Traders and Missionaries | The Mormon Exodus | The Gold Hunters|
Nebraska as Seen in 1856 | Erection of Nebraska
Text of the Organic Act | Organization of the Territory|
Arrival and Death of Gov. Burt
Acting Governor Cuming | Location of the Capital|
The Machinery in Motion | The First Legislature
Election of Delegate | Mr. Clark's Prophecy | Gov. M. W. Izard|
First Formal Census | The Second Legislature | First School Report
The Third Session | Attempted Removal of the Capital
Repeal of the Criminal Code | The Fourth Session
The Florence Secession | The Fifth Session|
The Death of Secretary Cuming | Gov. S. W. Black | The Sixth Session
Attempt to Create a State | Gov. Alvin Saunders|
The Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Sessions
The Enabling Act
Constitution of 1866 | Senator Gere's Sketch|
Vote on the Constitution | President Johnson's Veto|
Formal Admission of the State | The State Legislature
Official Roster of the Territory | Judiciary
Turning back in order of events from where Senator Gere's interesting and comprehensive sketch has carried the narrative, and picking up the drier threads of this matter-of-fact record, we give in detail the important features of the times, beginning with the vote on adoption of the constitution. As has been stated, this vote was taken June 2, 1866, with the following result:
Counties. For. Against. Burt .................................... 222 42 Buffalo ................................. 1 41 Cedar ................................... 12 39 Cuming .................................. 31 41 Cass .................................... 233 480 Dixon .................................. 34 36 Dakota .................................. 106 32 Douglas ................................. 491 572 Dodge ................................... 96 45 Gage .................................... 96 61 Hall .................................... 2 29 Johnson ................................. 108 69 Jones ................................... 32 13 Kearney ................................. 21 7 L'eau qui Court (no returns) ............ .. .. Lancaster ............................... 95 53 Lincoln ................................. 30 20 Merrick ................................. 16 8 Nemaha .................................. 346 489 Otoe .................................... 432 870 Platte ................................ 123 55 Pawnee .................................. 233 31 Richardson .............................. 503 373 Sarpy ................................... 109 231 Seward .................................. 23 24 Saline .................................. 5 54 Washington .............................. 404 89 SOLDIERS' VOTE. Cavalry, First Nebraska Vet. Vol., Co. A. 62 1 Cavalry, First Nebraska Vet. Vol., Co. C. .. .. Cavalry, First Nebraska Vet. Vol., Co. F. 42 1 Cavalry. First Nebraska Vet. Vol., Co. G. 16 .. Cavalry, First Nebraska Vet. Vol., Co. K. 14 32 _____ _____ Total ................................... 3,938 3,838
The constitution provided that the first session of the so-called State Legislature should meet July 4, 1866; and in accordance therewith, the members chosen at the preceding election assembled in Omaha, in formal conclave, on that day. The roster of that body was:
House--Richardson, William Parchen, B. F. Cunningham, J. M. Deweese, J. T. Hoile; Pawnee, C. H. Gere; Gage and Jones, N. Blakeley; Nemaha, George W. Fairbrother, W. G. Glasgow, Daniel C. Sanders, W. A. Pollock; Johnson, A. W. Gray; Otoe, E. S. Reed, A. Tuxbury, D. M. Anderson, James Thome, John Graves; Lancaster, Seward and Saunders, James Queen; Lancaster, Ezra Tullis; Cass, S. Maxwell, W. F. Chapin, T. R. Bell, H. D. Hathaway; Sarpy, T. H. Robertson, J. D. Smith; Douglas. P. O. Hanlon, A. J. Critchfield, J. W. Paddock, V. Burkley, W. A. Denton; Dodge, George J. Turtan; Platte, E. W. Arnold; Platte, Merrick, Hall and Buffalo, James E. Boyd; Washington, David McDonald, W. R. Hamilton; Burt and Cuming, G. P. Thomas; Dakota, A. H. Baker; Dakota, Dixon, Cedar and L'eau qui Court, R. H. Wilbur; Dixon, Cedar and L'eau qui Court, Kelly Frazier. Officers, W. A. Pollock, Speaker; J. H. Brown, Chief Clerk; J. T. Davis, Assistant Clerk; F. M. Dovington, Sergeant-at-Arms; E. A. Graves, Doorkeeper.
Council--Nathas S. Porter, Frank Welch, James G. Megeath, M. C. Wilbur, David Leach, Vincient Krummer, Thomas K. Hann, John Cadman, S. H. Calhoun, Oliver Stevenson, S. M. Rich, F. D. Tisdale, A. S. Stewart. Officers, F. Welch, President; C. E. Yost, Chief Clerk; E. K. Valentine, Assistant Clark; Wilson E. Majors, Sergeant-at-Arms; P. Judson, Doorkeeper.
As is shown in Senator Gere's address, a bill admitting Nebraska as a State was passed by Congress July 28, 1866, but, owing to the near approach of the end of that session of the national body, the quiet pocketing of the bill by the President was all that was needed to prevent its becoming a law at that time.
As Nebraska was still a Territory, with Gov. Saunders in the executive office, the government continued as theretofore.
In this condition was the Territory at the assembling of another Congress, in December, 1866. A bill looking to the admission of Nebraska was at once presented, and, in the following January, received the indorsement of both Houses. But the contest did not end here, for no sooner was the measure passed than it was vetoed by the President, on the ground that it embraced conditions not contained in the enabling act; that the proceedings attending the formation of the constitution were different from those prescribed, and that the population of the Territory did not justify its becoming a State. The bill was, however, passed by both Houses of Congress over the President's veto, by a vote of 30 to 9 in the Senate, February 8; and by a vote, the day following, in the House, of 120 to 44.
The act was not to take effect "except upon the fundamental condition that within the State of Nebraska there shall be no denial of the elective franchise, or any other right, to any person by reason of race or color, except Indians not taxed; and upon the further fundamental condition that the Legislature of said State, by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of said State to the said fundamental condition."
By proclamation of Gov. Saunders, dated February 14, 1867, the Territorial Legislature was convened February 20, inst., for the purpose of acting on the fundamental conditions imposed on this State by Congress. The Governor's message was as follows, when submitted to joint convention of both Houses:
GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
In pursuance of an act of Congress, certified to have been passed on the 8th and 9th of February, 1867, you have been convened in extra session for the purpose of taking such action as you may think proper in regard to adopting or rejecting certain proposed conditions, which are made precedent to the admission of Nebraska into the Union as an independent State. The Constitution, as you are well aware, which was adopted by the people of the Territory in June last, restricted or limited the privileges of the elective franchise to the "white male citizens of the State." Congress, near the close of the last session, passed a bill to accept our Constitution just as it had been made and adopted by the people of the Territory. The President of the United States withheld his signature from the bill, and consequently it failed to become a law. A similar bill was presented at the commencement of the present Congress; but certain conditions were attached to the bill, and these conditions must be first accepted and approved by you before the State can he properly admitted, as provided by this act. The following is certified to me as a true copy of the bill as it passed both Houses of Congress:
AN ACT FOR THE ADMISSION OF NEBRASKA INTO THE UNION.
Whereas, On the 21st day of March, A. D. 1864, Congress passed an act to enable the people of Nebraska to form a Constitution and State Government, and offered to admit said State, when so formed, into the Union upon compliance with certain conditions therein specified; and whereas, it appears that the said people have adopted a Constitution, which, upon due examination, is found to conform to the conditions of said act and to be republican in its form of government, and that they now ask admission into the Union. Therefore
Be it enacted, etc., That the Constitution and State government which the people of Nebraska have formed for themselves be and the same is hereby accepted, ratified and confirmed, and that the said State of Nebraska shall be and is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America, and is hereby admitted into the Union upon an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatsoever.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the said State of Nebraska shall be, and is hereby declared to be, entitled to all the rights, privileges, grants and immunities, and to be subject to all the conditions and restrictions of an act entitled "An act to enable the people of Nebraska to form a Constitution and State Government and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original states," approved April 19, 1864.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That this act shall not take effect except upon the fundamental condition that within the State of Nebraska there shall be no denial of the elective franchise, or of any other right, to any person by reason of race or color, excepting Indians not taxed; and upon the further fundamental condition that the Legislature of said State, by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of said State to the said fundamental condition, and shall transmit to the President of the United States an authentic copy of said act; upon receipt whereof the President, by proclamation, shall forthwith announce the fact, whereupon said fundamental condition shall be held as a part of the organic law of the State; and thereupon, and without any further proceedings on the part of Congress, the admission of said State into the Union shall be considered as complete. Said State Legislature shall be convened by the Territorial Governor within thirty days after the passage of this act, to act upon the condition submitted therein.
SCHUYLER COLFAX, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, February 8, 1867.
The President of the United States having returned to the Senate, in which it originated, the bill entitled "An act for the admission of Nebraska into the Union," with his objections thereto, the Senate proceeded, in pursuance of the Constitution, to reconsider the same, and
Resolved, That the said bill do pass, two-thirds of the Senate agreeing to pass the same.
Attest: J. W. FORNEY, Secretary of the Senate,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, February 9, 1867.
The House of Representatives having proceeded, in pursuance of the Constitution, to reconsider the bill entitled "An act for the admission of the State of Nebraska in the Union," returned to the Senate, by the President of the United States, with his objections, and sent by the Senate to the House of Representatives, with the message of the President returning the bill,
Resolved; That the bill do pass, two-thirds of the House of Representatives agreeing to pass the same.
It no doubt would have been more satisfactory to you, as I frankly confess it would have been to me, if Congress had given the settlement of this question directly to the people of the Territory, instead of requiring of you, who were not particularly instructed on the subject, to take upon yourselves the whole responsibility of deciding this subject for them. But we must now meet the question as we find it, or as it has been presented by Congress. That a great revolution or change in the minds of the people of our whole country, in regard to granting equal and exact justice to all men, irrespective of race or color, is in proof before us, not only by the action of Congress, but also by the action of the people themselves in a large majority of the States of the Union. My opinion is, that this liberal spirit is rapidly on the increase among the people of our own Territory, and if such should be your belief, it would cause you to have much less hesitancy about accepting the conditions proposed than you otherwise might have.
The day, in my opinion, is not far distant when property qualifications, educational qualifications and color qualifications, as precedent to the privilege of voting, will be known no more by the American people, but that intelligence and manhood will be the only qualifications necessary to entitle an American citizen to the privileges of an elector.
Gentlemen of the Nebraska Legislature, I now, with these concise statements of the case, leave the whole subject in your hands, believing that you will act, for your respective constituents and for the whole people of the Territory, in such a manner as will best reflect their sentiments and their wishes, hoping that harmony and fraternal feeling may characterize your deliberations.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Omaha, February 20, 1867.
The measure was immediately presented for action in the form of a bill, and passed the Senate by a vote of seven to three, and House by a vote of twenty to six, and was approved by the Governor.
The Legislature provided for the formal notification of the President of the United States of the acceptance of the conditions prescribed, and then adjourned.
March 1, 1867, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation declaring Nebraska a State, the text of which is here given:
PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WHEREAS, The Congress of the United States, did by an act approved on the 19th day of April, 1864, authorize the people of the Territory of Nebraska to form a Constitution and State Government and for the admission of such State into the Union, on an equal footing with the original States, upon certain conditions in said act specified; and whereas, said people did adopt a Constitution conforming to the provisions and conditions of said act and ask admission into the Union; and whereas, the Congress of the United States did on the 8th and 9th days of February, 1867, in mode prescribed by the Constitution, pass a further act for the admission of the State of Nebraska into the Union, in which last-named act it was provided that it should not take effect except upon the fundamental condition that within the State of Nebraska there should be no denial of the elective franchise, or of any other right to any person by reason of race or color, excepting Indians not taxed, and upon the further fundamental condition, that the Legislature of said State, by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of said State to the said fundamental condition, and should transmit to the President of the United States an authenticated copy of said act of the Legislature of said State, upon receipt whereof, the President, by proclamation, should forthwith announce the fact, whereupon the said fundamental condition should be held as a part of the organic law of the State ; and, thereupon. and without any further proceedings on the part of Congress, the admission of said State into the Union should be considered as complete ; and whereas, within the time prescribed by said act of Congress of the 8th and 9th of February, 1867, the Legislature of the State of Nebraska did pass an act ratifying the said act of Congress of the 8th and 9th of February, 1867, and declaring that the aforenamed provisions of the third section of said last-named act of Congress should be a part of the organic law of the State of Nebraska ; and whereas, a duly authenticated copy of said act of the Legislature of the State Nebraska has been received by me;
Now, therefore, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States of America, do in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress last herein named, declare and proclaim the fact that the fundamental conditions imposed by Congress on the State of Nebraska, to entitle that State to admission to the Union, have been ratified and accepted, and that the admission of the said State into the Union is now complete.
In testimony whereof I have hereto set my hand, and have caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington this 1st day of March, in the year of our Lord 1867, and of the independence of the United States of America the ninety-first.
As has been shown, the constitution of 1866, Section 5, directed the first session of the State Legislature to be held July 4, 1866; but at the time the session was held, Nebraska was still a Territory, and could not be admitted into the Union until the Territorial Governor, Hon. Alvin Saunders, had called the State Legislature together, and they had passed an act, approved February 21, 1867, by Hon. David Butler, Governor of the State, declaring the assent of the State of Nebraska to conditions imposed by Congress for its admission into the Union. In the meantime, and after this first session of the State Legislature, the authorities of the Territory were still in office. The Territorial Legislature met January 10, 1867, and held its twelfth session, passing some laws; so that, strictly speaking, the first Legislature held after the admission of Nebraska into the Union, which had any authority to pass laws for its government, was that which, in the journal and the laws, is called the third session; but the numbering of all State sessions begins with that held July 4, 1866, and hence that session is denominated the first.
The twelfth and last session of the Territorial Legislature, as has been stated, met at Omaha January 10, 1867. The roster is here given:
Council--Barnabas Bates, J. D. Neleigh, G. W. Doane, W. Baumer, E. H. Rogers. F. K. Freeman. Lawson Sheldon, James E. Doom, M. S. Reeves, W. W. Wardell, T. J. Majors, W. A. Presson and A. S. Stewart; Officers, E. H. Rogers, President; O. B. Hewett, Chief Clerk; L. L. Holbrook, Assistant Clerk; E. A. Kirkpatrick, Sergeant-at-Arms; John Cadman, Doorkeeper.
House--Pawnee, John R. Butler; Richardson, G. Duerfeldt, J. M. Deweese, Joseph T. Hoile; Nemaha, George Crowe, William Daily, Lewis Waldter, C. F. Haywood; Otoe, W. M. Hicklin, J. R. Graves, A. F. Harvey, D. M. Anderson; Cass, D. Cole. W. F. Chapin, Isaac Wiles, A. B. Faller; Johnson, A. W. Gray; Lancaster, E. H. Hardenberger; Lancaster, Seward and Saunders, E. L. Clark; Sarpy, George N. Crawford, A. W. Trumble; Douglas, G. W. Frost, D. S. Parmelee, H. Link, S. M. Curran. E. P. Child; Dodge, J. E. Dorsey; Platte, John E. Kelley; Washington, L. J. Abbott, Amasa S. Warwick; Dakota, Daniel Duggan; Platte, Merrick, Hall and Buffalo, John Wallichs; Gage and Jones, Hugh M. Ross; Burt and Cuming, Martin Stuefer; Lincoln, Kearney, Saline and Butler, William Baker. Officers, W. F. Chapin, Speaker; J. S. Bowen, Chief Clerk; W. S. Brewster, Assistant Clerk; J. M. Howard, Sergeant-at- Arms.
The official roster of the Territory, other than that of legislators, which has already been given in the summary of the proceedings of that body, is stated in the following form, the dates attached to each name being the time when their respective terms began:
Auditors--Charles B. Smith, March 16, 1855; Samuel L. Campbell, August 3, 1857; William E. Moore, June 1, 1858; Robert C. Jordan, August 2, 1858; William E. Harvey, October 8, 1861; John Gillespie, October 10, 1865.
Treasurers--B. P. Rankin, March 16, 1855; William W. Wyman, November 6, 1855; Augustus Kountze, October 8, 1861.
Librarians--James S. Izard, March 16, 1855; H. C. Anderson. November 6, 1855; John H. Kellom, August 3, 1857, Alonzo D. Luce, November 7, 1859; Robert S. Knox, 1861.
Delegates to Congress--Napoleon B. Gidding, December 12, 1854; Bird B. Chapman, November 6, 1855; Fenner Ferguson, August 3, 1857; Experience Estabrook, October 11, 1859; Samuel G. Daily, October 9, 1860; Phineas W. Hitchcock, October 11, 1864.
Popular vote for Delegate to Congress:
1855--Bird B. Chapman 380; Hiram P. Bennett, 292; scattering, 18; total, 690.
1857--Fenner Ferguson, 1,642; Bird B. Chapman, 1,559: Benjamin P. Rankin, 1,241; John M. Thayer, 1,171; scattering 21; total, 5,634.
1859--Experience Estabrook, 3,100; Samuel G. Daily, 2,800; total, 5,900.
1860--J. Sterling Morton, 2,957; Samuel G. Daily, 2,943; total, 5,900.
1862--Samuel G. Daily, 2,331; John F. Kinney, 2,180; total. 4,511.
1864--Phineas W. Hitchcock, 3,421; George L. Miller, 2,399; scattering, 2; total, 5,822.
Marshals of the United States--Mark W. Izard, October 28, 1854; Eli R. Doyle, April 7, 1855; Benjamin P. Rankin, March 29, 1856; Phineas W. Hitchcock, September 19, 1861; Casper E. Yost, April 1, 1865.
(a) Acting Governor from October 18, 1854 to February 20, 1855, and from October 25, 1857, to January 12, 1858. Died March 12, 1858.
(b) Acting Secretary until the arrival of Secretary J. Sterling Morton.
(c) Acting Governor from December 5, 1858, to May 2, 1859, and from February 24, 1861, to 1861.
(d) Acting Governor from May 15, 1861, and during a greater portion of the period to 1867.
The organic law provided for the creation of a Territorial Court, consisting of a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices. The Territory was divided into three districts, presided over by the Justices respectively, and the entire bench constituted the Supreme Court. The Chief Justices were: Fenner Ferguson, October 12, 1854; Augustus Hall, March 15, 1858; William Pitt Kellogg, May 27, 1861; William Kellogg, May 8, 1865; William A. Little, who died in office, 1866. The Associate Justices were: Edward R. Harden, December 4, 1854; James Bradley, October 25, 1854; Samuel W. Black, 1857; Eleazer Wakely, April 22, 1857; Joseph Miller, April 9, 1859; William E. Lockwood, May 16, 1861; Joseph E. Streeter, November 18, 1861; Elmer S. Dundy, June 22, 1863. The Clerks were: H. C. Anderson, 1856; Charles S. Salisbury, 1858; E. B. Chandler, 1859; John H. Kellom, 1861; William Kellogg, Jr., 1865. District Attorneys, S. A. Strickland, June 11, 1855; Jonathan H. Smith, June 9, 1855; D. S. McGary, May 10, 1855; John M. Latham, Jacob Safford, William Kline, November 6, 1855; James G. Chapman, William McLennan, George W. Doane, August 3, 1857, U. C. Johnson, October 11, 1859.