accept it. I thanked him for his kindness and in due time the molasses arrived. It was of fine quality and made good sweetening. I was afterward told that during the campaign, the General sent over one hundred kegs of molasses to his constituents.
When the Legislature convened General Van Wyck opened his headquarters at the Commercial hotel. J. J. Imhoff was then proprietor and Bud Lindsay was head waiter. Mrs. Van Wyck, known to the politicians of that time as Kate, was the real manager of the general's campaign. She was acknowledged to be a real political general. S. F. Fleharty, a member of the Legislature, who had served in the Illinois legislature at the time General John A. Logan was elected to the senate, said that Mrs. Logan was a much better politician than her husband, and that without her assistance General Logan would not have become senator. Fleharty often said that the work done by Mrs. Van Wyck reminded him of Mrs. Logan's campaign.
When the first vote for senator was taken, Van Wyck had three votes. I remember that one leader in the Legislature' stated, in the Governor's office, that Old Man Van Wyck would never be elected, "I am not for him, but I am going to stay with him in the fight, until the winning man shows up, then I will leave him." After Van Wyck was elected it was amusing to note that this same man declared that he had been for Van Wyck, first, last, and all the time.
In the years 1878 to 1881, cattle and horse thieves did a thriving business in western Nebraska. Cattle
men were much annoyed by having homesteaders settle on government land where their cattle fed. Few laws were enforced in the extreme western portions of the state. Judge Gaslin's district included much of this territory. Gaslin was the terror of all evil doers, and whenever they appeared in his court they were summarily convicted, and sentenced to the full limit of the law. It was in 1878 that the Olive-Ketchum feud broke out. Olive was a cattle man while Ketchum was a homesteader. Olive claimed that Ketchum ran off or killed some of his stock. The first fight between the parties took place at Ketchum's homestead, on Clear Creek, in Custer County. Ketchum and a man named Mitchell were attacked by Stephens, a brother-in-law of Olive, and three other men. They were driven off after Stephens had been mortally wounded. Olive offered a reward of seven hundred dollars for the arrest of Ketchum and Mitchell. They were taken by Sheriff Crew of Howard County and Sheriff Letcher of Merrick County and put in the Buffalo County jail. Sheriff Gillan of Keith County took the two men from the jail and started for Custer County in a wagon. Olive and his party followed. Gillan turned Ketchum and Mitchell over to the Olive party. They tied ropes around the necks of Ketchum and Mitchell, and hanged them on a tree in Devil's Canyon, about four miles from Broken Bow. Olive shot Mitchell with a rifle. A fire was started under the men and they were burned in a frightful manner. Ketchum's friends, and other homesteaders, joined in making the affair a political
issue between the cattle men and the homesteaders. This contest developed until it became a matter of general interest throughout the entire western part of the state:
The election of the sheriff and other officials was fought out on the Olive-Ketchum issue. It was generally agreed by Ketchum's friends that a jury could not be found in the county, where the murder was committed, that would not disagree or set Olive free. Olive and Fisher were tried in Hastings in 1879 before Judge Gaslin. When the trial came up the judge made short work of it. They were found guilty of murder in the second degree and sentenced to life imprisonment. Olive's friends then attacked the trial on the ground that Olive was not tried in the same county in which the act was committed. The court sustained the attack and Olive was set free.
At that time there was a rendezvous of outlaws and horse-thieves near Long Pine on the Niobrara River. Chief among their number was Doc Middleton. These outlaws made raids on settlements and ran off horses and cattle wherever found. Many attempts were made to drive them out of the state. They made a raid in the central part of the state, and if I remember correctly, shot one of the citizens of Hamilton County. The Governor offered a reward for the capture of Middleton, dead or alive. A short time after the murder in Hamilton County, Middleton was captured by Deputy United States Marshal Lewellyn, and afterwards sent to the penitentiary. After the capture of
Middleton, the band dispersed, and peace reigned once more on our western border.
In that year the strike of the employees of the Omaha Smelting works occurred. There seemed to be no possibility of an agreement between the employers and the employees. The strikers threatened to burn and destroy the buildings of the smelting company. As the situation grew worse, the sheriff and others of Douglas county called on Governor Nance for state troops to prevent violence. I was sent to Omaha by the Governor in order that he might have direct information as to the exact status of the strike. I attended the street meetings held daily by the strikers. One day at a meeting held on lower Douglas Street, at which there were about three thousand employees of the smelter and their sympathizers, the county and city authorities and officials of the smelting works, were denounced as arch-enemies of the laboring man. Threats of violence were made against officials who were opposing the strike. Among others Mayor James E. Boyd was mentioned as an enemy of organized labor, and notice was served on him that he had better keep hands off, otherwise he might have good reason to regret his interference. Some of Boyd's friends at once notified him of the meeting and advised him to stay away as the mob was in an ugly mood, threatening violence, and might do him personal injury. Boyd replied, "I am going to drive right down to that meeting." He soon appeared, and standing in his carriage said, "I am a friend of all laboring men, and