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Government, hence this is not our affair." Being ignorant of the situation, he had no one to depend on; in his first clash with the mob element he discovered that the Pine Ridge police, formerly the finest in the service, were lacking in discipline and courage; and not being well supplied with those necessary qualities himself, he took the bluff of a mob for a declaration of war, abandoned his agency, returned with troops - and you see the result.
   As for the "Ghost Dance" too much attention has been paid to it. It was only the symptom or surface indication of a deep-rooted, long existing difficulty; as well treat the eruption of small pox as the disease and ignore the constitutional disease.
   As regards disarming the Sioux, however desirable it may appear, I consider it neither advisable, nor practicable. I fear that it will result as, the theoretical enforcement of prohibition in Kansas, Iowa and Dakota; you will succeed in disarming and keeping disarmed the friendly Indians because you can, and you will not so succeed with the mob element because you cannot.
   If I were again to be an Indian Agent, and had my choice, I would take charge of 10,000 armed Sioux in preference to a like number of disarmed ones; and furthermore agree to handle that nunber, or the whole Sioux nation, without a white soldier.

   Respectfully, Etc.,          
   V. T. McGILLYCUDDY.     

   P. S. I neglected to state that up to date there has been neither a Sioux outbreak or war.
   No citizen in Nebraska or Dakota has been killed, molested, or can show the scratch of a pin, and no property has been destroyed off the reservation."

   Letter from Miss Emma C. Sickels, who established the Indian school at Pine Ridge, South Dakota:

   "PINE RIDGE INDIAN AGENCY, S. D., Jan. 15, 1891.      

   "GEN. L. W. COLBY, Commander of Nebraska State Troops:
   "HONORABLE SIR:--This has been a week full of events that come to the lives of but few. The situation has depended upon the ability to gain the confidence of those who have had real grievances, and to defeat the plots of the treacherous ones who have artfully been trying to involve all the Indians in an attack upon the whites. Rosebud Indians, the few survivors of Big Foot's band (Standing Rock



Indians), and Red Cloud's followers among those at Pine Ridge, have been locating themselves among the camps, and have been using every means in their power to foment the trouble by urging revenge for the death of their friends at Wounded Knee by threats to kill the friendlies and set fire to their tepees if they did not join them - by rehearsing their grievances and by bringing to them the reports (circulated in newspapers and authorized by the almost universal sentiment of the terrified settlers) that all the Indians were going to be killed, their arms taken away, and men, women and children slaughtered without discrimination.
   The reports brought them about the killing of Big Foot's band seemed to be in confirmation of this. The accounts have been very conflicting in regard to this, and we cannot wonder that from their standpoint they must have been driven to a fit of desperation bordering upon insanity.
   They have been keeping up their dancing; have become worn out physically; are frenzied mentally and had come to the agency with the fullest determination to massacre every one who opposed them, or die in the attempt. This has been defeated in two ways: The hostile Ogalallas have been detected and outwitted. The confidence of the progressive Indians has been obtained and the plots of their real enemies (the hostiles), have been shown to them and they have emphatically placed themselves on the side of the government. The soldiers have been so managed and placed that the friendlies have been defended and supported while all felt the hopelessness of an attack.
   General Miles has availed himself of the help of all who had the confidence of the best Indians, and through them has gained their confidence, while he has seemingly listened to the treacherous Indians; and they, thinking that they could make use of him to further their plots as they had been doing with General Brooke, were thrown off their guard, and managed in a way that could not but command the admiration of all who appreciated the gravity of the situation.
   I have been able to find no difference of opinion among settlers, soldiers and Indians, in regard to the management of General Brooke and Dr. Royer. General Brooke is unanimously, and justly, characterized as obstinate, short-sighted and easily deceived.
   He used Red Cloud and Father Jutes for his advisers in spite of



the fact that their reports had never proved reliable, and they can point to the accomplishment of nothing but a delay that, to say the least, was giving the defiant hostiles further time for preparation.
   There is strong evidence to show that they were giving every assistance in their power toward carrying on disturbances. They brought false reports against their enemy, "Little Wound," which were relied upon to show that be was a hostile, dangerous man," for the purpose of driving him to take that position in self defense.
   We have evidence to show that Red Cloud had planned this campaign, having invited the Sitting Bull band to big camp. The Rosebuds joined. his band when they came to the Agency, after the trouble had begun, and their presence there was considered a serious menace to peace by the friendlies, and all who are the most thoroughly posted.
   Their fears were substantiated by the fact that in the panic occurring after, or at the time of, the Wounded Knee fight, the attack first came from Red Cloud's camp who fired at the school house which was defended by Indian police. Red Cloud had been an inveterate enemy to the school ever since I organized it, and required his daughter to take her place in regular performance of duty. Many have been big plans for the destruction of the school. It has been defended by the friendlies. These attempts are matters of history, one of them being the basis of the outbreak of 1884. I would call especial attention to it at this time, because it is an important link in the chain, showing the connection between these disturbances and a common and identical source. Two weeks before the recent attack upon the Agency, I learned of it and reported it to Dr. Rover, telling him that while I never gave away my sources of information, I had received knowledge which it would be criminal for me to withhold. I would present the information, which it would be, of course, big privilege to test. He requested me to state this to General Brooke. I told him that it would be useless. He was one who knew about facts after they had happened, and seemed to be constructed so that he was mentally incapable of anticipating or preventing any event. Dr. Royer said: "I concur in your opinion, but I request you to go." I replied: "I will go if your request, but without faith." I reported the plot with the anticipated result, as I informed Dr. Royer. With his characteristic inefficiency, he feared and trembled,



but could do nothing. His whole attitude to the Indians has been, "Oh, please be good and don't make any trouble." The friendly Indians ignored him after a few discouraging experiences, the treacherous ones used him as their tool, while all despise him.
   I saw Major ----- and Fast Horse privately, telling them of the plot, and urged them to watch, exacting from them the promise that when the attack was made they would rush to the defense of the school. They did so.
   The plan is shown by subsequent events to have been that at the attack to be made by Big Foot's band, who, protected by their medicine men, were to be invincible, Red Cloud and the Rosebuds encamped with him, were to destroy the Agency. This was frustrated by friendly Indians and white people who acted independently of any orders given by General Brooke or Dr. Royer.
   The Seventh Cavalry was rescued by Colonel Henry without orders from General Brooke. No defense of fortifications or outlying sentinels had been placed around the agency. Only through the services of Major Cooper was it possible for those to act who defended the Agency and prevented a massacre. I am stating these facts plainly to show why there is so strong a feeling against a man who, by his criminal inaction placed so many lives in danger, which he was employed to defend, by permitting the plots to be carried on in spite of warning, by allowing preparations for hostilities to be publicly made at the Agency blacksmith shop, and by depending for his information upon those only who, to say the least, were of very questionable character. His command to Colonel Forsythe was: "Disarm them; if they resist, destroy them!" I have been told that there is written evidence of this.
   The attack of Big Foot's band was premeditated and skillfully planned. If it had been successful, those who have been in readiness to join the uprising in their different places along the line from Texas to Montana, would have broken out.
   Although we may justly condemn the lack of discretion that would forcibly disarm them while their worst feelings were aroused, creating a resistance consistent with all ideas of manliness and bravery (in which the Indians have never been deficient), yet this has been overruled for good by showing the opposing forces their mutual power and spirit. As one of the Indian boys wrote in lan-



guage work at the school: "Indians laugh when white soldier comes. They think he cannot fight, and cannot hurt them; but white soldier fight strong and Indian man now think it not easy."
   On the other band, the desperation and bravery shown by a body of one hundred and fifty men who will attack five hundred who have surrounded them, show the spirit of the foe our soldiers had to meet, and should convince a skeptical nation of the firm, strong measures needed to be taken.
   The Rosebuds are Indians who had settled upon a strip of land on a boundary between the two Agencies. I have heard many versions of the cause of their coining. One is, that they were allowed to have their choice as to whether they would join the Rosebud or the Pine Ridge band, and having decided to join the Ogallalas came there for the sake of living with that people. There is no well founded reason for believing that they came with hostile intentions; but their coming was made the occasion of terrifying reports by those who stood ready to use all the means for stirring up a strife.
   We hope now that the danger is over, but everything is still in a critical condition. However, they are in able hands. General Miles has the confidence of soldiers, settlers and Indians. Captain Pierce, who is now the Agent, is a man whose firmness and quickness of perception is admirably fitted to restore confidence and order, and may Heaven grant that these poor people may not again be the victims of such Agents as the indolent, mercenary Colonel Gallagher or the weak, narrow-minded Dr. Royer.
   I have used the plainest language in my power. I believe the situation calls for such; I have carefully gathered my information, weighing evidence brought me from the highest authorities, as well as from those who have been involuntary participants, or observers, and have accepted only such facts as have been borne out by the testimony. As such, I submit it to you. It now seems essential that by concerted action on the part of the friends of peace and justice, all people shall be aroused to legislate in such a way that a blind policy may not be adopted which, by systematically unbusiness-like methods causes just complaint, drives a body of people to a self defense in the only way open to them, practically places all of the progressive, peaceable Indians at the mercy of their most treacherous enemies, involves our nation in an enormous expense that would have been



much more-honorably applied to remedying or preventing the trouble, end is fatal to the prosperity of a large number of human beings, both white and Indians.


   Miss Sickels was present throughout the time of the Indian troubles, and probably knows as much as any person about the different factions and feuds existing among Indians. The letter from her as well as that from Dr. McGillycuddy, was written in response to my inquiries for information upon the subjects therein treated; and, while I do not agree with them in all their opinions, their views are instructive.
   But the opinions and statements of the Indians themselves should receive some consideration from an intelligent and thinking public. Through the aid of interpreters and Indian scouts in my employ, I obtained interviews with the prominent Indian characters, some of which are as follows:


   Young-Man-Afraid-Of-His-Horses is one of the ablest as well as most honest representatives of the great Sioux nation. I am told that he is the regular hereditary chief of the Ogallalas, the most powerful tribe. I rode with him from Chadron, Nebraska, to the Pine Ridge Agency, and have also met him a number of times since and have found him on all occasions to be a very sensible and intelligent man.
   He said in substance: This whole trouble came from a misunderstanding between my people and the Great Father. There was no need of the war. General Miles understands our situation. He is our friend. The Brules have much to complain of. Their Agent was a very bad man. Their wives and children were hungry. They only had half rations. I have been away on a hunt and am just coming back to explain and help stop the trouble. Peace will soon come. We will have our big councils and explain things, and I will go to Washington and settle our difficulties. Our Agent was a bad man. The Great Father does not know this. I will tell him. The Indians are brave and the white men are brave, but the white men do not do as they agree; that is the trouble with the Indians. Some Indians are bad, but most of them want to be good and want to learn to live like white men."




   I had an interesting interview with Little Wound, a Sub-Chief of the Ogallalas, who, by the way, is a particular friend of Miss Sickels, Byrd has engaged to make a tour of the principal cities of the West with her and explain the situation to the people.
   He said: "Red Cloud is not my friend and he has talked much against me. We are holding councils and trying to settle all the difficulties. The Great Father does not know our troubles. The Agents have stolen from us and made themselves rich. We do not get the pound and a half of meat or beef promised us. We do not get our coffee, sugar and flour. The Agents lie to us and lie to the Great Father. I will go to Washington and tell them how we are treated.
   The Wounded Knee battle was very bad. The Big Foot Indians were driven into the fight, and they fought brave, but they were killed. The soldiers were too many. They fought for their lives and did not want to be made prisoners and have their guns taken away, and the soldiers killed them and their wives and children. Our hearts are all sad about those that were killed. General Miles is our friend. All we want is what is right. We want our children to go to school. We want to live in houses and have farms, and have our money. We want what the great father promised us. We want the Government to do right, and we will not fight. We have money and we have property in the hands of the Government, and the Government agrees to take care of us, but we are hungry and can get nothing. We do not want to be beggars. If we had our lands and our money that the Great Father has promised us, we would take care of ourselves."


   Two Strike, one of the ablest Chiefs of the Brule Sioux, made the following statement:
   "We were driven to fighting. We did not fight first. Our Agent treated us bad, so we came over to Pine Ridge. Big Foot and his wives and children were all murdered at Wounded Knee. The soldiers took away their guns and cut them down like grass, and fired big guns at them, and so we proposed to fight. General Miles said we could have our guns back again if we gave them up. We



believe General Miles, and many of my people will give up their guns. He has given us beef. One hundred and forty of my people with Yellow Robe, have gone to Rosebud Agency. I want to go to Washington and see the Great Father and tell him how the Agent starved us and did not give us what the Great Father promised when he took our lands from us. My heart is. good. I am for peace; I am not for fighting, but we had rather die fighting than be disarmed and then killed. The army officers are our friends. They do not steal from its. We believe what they say."


   Kicking Bear, Chief of the Minneconjous tribe, is a fine looking Indian, about forty years old, who is regarded as very reliable and honest. He made the following statement:
   "My people have much to complain of. Our rations are too small. The Great Father promised us plenty. He sends us bad Agents, who rob us. Our land is poor and we can raise nothing. The buffalo, deer, elk and antelope are all gone. We want more meat. We are hungry. We do not want to fight. We did not begin to fight. We want to be like white men and have our children go to school and learn to work. If the Great Father will do as he promised us, we will live in peace and be happy. Our Great Father said when be took our land that we should have plenty of meat and coffee and sugar, and have so much money every year, but we do not get it; and when the Agent robs its they send soldiers. We want the Great Father to know this."


   Little Chief, Chief of the Cheyennes, was one of General Crook's friends and has always been a friend of the white man. He usually wears a head dress of eagle's feathers, a blanket, a belt of pocupine (sic) work, and a large bright silver cross which was presented to him by a Catholic priest, upon his left breast.
   He said: "My people are warriors. If the Government does with us as it agreed, they are peaceful. The Government took away our good land, premised us money and plenty to eat; they said they would bring us to a good country and teach our people to farm and be like white men. They brought us to this country where nothing grows. The agent steals our beef. My people get poorer every day,



and when they starve their hearts are sore. They say the Great Father does not know this. When we complain and my people dance, they send soldiers. But General Miles is our friend and we like him, He sends off the bad agent. He gives us something to eat. We want peace, but we do not want to be robbed. We want what the Great Father has promised us."


   One of the finest looking men, among the Indian Chiefs, is Rocky Bear, a Sub-Chief of the Ogallalas. He is a large, manly looking Indian, over six feet high, about thirty-eight or forty years old, speaks considerable English, has been to Europe, and although a warrior has always been considered a friendly Indian. He made substantially the following statement:
   "The cause of the trouble is the same old story. The Great Father sends his agents here to make treaties with us. The white man came and we were driven out. We are promised things, but they never come. The Great Father promises to give us food, money, farming tools, and to educate our children, in exchange for our lands, but be forgets to do it. Treaties are only a lot of lies. The Government never kept any treaty it ever made with us. We have always been robbed and lied to. We did not commence the fight. We know that will do no good, but the government takes our lands and puts us here where nothing can be raised, and our wives and children suffer for food; they are cold and hungry. Then they send soldiers to kill us, and the Agents lie about us after they rob us. If my people could get what the Government agreed to pay us, they would all be fat and there would be no trouble. The Great Father knows this, and the white people know this.


   One of the most notorious Indians is Crow Dog, who is also a Sub-Chief of the Brules. He is a small, inferior looking Indian, with one withered arm, but he is a man of brains and iron nerve, and is the Indian who killed Spotted Tail in personal combat in 1878.
   He said: "The Indians are not to blame. We did not want war. We had many things to contend with. My tribe came to the Ogallalas on a friendly visit and did not intend to fight. General Miles says that the Great Father does not know that we have been robbed,



and that we shall have what was promised, and that we shall go and see the Great Father and tell him all about it. When they took our lands they said our children should be educated and that we should have plenty every year, but we have not received it, and we are hungry. We want what was promised. We want to do right, but we do not want to have our guns taken away and be treated as slaves!"


   American Horse is one of the Indians who has become known by reason of his connection with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Although well known to the public through the newspapers, he is not recognized among the Indians as either a leading Chief, or as distinguished in war or council. His experience in the world, however, made an interview with him desirable, and the following statement by him is instructive:
   "My heart is good. I am a man of peace. I always help the Agent preserve order. I have tried to stop the fighting. The Great Father is our friend. I have tried to pursuade (sic) the Brules to turn over their arms and surrender, and I think the trouble is about over. I hope no more people will be killed. Agent Royer was scared and sent for the soldiers too soon. Many Agents are bad and rob the Indians. Let the Great Father turn out the bad Agents and keep the promises which were made and there will be no more trouble. I will go to Washington and tell the Great Father. There are many bad white men who steal our horses and cattle, and they kill our people. We want to learn good things from the whites. We want our children to go to school and learn to work. and read. The Indians and the whites should all live as one."


   William Vlandry, a half breed Indian, who was in my employ as scout, made the following statements on the subject:
   "The Indians had no intention of fighting until they were forced to it, in what they thought was self defense. They made no attacks upon the settlements or settlers; they were guilty of no raids or depredations. At Wounded Knee, Big Foot was very sick with pneumonia and was shot in his teepee. His band thought they were going to be disarmed, imprisoned and sent to Florida, or Alabama, and kept there as prisoners. They had done nothing whatever, but



had been robbed of their rations and were suffering for the necessaries of life, and so they resisted and were killed, with their wives and children. The Government has not carried out its treaties with the Indians. It has made promises, but never performed them. Last year was a very hard year. The Indians who tried to farm raised nothing. The dry weather killed the crops. Then they did not get only half their usual rations of beef. This was their cause of complaint. If the government had issued them full rations and sent no soldiers, there would have been no trouble. Agent Royer got scared, and then the trouble began. The Indians do not want war."


   Big Road, Chief of the Wafagas, made the following statement:
   "When I promise to do something, I do it. When the Great Father promises he never does it. Yet they say the Indian is a bad man. The Great Father should have good Agents, and he should not lie to us. His Agents rob us and starve us, and do not give us anything that they agreed to. They promise us good things - money, clothes, tools, and plenty of food for our good lands, and they said they would teach us to farm, but they lied. I do not lie like the white men. The Great Father should not let his Agents steal. The Indians should stand up for their rights. They have a right to food and money, and clothing, and everything that was promised them. The Indians have not stolen from the white neighbors, but they have stolen our cattle and horses. The Indians have not killed our white neighbors, but they have killed our women and children. We did not want to fight. The Indian who is starving has a right to complain, has a right to dance the same as a white man. Let the Great Father do right by us and there will be no trouble. Our hearts are not bad, but we have some rights."



   The "Omaha" in May, 1856, was slowly making her way up the Missouri, having on board a large number of persons bound for Nebraska - some to settle, some to go thence to Salt Lake. Among several I have forgotten were: V. Berkley, A. N. Snider, Theo. Dodd, John Chapman, nephew of the late Jas. S. Chapman. Kansas was in a troubled state, and our boat had several chests of arms for delivery at certain stations on the border. We expected to be annoyed; but as our boat was" all right," its officers being in the pro-slavery clique, no disturbance occurred. At one point near Atchison, we were visited by a large number of lately arrived South Carolina troops, that had come there as immigrants. They were howling and raging and thirsting to get a took at an abolitionist. Poor fellows! Before many years, they saw enough to satisfy them for all time; many for all eternity.
   By this time, we were getting near the promised land. We were flooded with circulars and pamphlets booming the country. Each town-site, then, was as well up and posted on advertising its merits, as any to-day. Nor has anything in these days of 1880-88, surpassed in "Puffery" the efforts of our pioneers in Nebraska, at that early day. Cities, whose names are now forgotten, loomed up in all the possible magnificence of coloring and print.
   None of us had ever seen a prairie save those endless flats of Illinois. We were very curious to get a glimpse of what land looked like from the tops of some of those enormous bluffs along the river. So one afternoon, we came to a place where there was a coal mine, far up the bank on the Nebraska side. There was an opening, and coal
   *Mr. Irwin is son-in-law of Hon. Hadley D. Johnson, whose article on the "Kansas-Nebraska Boundry" was published in Vol. II, of the Transactions.



lying around and men stood there. The boat stopped to get fuel, which had been very scarce and poor. And we all started to climb to the top, and get a view. I will never forget that an old Pennsylvania farmer was first to arrive there. He whirled his hat, gave a yell, and cried "My God boys! Here is a perfect ocean of glory." Sure enough and so it seemed to us. I thought then, and have ever since, that all this region of the Missouri River, north of Kansas City, and extending several miles, on both sides, is certainly the most beautiful country in the world. It might be a notion of my own, but I was confirmed in it by the report of Bayard Taylor, who in one of his chapters of "Colorado," happens to mention a trip by stage down the Nebraska side; and coming to some place on the uplands south of Brownsville, he pauses to describe the country, whose great characteristic, in his opinion, was beauty. He had been, he said, everywhere, mentioning various famous regions and the character of their scenery; but, if I remember rightly, he awards to this the palm for simple "Beauty." And that word aptly describes it. The person, who can stand on a bright day in June, on one of the numberless eminences overlooking the scenery of this region, and not feel a thrill all through him - a kind of ecstacy (sic), is certainly blind or "has no music in himself," as Lorenzo says in "Merchant of Venice."
   To us, strangers, arriving on the borders of our future home, the sight was intoxicating. Most of us had lived on dull flat prairies or in towns or amid vast forests of deadened timber, where a three mile view was wonderful. To have such a vision, extending, as the captain of our boat assured us, fifty miles, was like a miracle. And so lovely, so unspeakably charming! We all became delighted. I have often thought, however, that our descendants do not appreciate this supreme characteristic of our landscapes. Born in it, they are too familiar with it.
   Our boat often had great difficulty in making her way, and several times, just as she was making past a difficult point, she would be hurled back by the current, four or five miles. Our trip was long and tedious, but no one complained. We seemed like one family; and friendships to last for life, were there formed, and, indeed, several business partnerships and agreements made. One man on board was a lot speculator in Omaha; and he sold a lot to a German for some five hundred dollars, before the boat landed. The lot was



not more than four squares northeast of the great centre resort, the Douglas House, and in a deep hole, or rather all hole. The Dutchman, when he saw it, was awful mad. "Mine Got in Himmel; dot vos a pe tammed rascal." He brought suit and employed me. I suppose it was the first suit ever had about a lot there, but don't know. However it was settled in some way. I have no doubt that the same lot has sold for thousands of dollars since. Indeed property was rising so fast, that I suspect that the buyer soon got his eyes opened and was content.
   The arrival of the boat there, was a great event for Omaha. The quay was crowded; very many people turned out, though it was raining as it can rain here sometimes. There were all of the Captains, Colonels, Generals, Governors, and high officials of the Territory. In truth, to them, it was a matter of anxiety, as we may now conceive. Navigation had just been opened. Were immigrants coming into the Territory? If so, how many and especially of what condition and character? Are there probable lot buyers? Do they come with cash, or hoes and plows, or with cards? I think there were several hundred thousand dollars in our whole crowd, and that every man came with a view to business. None were rich, but all had some funds and some had several thousand dollars. The first great boom for Omaha was just beginning and many of us helped it. As to money, I never saw money so abundant anywhere, as it was at, and around Omaha within a few weeks. I doubt if ever any community, of the same size, has had so much money, as we had in Nebraska, for some time. Anything passed for change, as small bills and silver pieces were scarce. I remember going to the saloon Apex, with three other persons and asking for a glass of ale. Four small glasses were passed out from a bottle. "How much?" "One dollar, Sir." I handed the man one of these imitation bills, that used to be wrapped around patent medicine. As the man threw it into the drawer, I asked him if be looked at it. "Why, it's a one dollar bill, isn't it?" I then told him to examine it, and I read it to him. He laughed and said "I will take more of them. Change is so scarce, they are just as good as anything you can give me." And it was so. Money and town stock, as nicely printed and ornamented paper were, for a time, superabundant and almost equally current. Bills on banks in all parts of the Union



were passing. Land. warrants also were common. Labor was the one article in highest demand. In the fall, I saw a man offer another quite a sum of money for something. "I do not need the money, but for God's sake help me dig my potatoes." There were too many fancy gentlemen among us, who would have thought it a degradation to be seen at manual labor. Strange that American citizens could so regard labor. Terrible mis-education.
   I have often reflected over these good times I noticed some writer of an article in one of your volumes remarks upon the hardships we endured during that awful winter. Yes, they were hardships, but never did I see happier people. Hope sported in our blood, and the more aged were rejuvenated. Strangers slapped each other on the back exclaiming, "A'nt you glad you came out here?" Here was everything to be done. If there ever was poverty, here it was. The first plow furrows and fence rails were to be made. War's desolating track leaves no greater scarcity than was here. Why, then, were we so happy and prosperous? For there never was a more prosperous people. And why, not long after, with our cribs bursting with abundance, all around us cattle and hogs, etc., etc., were we desponding and miserable, and even suffering in some cases? I offer no solution. Common sense ought to do that. Society has it within its own power to make itself happy. Lessons like these can never be forgotten.. I never have conversed with any old settler yet but he admitted those were happy days and that even the aged people, who came among us, were animated with all the hopes and joys apparently of youth.
   During the summer and fall of 1856, the very greatest enterprise was manifested. In come cases such was the haste to build, that houses were shingled by lamp light, at night; the days not affording time enough to do the work. Great schemes were afoot and new plans were created every day. Immigration was coming to the Territory rapidly, and had things continued in this state for a few more years, Nebraska must soon have become as wealthy and well settled as she is to-day. But the great crash in the Fall of 1857, put a sudden stop to enterprise. There was no more money; no more credit; no more spirit left in us. The land sales swept away what gold and land warrants were in the country. All would soon have come right had confidence returned. But the foolish specie basis



system was all we knew of banking, till the great necessities of the war taught us lessons never to be forgotten - not only lessons, but gave us warnings, which we may never forget. He who aids to build up a new state learns much of the origin of things, which those never learn who pass their lives in old settlements..
   I maintain, that were it not so windy, ours is the best climate I know of. Our fine dry air, clear skies, splendid roads, make our region very attractive. They talk of the sunny South, it should be the sunny North West; for we have more days of sunshine, than any other country that enjoys the four seasons. I say this after having tried all the climates of our continent. As between the regions along the 40th parallel of latitude east of the Mississippi and our the contrast is so much in our favor 'tis useless talking. And when own I see men taking their families from here to Louisiana and Florida, knowing what I do, I shudder. They know not what they do. Winds and blizzards; they are nothing to sunstrokes, warm rain water, swamp fever, and all the ills imaginable from snakes, centipedes, and ten thousand winged cusses. Time may ameliorate these troubles after forests are cleared, and swamps dried, but innumerable lives must be sacrificed. I once heard an old Louisiana planter of Rapids Parish say: "Sambo runs this country. He has a right to it. Every bit of the soil, that has been tamed by cultivation, has cost hundreds of black men's lives." No one there could deny it. And yet that region is not half cultivated.
   Of all the new countries ever settled, this North-west prairie region is the healthiest for those who keep off from the bottom lands, and are careful as to their drinking water. Bad water kills more new settlers, than bad whiskey.
   The winter of 1854-5 was so remarkably mild that everybody who had come to Nebraska, was thrown off his guard and imagined it enjoyed an Italian climate. And the North-west is peculiar in this, that occasionally, it will have a winter so dry and mild and constantly full of calm sunshine, as to surprise strangers. Neither California nor Florida ever affords such wholesome, delightsome weather owing to the dry, clear atmosphere. Such winters are rare and that was one of them. The blizzard was unknown to us. The first perfect example of a blizzard came in December, 1856, beginning with a snow storm from the north-east, early one forenoon - a



fine warm, heavy, snow storm, giving us around Ft. Calhoun, about two feet by night. At night the blizzard began from the north-west and lasted over forty-eight hours. It was one of the worst ever known, and was followed about once every week or two by others almost as bad, and during some days in February, the mercury fell below 40o. And yet, they were followed by the most beautiful winter weather imaginable; calm, clear and cold. It was a labor requiring time, and money to break the roads and restore communication between various points. Many persons perished during these storms, because none of us could realize the danger. Even cattle died, being suffocated by the frozen mists that filled the air, so that even by day one could not see his bands before his face. By mid-winter the wolves and deer became so desperate, they would come close to the houses. Thousands and thousands of big grey and black wolves were killed for their skins. But for deer meat, we must have suffered. It was a common thing to meet deer in the paths and they would not give way, owing to the deep snow and the crust on it, which would cut their legs as they broke through. All one had to do was to carry a club and knock the animals down. Night after night the wolves would surround our houses in turn, and give us a taste of their quality as serenaders. Those who lived in our region had experience enough with wolves and Indians that winter. The whoops of the latter with the howlings of the wolves, often made the nights lively. The Indians were all very friendly and gave no trouble except in borrowing wood. Large numbers went back and forth. They lived high that winter on the dead cattle. As so much poison was put out for the wolves, we continually warned them never to touch anything that had the hide taken off. I never heard of any calamity from poisoned meat among them. Slowly the hard, dull winter passed away and and spring came reluctantly. The high waters that spring were remarkable. Everything in the bottoms was overwhelmed. Several important young enterprises were ruined.
   Talking of the climate, there is no earthly Eden. Every region has its drawbacks - its extremes of some kind - and when you find one of perpetual mean, you may occasionally find it very mean in another sense. I have met settlers of Northwest Nebraska and along Colorado borders, who are natives of South Mississippi, descendants of the men who pioneered that tropical region, who declared that



they believed their hyperborean regions enjoy the finest climate on earth, and insisted that nothing could induce them to return to the fever-cursed swamps of their native soil. "Winter! Winds! Blizzards!" They laughed at such things, and said: "Health, fine roads, glorious, dry, bracing air, sunshine all the year round," were everything. "Look at these people," said one man who was conducting a troop of connections to some point near the Northwest corner of Nebraska. We were on a train near Memphis. "Look at their color! Poisoned by malaria. In one year from now their nearest kin will not know them! Cold! Cold is a humbug! Forty below zero, in dry air, is easier to bear than thirty above in swamp." I had to admit that the nearest I ever came to freezing to death in feeling was when the mud was just about half freezing. Where the air is so dry the mercury is no test whatever of our feelings. Eight degrees in a Louisiana swamp is dreadful weather, and at 88 "niggers and mules" tumble down, while those not acclimated cannot go out in safety.
   Parker, the land office register, was one of our company. He was from Washington, as were Snider and some others. Snider brought two slaves with him, a man and a woman servant, and he was in very comfortable circumstances. I do not believe any person was disposed to interfere with his "property" at that time in our part of Nebraska, north of the Platte. I have to laugh when people say slavery could not be made profitable in Nebraska, and that the cotton gin put an end to the abolition of slavery; as if any crops were more profitable than hemp and tobacco and the like, and as if labor saving machinery was not in its very nature hostile to slave labor. We have lately seen the cotton picker scattering the colored workmen away from the plantations down South. Prior to 1814, there was no such thing as sectional jealousies in our politics. One after the other New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and other states had abolished slavery. Nowhere had slavery paid better than in New York. Kentucky came within a vote or two of abolishing it. It was dying out in Delaware and Maryland and Tennessee. Invention was rapidly making it ridiculous, old fashioned, unprofitable. Right here, where this is written, the colored race abominates washing machines, efficient soaps, wood sawing machines, etc, In the great cane fields of Louisiana, where



a team and two men could do the labor of fifty slaves, the old way was pursued, by having each slave carry his load of heavy cane across the fields one or two miles wide - a labor that in the three or four years made invalids of the hardiest. No! Create any question and get up a sectional jealousy on it; then farewell to all its moral aspects. The section on its defence, whether the question be rum, piracy, smuggling, slavery, polygamy, or what not, will fight to the bitter end. Passion blinds to all sense of right. You may as well try to reason with a mob as with a jealous section, and if the least seeming interest is at stake, so much the worse. Pennsylvania will fight for her tariff, Utah for polygamy, as South Carolina did for slavery. Tobacco and hemp require more hard labor to-day, than any other crops, and Nebraska could have made as much of slave labor, as any other state, and more, for her healthy air would have kept the race healthy. As to cold, we find the blacks endure it as well as do the whites. In truth they live here in such open houses the winter long, as hardly any whites would tolerate.
   One evening a crowd of Poncas stopped with us, en route for Washington. While I was talking to their interpreter, a young chief, who had been out, was let into the, house, which had a weather door and entrance, a hall and side door. After he had lain down a few moments, he talked to the others stretched around on the floor. Suddenly they all rose up, talking and in a great hubbub, appealing to the interpreter. He replied to them in a talk of two or three minutes, when they all lay down in quiet. What was it?" I asked. He laughed and said, that young man told them, that at the first house they stopped at, white man used a cloth hanging for a door, just as do Indians in tents; that at the next town was a door (Indians untaught am inexpert at opening doors); and at the next town, the man had two doors; at the last town there were three doors; and here were, four. "Now he said, by the time we get to Washington, the big man there will have thousands and thousands of doors and we can never one of us get out." This created the great hubbub and alarm. The interpreter quieted them by saying, "You will see, you will, see before you get there, that it is not so." I don't think a wild Indian could open two doors in succession. and enter them - he will pull and slam everything but the right one.
   The first settlers saw and heard things, that can hardly be imagined



now. One night at Ft. Calhoun, in October, will give an idea of our experiences. The change from hot midsummer to perfect Indian summer came in one day about the last of September, 1856, with all the suddenness of a Texas norther - the mercury falling from 95° in the shade, to several degrees below freezing, from four o'clock p. m. till sun down, and by morning there was considerable ice. The grass was dry as powder. From that lovely plateau of the old fort, at least a hundred feet above the Missouri bottom, surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, and in the centre of the whole district the great Missouri winding, there is an unbroken view towards the east of forty or fifty miles up the Bouyer Valley of Iowa; and in other directions some fourteen miles away, the bluffs of the great river valley loom high in various shapes like pinnacles, mounds and far reaching hills. Often in those days the air was so clear, strangers would assert a view of ten miles, could not exceed two or three. Those beautiful high table lands are peculiar to the region north of the Platte; and of them all, that, at the old fort, was the most beautiful. Cultivation has so changed the landscape, that only a few years ago, I could hardly recognize it as the same. Immediately following the change of weather, came all the, to us, novel signs of the Autumn, heralded by flocks of cranes circling all day long high in the air; then followed pelicans, swans trumpeting, ducks, brant screaming, and the over-whelming clangor of millions of wild geese. Never since has there been such a gathering of the clans of the air. They seemed as thick as locusts. The wolves too came nearer and began their night carnivals. Often a few hundred Indians would make, on these nights, a temporary encampment. One Indian summer night, while the warm southwest wind was roaring, all the world seemed on fire from the burning prairies, and all the highest peaks and bluffs far off, and the vast extent of the Bouyer Valley, with its heights and table lands, were ablaze. What with the howling of wolves, the singing and yelling of several bands of Indians, the screams and clanging of wild birds, and their rush by the myraids through the air, it seemed, as though the end of all things had come. I have looked from a high point, over a burning city, where rioting and murder led the way, but the noise, the uproar was nothing to that. It was a scene of splendor, sublimity, and awfulness, such as can not often be witnessed. The Indians and wolves have disappeared; the wild birds come only in

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