulting in the selection of A. S. Paddock by a combination of democratic and republican votes. A resolution to expunge the impeachment record standing against Governor Butler was carried after a heated controversy. The governor had turned over 3,400 acres of land to the state in settlement of the $16,000 state money which he had used. The land sold for enough to discharge the entire debt with interest. A new revenue bill providing, among other things, that the railroads of the state should not be assessed for less than $10,000 per mile, was vetoed by Governor Garber, and failed to pass over the veto. New stay and exemption laws were passed, more liberal to the debtors. And, finally, an act was passed providing for a constitutional convention, consisting of 69 members, who should be elected by the people on the first Tuesday in April, and meet upon the second Tuesday in May.

      It was in a frontier society, in a state without adequate revenue, with uncollected taxes, with matured and unpaid debts, among a people visited by Pharaoh's locust plague, with distress in their homes and discontent in public gatherings that the convention met at Lincoln on May 12th, 1875, to frame the present constitution of Nebraska,--sometimes denominated the "Grasshopper Constitution."

      The making of the constitution has been treated by the writer of this sketch in a separate monograph soon to be published.

      The main points of controversy in the convention were salaries of public officials, taxation--and particularly taxation of corporations,--the liability of stock-holders, the location of the state capital at Lincoln, the question of a preference vote by the people for United States senators, and of limiting state and municipal debt. The results of the convention's struggles and controversies are embodied in our present organic document, which it is likely will remain as such for years to come. The constitutional convention adjourned June 12, 1875, and the constitution was submitted to the people at the election held October 12th. It was adopted by vote of 30,202 for, and 5,474 against. The specially submitted proposition relating to United States senators was carried by 25,059 for, and 6,270 against; The proposition locating the capital at Lincoln, until removed by vote of the people, prevailed by 20,042 for, and 12,517 against.

     The years 1878 and 1879 were marked in Nebraska, as elsewhere in the Union, by slow, painful recovery from the effects of the panic of 1873. It was a period of foreclosures, and what the financial world politely styles "liquidation." The voice of the tax collector was heard in the land. The ruling rates for short time loans in the farming districts were from 2 to 4 per cent a month. The foundation laid by the granges for independent political action



rose upward in the superstructure of the greenback party, which elected a great many local officers, and carried some counties in the state. At the election of 1878 Albinus Nance, republican, received 29,469 votes, W. H. Webster, democrat, 13,473, and Levi G. Todd, greenbacker, 9,475. Both the democratic and republican platforms denounced the demonetization of silver and demanded the restoration of its free coinage, the democratic platform going a step farther and standing for an additional issue of legal tender greenbacks by the government to replace the national bank notes. The legislature of 1879 passed the first Nebraska act defining a tramp and prescribing a punishment for him. It established the state reform school at Kearney, and began the rebuilding of the capitol by an appropriation of $75,000 for the west wing.

     The decade of Nebraska life which began with 1880 marks the restoration of hopeful and prosperous conditions in the state. The country as a whole was emerging from a long nightmare of depression, which followed the panic of 1873. In Nebraska the people were struggling out of the dugout and sod house stage of existence into frame houses. The unfortunates who had been closed out during the hard times had generally moved on toward the setting sun to begin over again, while their old homesteads were eagerly purchased at the prevailing prices by enterprising emigrants from the middle west who at once began an era of improvement. The federal census showed the population had increased from 122,983 in 1870 to 452,022 in 1880. Wealth increased from $69,000,000 to $385,000,000. An era of railroad building, the most active the state had seen, began and continued through the decade. The great feature of Nebraska life for the ten years

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Cowboys Branding Cattle.

which followed 1880, was the settlement of her western plains. For twenty-five years, by common consent, the western third of the state had been regarded as unfit for any agriculture. Isolated ranches had located in some of the beautiful valleys where free range gave the ranchmen unlimited opportunities for grazing. Very early in the decade the last bunch of buffalo disappeared from Nebraska soil, and the last hands of wandering Indians who had subsisted upon them were glad to seek the shelter of the United States Indian Agency and eat government beef. For ten years the government lands in the eastern half of the state had been culled over by the later immigrants who were compelled to take the rougher and poorer tracts remaining. No one had thought, apparently, of venturing on the high table lands of the west to farm. Suddenly, as if by a common impulse, the line of homesteaders and pre-empters broke through into the cattle country. In the remote valleys, among the sandhills, on the edge of canyons along the Niobrara, and even upon the mountainous table lands of Sioux and Kimball counties appeared as if by magic, the settler's sod house



and strip of breaking. This was not accomplished without conflict nor even without bloodshed between the cattlemen and the homesteaders. The settlers were everywhere told by the cattlemen that the country dried up in July and that it was impossible to raise a crop without irrigation. To the intense disgust and astonishment of the same cattlemen a cycle of rainy years arrived with the homesteaders. Crops grew famously everywhere, wheat yielding thirty bushels to the acre, corn thirty to forty, and all kinds of vegetables enormously, whether upon the gumbo lands of the 'White River valley, or the high table lands of Box Butte and Perkins. Along with this rush of homesteaders went the extension of the Northwestern railroad to the Black Hills, the completion of the Burlington to Denver and the Big Horn country, and the driving of helds (sic) of elk and deer and antelope, with the great cattle outfits, before the advancing line of farmers and town-builders. When the decade ended Nebraska was settled to her
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Nebraska Elk on Farm of John Gilbert, Friend, Nebraska.

farthest borders. At the same time with the extension of farming over western Nebraska, came a great development of manufacturing in the eastern part of the state. The great packing and stockyard center at South Omaha was developed. The first beet sugar factory was erected at Grand Island. The production of multitudes of different manufactured articles, which had formerly been imported from the east, was begun in Nebraska.

     Nebraska's third speculative fever and real estate boom accompanied this new material progress. It was a period of borrowing. The supply of eastern money to be had on real estate security was unlimited. Loan agents flourished in every hamlet, and, not content with ordinary routine business, drove from farm to farm trying to persuade the owner to "take out a loan." The main feature of the real estate boom of the fifties was laying out paper towns which had no existence, and selling lots therein. The boomers of the eighties had a different system. Their plan was to lay



out "additions" to the various centers of population already established until these additions to rival cities met in corn fields half way between. Lots were sold at good prices in "additions" to Lincoln and Omaha where, at this day, the peaceful market gardener pursues his vocation and the long rows of Nebraska corn rustle in the summer wind. -

     The political history of this period was very much like its economic development,--all one way. The state had become solidly republican, and the party managers acted upon the theory that it never could be anything else. The strength of the democratic party was confined to about a dozen counties along the Missouri and Platte rivers. At the election of 1880 Governor Albinus Nance received 55,237 votes, while his opponent, ex-Senator Tipton, who had now become a democrat, had 28,167. In the legislature which met in the winter of 1881, Charles H. Van Wyck was elected United States senator to succeed Paddock. One hundred thousand dollars was appropriated to

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A Pioneer Home on the Plains. (Photo by Kimberly)

build another wing to the capitol. Agitation for temperance laws and woman suffrage had become so strong that the Slocumb high license law was passed and woman suffrage submitted to the people in the form of a constitutional amendment. This amendment was defeated by the people,--25,756 votes for and 50,693 against. Another state institution, the Home for the Friendless, was established. In 1882 a strike of laborers in Omaha resulted in riots and the calling out of the militia by Governor Nance. The expense to the state was $11,050. At the election in 1882 James W. Dawes, the republican candidate for governor was elected, having 43,495 votes, while J. Sterling Morton, democrat, received 28,562, and E. P. Ingersoll, greenback, 16,691. This result,--showing the republican party in a minority, although on a light vote,--brought about two years later the third fusion ticket in state politics--democrats and greenbackers uniting on a mixed ticket for electors and state officers. The popular vote for governor was,

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