NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Douglas County
Produced by Liz Lee.

Part 1      Part 3

City of Omaha

Note: Please refer back to the Omaha first page, or to the Chapter Table of Contents for the complete listing.

SECTION 1:  The Early DaysSECTION 2:  More Early Days
SECTION 3:  Omaha in 1870SECTION 4:  Present Day (1882)
SECTION 5:  CrimesSECTION 6:  Fires and Public Works
SECTION 7:  Health, Parks, Mail

The Press in Omaha | The Arrow | The Nebraskian | The Times
The Telegraph | The Independent | The Omaha Republican
Nebraska Daily Statesman

SECTION 9:  Press ContinuedSECTION 10:  Religious
SECTION 11:  Religious (cont.)SECTION 12:  Cemetery and Schools
SECTION 13:  Legal and MedicalSECTION 14:  Opera House-Hotels-Business
SECTION 15:  SocietiesSECTION 16:  Societies Continued
SECTION 17:  BusinessSECTION 18:  Manufacturing
SECTION 19:  Manufacturing (cont.)

20 - 46:

   ** Omaha Biographical Sketches **
| WOODARD~ZEHRUNG | West Omaha Precinct | Douglas Precinct |

List of Illustrations in Douglas County Chapter

City of Omaha 8


The first paper established in Omaha was the Arrow, printed at Council Bluffs, followed by the Nebraskian, the Times, the Telegraph, the Independent, Republican, Statesman, Herald, Tribune, Bee, News and Telegram. The growth of the press in Omaha is a symbol and measure of the growth of the State. When the first number of the Arrow was issued there was but a limited number within the present limits of Nebraska, and those were largely composed of Indians, traders, etc. There was no telegraph in those days in this region and no railroad, and if the members of the Fourth Estate then prominent, now dead, could rise from their graves they would be astonished at the changes which have been accomplished in the system of artificial communication by rail and telegraph, considered merely as an apparatus for the collection and distribution of news.


The first paper published at Omaha was the Arrow, a folio of twenty-four columns and bearing date "Friday, November 28, 1854," with J. E. Johnson and John W. Pattison, as editors and proprietors. It was a weekly and furnished to subscribers at the rate of $2 per annum, invariably in advance, and aimed to supply "a family paper devoted to the arts and sciences, general literature, agriculture and politics, to the people--sovereigns of the soil."

The prominent feature of the first issue was the Kansas and Nebraska bill, as it passed both Houses of Congress, supplemented by editorial notices, an account of an excursion to Bellevue, town sites in Nebraska, plan of Omaha City and the usual complement of editorial and local paragraphs. The advertisements included notifications that "A. W. Babbitt, Street & Turley, James D. Test, Johnson & Casady, C. E. Stone, A. C. Ford, A. V. Larimer, W. C. James, and L. M. Kline, were practitioners domiciliated in Council Bluffs; J. W. Pattison was similarly established in Omaha, and others at different points throughout the west. "The Council Bluffs and Nebraska ferry was ready with their new steam ferry boat Marion, to commence crossing at the opening of spring;" proceedings of a claim meeting, and a large amount of advertising, principally confined to patrons residing in Council Bluffs. For a time, or until presses and fixtures arrived, the Arrow was printed at the office of the Bugle in Council Bluffs, and the announcement was made that any "person who within one year from date should send the largest list of subscribers to the Arrow would be entitled to a full Omaha Indian costume to be subject, upon decision, to their order."

The paper presented a neat appearance and for its first issue, considering the obstacles in the way of publishing a journal at all to be compared to those of the present day, dearth of news, etc., was a most creditable production that improved with each succeeding issue. Among the items of interest that appeared subsequently, were the following notices:

There will be preaching at the residence of Mr. Snowdon, in Omaha City, on Sunday the 13th of August, 1854, by the Rev. Peter Cooper of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
A. D. Jones, Esq. has obtained his surveying instruments and now stands ready to do any job in this line when called upon. Persons desirous of purchasing town lots can be accommodated by calling on Dr. J. Lowe or J. A. Jackson. M. W. Robinson has put on a regular line of stages between this place and Council Bluffs; persons visiting this place from Council Bluffs and desirous of returning must be at the ferry landing upon sun down. Persons may receive Omaha City mail matter from the Postmaster, A. D. Jones, at Mr. Clancey's provision establishment every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings, e.c.

On October 13, 1854, the death of William R. Rogers, aged fifty-four years, is announced, and in the issue of the following week that of Francis Burt, Governor of the Territory, followed by the proceedings of a meeting convened to take proper action in this connection at which D. Lindley presided, M. Murphy appointed as secretary and J. W. Pattison, C. B. Smith, A. D. Jones, W. Clancy and C. H. Downs were appointed a committee on resolutions.

On November 3, 1854, pleasure was expressed at seeing the sign of Dr. G. L. Miller, the present distinguished editor of the Herald, hanging out of Mr. E. Buddell's residence. The city was congratulated upon the acquisition.

The paper continued for some months but failure to obtain presses, office equipments, etc., prevented its removal to Omaha as was anticipated, and culminated in its suspension before the expiration of the year during which it was born.


In 1854, Bird B. Chapman, of Elyria, Ohio, established the Nebraskian, at Omaha, in a frame building on Farnam street, near Fourteenth. Having put his house in order, with a view to future rewards, he began the weekly "grind" as editor. As days came and went, his prospects, from a political standpoint, grew brighter, until the dawn of a perfect day, upon which he was elected as a Delegate to Congress from the infant Territory. John Sherman, the editor, was left in charge of the paper, while Mr. Chapman went to the front, and in 1857, Theodore H. Robertson assumed the ownership. Two years later, M. H. Clark succeeded to the title, and secured the services of Milton W. Reynolds as editor.

During this administration, a daily paper was established, and was run through about three volumes, but the absence of data prevents the presentation of a more extended notice of the same.

In all respects, the Nebraskian is represented to have been a credit to its founders, its publishers, its patrons and Omaha City. It labored for the interest of its constituency, and those of the Territory, and did much toward the development of the business interests of the city, the county and the present State. In politics, it was Democratic, insisting that the doctrine of that party was not heresy, and that the glories gathered into the national garner for fifty years, were substantial and lasting testimonials of the vitality and correctness of the principles originally propounded by Thomas Jefferson.

On December 18, 1863, Clark & Reynolds sold out to Alfred H. Jackson, until June 15, 1865, when the Nebraskian, aged, but aspiring and determined, yielded precedence to the Herald, which has since grown to be a power among the Democratic organs of the country, and a journal that is by no means the least convincing proof to prosperous Omaha, and the Northwest, of the dependence upon the Fourth Estate, that cities and countries in their success rely.

The occasion is here availed of to deny, on the authority of Dr. Miller, that the Nebraskian was "merged into the Herald, or that the Herald was recreated out of the ruins of the Nebraskian." All such rumors are figments of imagination undeserving of consideration.


was established in Omaha, June 11, 1857, by W. W. Wyman, and courted popular favor with the assurance that it was

Pledged but to truth, to liberty and law,
No favor sways us, and no fear shall awe.

It was an eight column folio, and aimed to furnish to readers a weekly resume of news, foreign and domestic. Its office was over the post office, where it was issued every Thursday, and presumably met public expectations. In politics, it was Democratic, but in this particular, as in all others, that would remotely contribute to the development of Nebraska, and the prosperity of the Territory, the editors left nothing to be desired. Information was at all times furnished by them to inquirers, and a portion of each issue was devoted to answers to those seeking information relative to lands, markets and other features of frontier life, with which residents at a distance are entirely unfamiliar

On September 9, 1858, John W. Pattison was admitted as a partner in the concern, and undertook the general conduct of the paper. He was a graphic and forcible writer, long and favorably known throughout the Territory, of which he was an old settler, and his co-operation was an invaluable aid to the benefit and prosperity of the Times. He remained, however, but two months, circumstances prevailing to prevent that devotion of time and attention to the paper which was demanded, he severed his connection therewith. The Times, however, survived. Its editorials indicated marked ability, and were couched in candid, courteous language. In addition, the pages contained a choice selection of miscellaneous matter, full and accurate market reports, and a carefully prepared summary of congressional, local and foreign intelligence. In 1859, the Times was merged into the Nebraskian, and on February 26, 1864, with the type and press formerly employed in the composition and publication of the Times, was the obituary of Mr. Wyman promulgated in the Nebraskian.


To Henry Z. Curtis are the residents of Omaha indebted for the first daily paper ventured in the present flourishing city. It made its appearance on the morning of December 11, 1860, and was a small unpretentious one-page paper containing a total of eight columns, largely devoted to advertising and brief selections. Soon after it was increased to a folio, and commended itself to the consideration of patrons by what in those days were complete and detailed telegraphic reports, as also a generous supply of local and general reading matter, seasoned to the public palate under an administration directed by Mr. Curtis with W. H. Kinsman as his assistant. The following year the breaking out of the war afforded opportunities for enterprise on the part of the editors who evidenced their appreciation of the public demands by the issue of extras upon the fall of Sumter, the battle of Bull Run, and other incidents of that historic year. Early in the year, the circulation of the Daily Telegraph was claimed at upward of five hundred copies, yet it did not pay, and on June 11, 1861, the size of the sheet was reduced, because the increased expenses could not be sustained on the advertising patronage furnished, which would, however, be again increased in dimensions whenever the community by their contribution of "ads" justified the undertaking.

Before 1861 closed, the Telegraph suspended publication, and on August 10, of that year, H. Z. Curtis disposed of the subscription books and good will of the paper to M. H. Clark, of the Nebraskian, who changed its title and published it in connection with the weekly Nebraskian.


was the name of an afternoon daily established in Omaha on September 17, 1877, by T. H. Tibbles, as the organ of the Independent party, and the foe of monopolies. It was a folio of twenty-four columns, with T. H Tibbles as editor and J. F. L. D. Hertzmann as business manager, a model of typographical neatness, and eminently deserving whatever support it received. The editorials smacked strongly of Greenback theories of inflation, expansion, etc., but were terse, emphatic and persuasive, if not convincing. The locals were "breezy" and the dispatches mostly "specials," interlarded with "clippings" from exchanges of more unlimited resources in that behalf. The Independent, however, was not a success financially. During the fall of 1877 it was published under the direction of the Independent Printing Company with results unimproved and on January 2, 1878, was turned over to the workingmen, and by them it was consigned to a "final rest" within ten days from that date.


is the lineal descendent and legitimate successor of the Nebraska Republican, a journal of news, politics, literature and agriculture, established by E. F. Schneider and H. J. Brown, the initial number being issued May 5, 1858. It was published on Thursdays from the office in Pioneer Block, and was Republican in politics. During 1858, the paper came into the possession of Gilbert C. Monell, who temporarily assumed ownership and control until August 15, 1859, when it was sold to E. D. Webster. That gentleman accepted the trust in a new country, whose institutions were to be shaped and whose resources were to be developed with an earnest desire to be useful to the people of the Territory. He brought to the discharge of his duties some experience in the political journalism of the Empire State, and would give such attention to the material and political interest of the section as their importance demanded. The Republican was a folio of thirty-two columns, printed in nonpareil, and displayed a most excellent appearance in its "make up." Editorially, Mr. Webster evinced his belief in the theory that the Territories were and ought to be under the control of Congress, whose duty it was to protect the people from the curse of negro slavery and preserve public lands for free white people. Locally, the personal, municipal and incidental details of life in the infant city were fully covered and in other features excellence was a prominent factor in its composition. In September following telegraphic communication between Omaha and Eastern cities was completed, and such arrangements were made with the company as insured to the readers of the Republican a full summary of the general news of the country. The contest of that year (1860) resulting in the election of Lincoln, was one which of its nature forever determined and settled the agitating question whether slavery or freedom should predominate in governmental administration. The Republican triumph was an empathic rebuke to those who would extend slavery into free Territories, but not a demonstration against the institution where it existed, and sectional struggles would only cease when Southern leaders ceased their insane threatenings to dissolve the union. In regard to secession, the Republican was of opinion that if a majority of the people of any State believed that their condition would be bettered by a separate and independent government it would be bad policy to dictate their forcible retention. Yet, when Sumter was fired upon, the Republican insisted that there was no alternative for the Government but war; the integrity of the country must be preserved.

During the continuance of the war fever, or on September 16, 1861, the paper changed hands, E. B. Taylor, Register of the Land office at Omaha, in conjunction with E. A. McClure, formerly of Ohio, becoming the purchasers. Their "Confession of Faith," so to speak, contained an assurance to readers, that in the future, as in the past, the paper would render a cordial support to the principals of public policy which had been signally vindicated and endorsed in the Presidential election of 1860; it would avoid the discussion of party politics during the war; would guard the interest of Omaha City, yet do no injustice to the rights of town and cities in the Territory, and generally aim to contribute toward sustaining the reputation it had already secured. Soon after the transfer was made, the Republican was published tri-weekly, the size of the paper being lessened to a folio of twenty columns, and its issue, for a brief period, to secure telegraphic advantages, was changed from morning to afternoon. This lasted until December 27, 1862, when arrangements for telegraphic reports by the Pacific Line were made, and its publication as a morning paper resumed. In May, 1863, the paper was enlarged one column to the page, and on and after Thursday, January 7, 1864, the Republican was published every day except Monday, being the first daily to greet the public demand, which manifests its existence in every community that assumes municipal pretensions. The tri-weekly was continued until January 28, 1864, when its publication was abandoned for a weekly, and with the daily, it has since uninterruptedly divided the patronage of the public with competing journalistic ventures in the Gateway City. In style and finish, the daily was an exact counterpart of its predecessor, the tri-weekly, containing, however, in a more amplified form, the news which had been condensed and preserved for the amusement and instruction of readers three times a week theretofore. In February, the Republican was published as an evening paper. With the issue of May 24, 1864, the Republican was presented to its subscribers materially enlarged, and improved in appearance. As a rule, a newspaper is everywhere regarded the index to the business and prosperity of a city, and if this can be regarded a true criterion, Omaha, even at that early day, was certainly a live town.

With the increase of years, patronage doubtless became more liberal, and the improvements in the mechanical and other departments of the paper responded to the public demand. The close of the war witnessed no change in its proprietorship, its excellence as a medium for the promulgation of news, or sentiments in regard to the contest which had been concluded. During 1865, the Herald, a rival paper which has since grown in power and influence, made its appearance, and was received by its contemporary as the organ of a policy antagonistic to the reconstruction policy undertaken by Congress. "In October of that year, the name of E. B. Taylor and John Taffe, as editors of the Republican, were withdrawn, that of H. H. Heath substituted. In assuming the control of its editorial columns, he declared his intention to sustain the administration of Andrew Johnson; the inviolability of Lincoln's proclamation upon the subject of slavery; the adoption for the constitutional amendments; such legislation in Nebraska as would tend to the best interests of the people; the sacred character of the national debt; the passage of laws insuring the resumption of specie payment, and the Monroe doctrine as applied to the occupation of Mexico by the French. With this general exposition of his position, Mr. Health committed himself to the service of a generous public.

The name of the firm was at the same time changed from Taylor & McClure to Heath, Taylor & Co., and so continued until February, 1866, when Taylor & McClure resumed charge, with E. B. Taylor once more editor, and the name changed to Omaha Daily Republican. In April following, St. A. D. Balcombe purchased one-half the printing establishment of the concern, and was thenceforth a joint owner, exercising an equal control in the management of the paper. The firm name was known as Taylor, McClure & Balcombe, and arrangements were made for the procuration of new material, the building of a new office, on Douglas street, and for a thorough refitting and re-organization of the establishment. In April following, the firm name was again changed, though its composition remain undisturbed, this time to Balcombe & Co., and the new materials above mentioned were noted as having arrived. In July following, Mr. Taylor sold out his interest in the concern to St. A. D. Balcombe, who assumed the onerous duties of editor and publisher, in addition to those of sole proprietor of this journal.

With the issue of April 9, 1867, the Republican began its career as a morning paper. This change was made to afford subscribers the advantages of earlier news, and to the end that the journal might keep pace with the increasing needs of the city. Some considerable surprise was experienced by the citizens of Omaha on the morning of the date mentioned, at finding both the Republican and Herald already at their doors as morning papers, for by some unexplained means the publishers of the latter had decided to change their time of issue at the same time with the Republican folks and unknown to them issued the Herald as a morning paper also. The Republican was at this time the only daily devoted to Republican interest in the State. Its editorials were remarkable for their terseness and vigor of style. It was also an exponent and upholder of Western ambition, and with a daily edition of 1,300 copies, was considered an invaluable auxiliary to the cause of civilization west of the Missouri.

One of Mr. Balcombe's first movements was to enlarge the paper. At the time he became connected with it, the daily was but a six column sheet. He soon enlarged it to seven columns and otherwise improved it by putting the advertisements in new type. The spring of 1866 was famous for its political campaign. During the previous winter the Territorial Legislature had inaugurated the State movement by framing a constitution which was submitted to the people the next June, together with a State ticket for State officers, members of the legislature, and Congress. This was initiated and carried forward mostly by the Republican party, and Mr. Balcombe, as manager of the leading Republican newspaper in Nebraska, espoused and vigorously advocated the State movement editorially and individually, which was successfully being carried with the people by a small majority.

In the meantime the great Union Pacific Railroad enterprise had become an established fact, and its long line of iron rail was moving rapidly up the Platte Valley to the Pacific Ocean. Magnificent shops were being erected in Omaha. This had attracted the attention of the country to the city and State and an immense tide of emigration flowed thither. It came from the East principally and its numbers gave numerical strength to the Republican party, which succeeded in carrying the State congressional tickets and legislature, so that Nebraska sent two senators to the Federal Congress.

During the changes in the Republican's proprietorship, its office had been removed from the Pioneer Block to the third story of the same building over the leather store of L. C. Huntington & Co. Here it remained until the new building, on Douglas street, was completed and in November, 1866, was taken possession of. Omaha had become a city of national importance, and its progress was the wonder of its own people, as also the country. Aiming to keep step with the progress of the city and the State, the proprietor of the Republican again enlarged it to an eight column paper and on the 27th of September, 1867, established a tri-weekly paper. On February 24, 1869, another step in advance was taken, Mr. Balcombe presenting the public with a nine column paper, with its editorial force and the amount of reading matter materially enlarged.

In May, 1869, the services of the Hon. E. B. Taylor, Senator from Douglas County, and President of the Senate, were secured as associate editors. He was one of the oldest journalists in the country, having devoted thirty-five years to the business in various positions from "devil" up to editor and proprietor, and known to be one of the most versatile, pungent, and able writers west of Chicago. He was also an old settler of Nebraska, and thoroughly conversant with its agricultural, financial, and political history. He remained in charge until July 10, 1870, when the editorial department was assumed by John H. Teasdale, whose connection with the press of the country antedated the Harrison campaign of 1840. He first became prominent in 1843 as the editor of the Ohio State Journal, the leading Whig organ of central Ohio; in 1858 he established the Iowa State Register at Des Moines, and under his management that paper attained a wide influence throughout Iowa, in which State it was the acknowledged organ of the Republican party. He was elected State printer, and subsequently was appointed Postmaster at Des Moines. From 1863 until 1870, he was not connected with any newspaper and in accepting charge of the Republican he emerged from retirement to advocate Republican principles in an able and dignified manner. He remained but seven months, however, when Waldo M. Potter, former editor of the Saratogian, Saratoga Springs, New York, became an equal partner in the Republican, and editor-in-chief from January 21, 1871. During his administration, in June, 1871, the identity of the Republican as the party organ of the city and State was in part destroyed by its union with its younger rival, the Omaha Tribune, which had made its appearance some months previous. The propriety and policy of the step was clearly apparent. All recognized the fact that the field was too limited for two Republican papers, that one could be more advantageously operated for the party, better for the interests of the city and certainly more profitably to the owners. These considerations finally crystalized into action, the preliminaries were agreed upon, the terms of the union settled, and one Republican paper was the result. Mr. Potter retired from the editorial chair and was succeeded by C. B. Thomas, late editor of the Tribune while Mr. Balcombe became business manager, but it was not until Sunday morning, June 11, 1871, that these old friends of Omaha's citizens respectfully saluted the public with joined hands and fortunes. They remained as the signs manual, as it were, until January, 1873, when the Tribune was dropped. Two names for a newspaper were considered as cumbersome, confusing, unusual and unnecessary, for which reasons the one of recent date was abandoned, and the "old familiar and truly republican name by which the paper had been known at home and abroad, since 1858," was retained. In July, 1873, Waldo M. Potter was succeeded as editor by the Hon. John Taffe, and on September 28, 1875, under the last management, the Republican presented its respects to the public in an entirely new costume--an outside adornment of the inner temple of newspaper information. The paper embraced in addition, items of all kinds, adapted to all tastes, but properly eliminated from its columns any matter which was calculated to offend "the refined in nature or the pure in spirit." Another improvement ventured at the same time was a reduction in the price of the daily, and on May 18, 1876, D. C. Brooks became managing editor.

The history of the Republican is the history of an individual identified with the growth of Omaha. It was established when the present city was a struggling hamlet, struggling with the prairie wastes for an existence. Its few houses, planted with broad expanses of commons between them, were battling with the Indians for possession of the ground. At that date and under these circumstances, two adventurous pioneers landed a small printing press on the levee, and hauling it up to the plateau upon what there was of Omaha was then located, set up the same in the Pioneer Block and laid the foundation for a success the future has since realized unto the paper. There were two other papers published here at that time, but still the establishment of the Republican was an event in Omaha's history. With that history, as already stated, the paper has since been identified. It has grown from a puling journalistic infant to a power in the State it has done so much to educate and develop, and left the impress of its influence upon the generations who succeeded its birth.

The Republican has of late years been published by the Tribune Printing Company, of which C. E. Yost is manager, and I. W. Miner, secretary; D. C. Brooks and Frederick Nye, editors; Alfred Sorenson, city, and C. D. Schultz, commercial and telegraph editor. The daily circulation is quoted at 3,500, the weekly at 10,344 and the value of the property at $100,000.


Such was the title of a paper that made its advent into Omaha on Sunday morning, July 17, 1864. The object the proprietors had in view in the establishment of the paper were three-fold: the procuring of "bread and butter for their wives and babies, the ultimate provision for a rainy day, and--financial independence." A collateral object was to "furnish the people with an expositor of Democratic truth," etc., and to elaborate upon the articles of the political faith of its editors, which were three in number, "the Union, the Constitution and the laws." W. H. Jones and H. L. Harvey were the publishers, and the Statesman was intended for a morning paper, but after two numbers had been issued it subsided, and the Nebraskian was left to guard the sacred rights of the Democracy unaided.

Top of Page   First Page   Back   Next

Chapter Contents      Part 1      Part 3

County Index