Saunders County NEGenWeb Project
Past and Present of Saunders County Nebraska, 1915
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
EARLY HISTORY OF NEBRASKA UNTIL STATEHOOD
FIRST EXPLORATIONS IN MIDDLE WEST
The first "white man to appear upon the territory west of Lake Michigan was Jean Nicolet, in the year 1634. He was the agent of the Company of the One Hundred, an association legalized by the French king, and came to this territory upon a mission of trade, to persuade the Indians to send their pelts to the lower country. Here he learned of the fact that there was in existence the country "of the Illinois," through which the streams flowed into a mightier river to the southwestward. However, the explorations of Jean Nicolet were confined to a comparatively small area in the vicinity of Green Bay. It is very probable that Nicolet mistook this mighty stream for the western sea.
In 1658 two fur-traders, who had reached Lake Superior, were informed that the Indian tribe known as the Sioux, and very hostile, dwelt on the banks of a great river to the westward. About 1665, in the vicinity of Ashland Bay, Wisconsin, a Jesuit missionary-Claude Allouez-talked with red men who professed to have come from the great river, the "Messippi." The same priest, four years afterward, while visiting with the Indians on Fox River, of Green Bay, was again told that the wide body of water was flowing not far westward, that it had its source a great way to the north and flowed southward to unknown regions. Again in 1667 La Salle floated down one of the main tributaries.
8 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
The exploration of the Upper Mississippi was, therefore, inevitable.
Louis Joliet and James Marquette, the former a fur-trader of the St. Lawrence and the latter a Jesuit missionary at Old Point St. Ignace, on the north side of the strait at Mackinaw, embarked in birchbark canoes, in company with five Frenchmen, on May 17, 1673. They paddled along the northern shores of Lake Michigan, then up Green Bay to its head, and then entered the mouth of the Fox River. They ascended that stream to Lake Winnebago; they were soon once more in the river which they had left, and on June 7th, they reached a village of the Mascoutins, in what is now believed to be Green Lake County, Wisconsin. Here they obtained two savages as guides to the Wisconsin as no man had ever traveled farther westward than the point which they had now reached. On the 10th they again embarked, and were soon at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, which they crossed; and launched their canoes in the latter stream. Deserted by their Indian guides, these intrepid Frenchmen floated down to the mouth of the Wisconsin and out upon the broad expanse of the Mississippi River. They traveled down until they reached the point where the Arkansas River empties into the Mississippi and then rested. Joliet was convinced that the great river emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, so turned the prow of his canoe northward again, entered the Illinois River, went up this stream into Lake Michigan, then Lake Illinois, and proceeded along the shore until they again reached Green Bay. Here Marquette remained to rest and Joliet went to the St. Lawrence to make known his discoveries to Count Frontenac.
The actual discovery of the mouth of the Mississippi was accomplished by the explorer, La Salle. Having obtained royal permission and filled with the wildest dreams, La Salle, with his companions, ascended Lake Ontario, entered the Niagara River, passed around the falls, and rested at a spot by the mouth of Cayuga Creek, where he constructed the Griffin, a stout bark. In August, 1679, this craft spread her sails upon Lake Erie, the
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 9
first craft to sail upon that water. They soon reached the mouth of the Detroit River, thence into Lake Huron and, after a rough voyage, moored in the straits of Mackinaw. In September La Salle passed westward into Lake Michigan and cast anchor near the entrance of Green Bay. From here the boat was sent back with furs and was to return with supplies, but nothing more was ever heard of the Griffin or her crew. La Salle, with fourteen men, then started up Lake Michigan in four canoes and, after many and terrible hardships, reached the head of the lake, circled around it, and made his way to the mouth of the St. Joseph River-called by him the Miamis. From this river La Salle crossed to a branch of the Illinois, down which he floated to the main stream, and there rested, a little below the site of Peoria. Leaving all his companions except five he returned to Canada for provisions, a trip of many days of physical torture. By February 6, 1682, he again stood at the mouth of the Illinois, having returned from his northern trip. During his absence Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan friar, had moved up the Mississippi as far as the Falls of St. Anthony, which he named, and returned by way of the Wisconsin River to Lake Michigan.
La Salle was sure that the Mississippi flowed southward into the Gulf, but he decided to make the trip anyhow, to complete the work begun by Joliet. He and his companions therefore embarked on the stream in canoes, encountered many obstacles, passed through countless dangers, and endured many hardships, until finally, in the early part of April, 1682, they reached the Gulf of Mexico. They took possession of the whole country drained by the Mississippi, in the name of the French king. In the autumn of 1683 La Salle returned to the St. Lawrence by way of the Illinois. He gave the name "Louisiana" to the country explored, from the Falls of St. Anthony to the mouth of the Mississippi.
The vast area watered by the Missouri River was then an undiscovered country. Marquette wrote the following in his description of the voyage down the Mississippi in 1673 with Joliet: "As we were descending the river we saw high rocks with hideous monsters painted upon them and upon which the bravest Indians dare not look. They are as large as a calf, with head and horns like a goat; their eyes red; beard like a tiger's
10 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
and a face like a man's. Their tails are so long that they pass over their heads and between their forelegs under the belly, ending like a fish's tail. They are painted red, green and black. They were so well drawn that I cannot believe that they were made by the Indians. As for what purpose they were made seems to me to be a great mystery. As we fell down the river, and while we were discoursing upon these monsters, we heard a great rushing and bubbling of waters, and small islands of floating trees coming from the mouth of the Pekitanoni (the Missouri) with such rapidity that we could not trust ourselves to go near it. The water of this river is so muddy that we could not drink it. It so discolors the Mississippi as to make the navigation of it dangerous. The river comes from the northwest and empties into the Mississippi and upon its banks are situated a number of Indian villages. * * * The Indians told us that by ascending the Pekitanoni, about six days' journey from its mouth, we would find a beautiful prairie twenty to thirty leagues-broad, at the end of which, to the northwest, is a small river, which is not difficult to navigate. The river runs toward the southwest for ten or fifteen leagues, after which it enters a small lake, which is the source of another deep river, running to the west, where it empties into the sea." Such was the first description of the country of the Missouri.
From the St. Lawrence La Salle returned to France to make arrangements for colonizing the country which he had explored. In July 1684, he left Rochelle with a fleet of four vessels for úthe mouth of the Mississippi. Being ignorant of the coast, his vessels went too far westward and landed at Matagorda Bay, Texas, on February 14, 108.5. He was fully 120 leagues away from the great river of which he was in search. His expedition proved a failure; for one of his vessels was shipwrecked and, on the 14th of March, his principal associate determined to abandon the establishment of a colony. He left La Salle without mechanical implements and other necessary articles to commence operations in an uncultivated region. A fort was erected to protect them on the Rivere aux Vaches, which was named St. Louis in honor of the French king. Early in 1686 La Salle decided to return to Canada, taking with him seventeen persons and leaving twenty at Fort St. Louis, including men, women and
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 11
children-the wretched remnant of the 180 persons who had accompanied him from France. On his journey from Fort St. Louis La Salle was killed by one of his own men, and his colony left behind was afterward broken up and nearly all perished at the hands of the Indians. Further colonization of this new country was broken up by a war between the Iroquois and the British colonies on one side and the French of Canada on the other, commencing in 1689, and which was terminated by the peace of Ryswick in 1697. As soon as peace was established on a solid and permanent basis, the French court gave its attention to this new world. On February 27, 1699, Iberville, with a small colony of Canadians, entered the Mississippi from the Gulf and in May he planted his colony on the Bay of Biloxi, within the limits of the present State of Mississippi. Sauvolle was the first governor and was succeeded by Bienville.
GRANTING OF LOUISIANA COLONY LANDS
On September 17, 1712, the entire Province of Louisiana, including the vast country between the Rockies and the Alleghanies, also including what is now the State of Nebraska, was granted to Anthony Crozart, a wealthy French merchant. The latter agreed to send two ships from France every year, loaded with supplies and emigrants. In his grant, the river "heretofore called Mississippi" is named "St. Louis;" the "Missuorys" is called--'St. Phillip" and the "Ouabache," the Ohio and Wabash united, is named "St. Jerome." Louisiana was made subject to the laws of Paris. Crozart's patent extended sixteen years, but was resigned after five years. A short time later the colony of Louisiana was granted to the Mississippi Company, projected by John Law, the same to have full control of the province. The company built Fort Chartres, about sixty-five miles below the mouth of the Missouri, on the east side of the Mississippi. People were encouraged to come to the new country and in 1717 the City of New Orleans was founded. A French officer named Dutisne was sent from Ncw Orleans in 1719 by Governor Bienville into the country west of the Mississippi. He visited a village of the Osage Indians, five miles from the Osage River, at eighty leagues above its mouth. Thence he crossed to the northwest
12 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
120 miles, over prairies abounding with buffaloes, to some Pawnee villages. Fifteen days later he came to the home of the Padoucahs.
Charlevoix wrote the following in 1721 in regard to the Indian tribes inhabiting the Missouri River valley above the Missouri nation: "Higher up we find the Cansez (Kansas); then the Octotatas (Otoes), which some call the Mactotatas; then the Ajouez (lowas) and Panis (Pawnees), a very populous nation, divided into several cantons, which have names very different from each other. All the people I have mentioned inhabit the west side of the Missouri, except the Ajouez, which are on the east side, neighbors of the Sioux, and their allies."
EARLIEST EXPLORATION IN NEBRASKA
The earliest exploration by white men in the country now forming "the State of Nebraska, according to the best authorities, was by two brothers, Pierre and Paul Mallet, and six other Frenchmen, in June, 1739. In all probability they came from the South and had spent the winter near the mouth of the Niobrara River. Many writers of history have said that Coronado, the Spaniard from Mexico, was the first man to set foot on Nebraska soil. If he reached this state at all it was no farther northward than the boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska. The records of his explorations are too conflicting to merit a decision upon either side of the question.
OWNERSHIP OF LOUISIANA
By the British conquest of Canada in 1760 the Province of Louisiana alone remained to France, but even this she was not in a-position to hold. Accordingly, on November 3, 1762, she ceded it to Spain, the eastern half, though, going to the English. The entire region of the Missouri River, including all that is now in the State of Nebraska, was for thirty-seven years Spanish territory. By 1770 the whole territory was under the domination of the Spaniards. By a treaty of peace signed September 3, 1783, Great Britain declared the United States to extend from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the Mississippi River and from
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 13
a line along the Great Lakes southward to the thirty-first parallel and southern border of Georgia. Still the territory constituting the State of Nebraska was not a part of the United States, but remained a possession of Spain. However, on October 1, 1800, by a treaty concluded at St. Ildefonso, between Napoleon and the King of Spain, the colony of Louisiana was re-ceded to France. The treaty was confirmed and enforced by the treaty of Madrid on March 21, 1801. Thus Nebraska again became French territory.
THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE
Then comes the eventful day in May, 1803, when the treaty was signed by which France ceded the vast territory included in the Louisiana Purchase to our Federal Government. The hand of Providence seems plainly manifest in the course of events which led to its acquisition. It is said that the American envoys who conducted the negotiations on behalf of the United States "spent no small part of their time explaining that they only wished a little bit of Louisiana, including New Orleans and the east bank of the Mississippi." Livingston indeed went so far as to express a very positive disinclination to take the territory west of the Mississippi at any price, stating that he should much prefer to see it remain in the hands of France or Spain, and suggesting by way of an apology for its acquisition, that it might be resold to some European power. Madison, who was at the head of the state department at that time, "felt a strong disinclination to see the national domain extend west of the Mississippi and he so instructed Monroe and Livingston," who were in charge of the matter on our part. But Napoleon, harassed on every hand by the great powers of Europe and fearful that the territory might fall into the hands of the English, rapidly abated his demands from the exorbitant figure first asked, finally offering to take $1,5,000,000 and forced Livingston and Monroe to become reluctant purchasers, not merely of New Orleans, but of all the immense territory stretching vaguely northwestward to the Pacific. Thus came into the possession of the United States a territory of vast and very ill defined extent.
14 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
On October 81, 1803, an act of Congress authorized the President to take possession of Louisiana. The authority of the Government really dates from March 10, 1804, when Amos Stoddard assumed the duties of governor of Upper Louisiana. On the 26th of that month Congress erected Louisiana into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana, Nebraska being a part of the latter.
President Jefferson, in 1804, desiring to learn of the condition of the new country and the lines of travel most accessible, sent out the Lewis and dark expedition. "The party consisted of nine young men from Kentucky, fourteen soldiers of the United States Army, who volunteered their services, two French watermen, an interpreter and hunter, and a black servant belonging to Captain dark--all of these, except the last, were enlisted to serve as privates during the expedition, and three sergeants appointed from amongst them by the captains. In addition to these were engaged a corporal and six soldiers, and nine watermen to accompany the expedition as far as the Mandan nation, in order to assist in carrying the stores, or repelling an attack, which was most to be apprehended between Wood river and that tribe. The necessary stores were sub-divided into seven- bales, and one box, containing a small portion of each article, for use in case of accident. They consisted of a great variety of clothing, working utensils, locks, flints, powder, ball, and articles of greatest use. To these were added fourteen bales and one box of Indian presents, distributed in the same manner, and composed of richly laced coats and other articles of dress, medals, flags, knives, and tomahawks for the chiefs-ornaments of different kinds, particularly beads, looking glasses, handkerchiefs, paints, and generally such articles as were deemed best calculated for the taste of the Indians.
"The party was to embark on board of three boats: the first was a keel boat fifty-five feet long, drawing three feet of water, having one large square sail and twenty-two oars, a deck of ten feet in the bow and stern formed a forecastle and cabin, while the middle was covered by lockers, which might be raised so as to form
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 15
a breastwork in case of attack. This was accompanied by two perioques or open boats, one of six and the other of seven oars. Two horses were at the same time to be led along the banks of the river for the purpose of bringing home game, or hunting in case of scarcity. * * * All the preparations being completed, we left our encampment on Monday, May 14, 1804. This spot is at the mouth of Wood river, a small stream which empties itself into the Mississippi, opposite to the entrance to the Missouri."
While following up the course of the Missouri River the expedition came in sight of the present Nebraska on the afternoon of July 11, 1804. On September 8th left the present limits of the state and continued their voyage up the Missouri. It is said that these hardy explorers first camped on Nebraska soil on the 15th of July, near the mouth of the Little Nemaha. At several subsequent dates the band of men camped on the Nebraska side of the river and had dealings with the Indians who were then living here.
TERRITORY OF LOUISIANA
An act of Congress, passed March 3, 1805, changed the District of Louisiana to the Territory of Louisiana. This act made provisions for a governor, secretary and two judges. It was detached from the Territory of Indiana and erected into a separate territory of the second class, so that what is now Nebraska became a portion of the Territory of Louisiana. President Jefferson appointed James Wilkinson as governor and Frederick Bates as secretary. St. Louis was made the capital. The judges appointed were J. Meigs and John B. C. Lucas and these, with the governor, constituted the legislature.
In 1808 the Missouri Fur Company was organized with a capital of $4.0,000, and trading posts were established in the Middle West.
TERRITORY OF MISSOURI
By an act of Congress, passed June 4s, 1812, the Territory of Louisiana became the Territory of Missouri, within the bounds
16 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
of which was the present State of Nebraska. It provided for a governor and a secretary, and the legislative power was vested in the governor, council and House of Representatives. The members of the House were elected by the people. They sent to the President of the United States the names of eighteen people and from These the President, with the help of the Senate, selected nine, and these formed the council of the new territory. The judicial power was vested in a superior court, in inferior courts and in justices of the peace. On January 19, 1816, the Legislature passed a law making the common law of England the law of the territory.
THE LONG EXPEDITION
An exploring expedition from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to the Rocky Mountains was undertaken in 1819 by Maj. Stephen H. Long, under orders from John C. Calhoun, secretary of war. The Long expedition followed the Platte Valley from the mouth of that river to the confluence of the two forks, and during the course of their travels met and traded with the Pawnees. The account of Major Long has this to say of the Pawnees: "On the following morning, having arranged the party according to rank, and given the necessary instructions for the preservation of order, we proceeded forward, and in a short time came in sight of the first of the Pawnee villages. The trace on which we had traveled since leaving the Missouri had the appearance of being more and more frequented as we approached the Pawnee towns; and here, instead of a single footway, it consisted of more than twenty parallel paths, of similar size and appearance. At a few miles distance from the village we met a party of eight or ten squawks, with hoes or other implements of agriculture, on their wav to the corn plantations. They were accompanied by one young Indian, but in what capacity-whether an assistant, protector or taskmaster-we were not informed. After a ride of about three hours we arrived before the village, and dispatched a messenger to inform the chief of our approach.
"Answer was returned that he was engaged with his chiefs and warriors at a medicine feast, and could not, therefore, come out to meet us. We were soon surrounded by a crowd of women
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 17
and children, who gazed at us with some expressions of astonishment; but as no one appeared to welcome us to the village, arrangements were made for sending on the horses and baggage to a suitable place for encampment, while Major Long, with several gentlemen who wished to accompany him, entered the village. The party, after groping about for some time and traversing a considerable part of the village, arrived at the lodge of the principal chief. Here we were again informed that Tarrarecawaho, with all the principal men of the village, were engaged at a medicine feast. Notwithstanding his absence, some mats were spread for us upon the ground in the back part of the lodge. Upon them we sat down and, after waiting for some time, were presented with a large wooden dish of hominy, or boiled corn. In this was a single spoon of the horn of a buffalo, large enough to hold a pint, which, being used alternately by each of the party, soon emptied the dish of its contents." This was the village of the Grand Pawnees which the Long party visited. The next day the Long party visited the village of the Republican Pawnees, then the Loup village. The population of the three villages was supposed to have been 6,000.
ADMISSION OF MISSOURI
On March 2, 1819, Congress created out of Missouri Territory the Territory of Arkansas. On March 6th, the year 1820, an act was approved authorizing the people of Missouri Territory to form a constitution and state government and for the admission of the state into the Union. This was assented to by the people in state convention on July 19th following, and on March 2, 1821, the state was admitted, with conditions, by a joint resolution of Congress. These conditions were accepted and Missouri became a state by proclamation on August 10, 1821.
For nearly thirty-three years after the admission of Missouri as a state, the country now included within the boundaries of Nebraska was practically without a government.
In the spring of 1822 William H. Ashley, the head of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company of St. Louis, equipped two boats __ ascend the Missouri to the mouth of the Yellowstone River. ever disaster overcame the expedition, the men suffered and
18 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
died, and over half of the property was lost. However, this company, also the Missouri Fur Company, survived the hardships and continued in the business for several years subsequent.
By a treaty proclaimed April 12, 1834, the four confederate bands of Pawnees, the Grand Pawnees, the Pawnee Loups, Republican Pawnees and the Pawnee Tappaye, residing on the Platte and Loup Fork, ceded and relinquished to the United States all their right, title and interest in the land lying south of the Platte. By another treaty, proclaimed on the same day as the above, the Otoes and Missouris ceded to the general government all their right to the lands lying south of the following lines: "Beginning on the Little Nemohaw (Nemaha) River, at the northwest corner of the land reserved by treaty at Prairie du Chien on the 15th of July, 1830, in favor of certain half-breeds of the Omahas, lowas, Otoes, Yancton and Santee bands of Sioux, and running westerly with said Little Nemohaw to the head branches of the same; and thence running in a due west line as far west as said Otoes and Missouris have or pretend to have any claim." The Pawnees, as well as the surrounding tribes, were greatly ravaged by small-pox in 1832, and the same year the great Pawnee village on the Republican was burned by the Delawares. The Pawnees, by their treaty with the United States the next year, agreed to confine themselves on the north side of the Platte, but here another calamity fell upon them, in the shape of the Sioux. Many of the Pawnees were slaughtered and from this date they rapidly decreased in numbers.
THE FREMONT EXPEDITION
On May 22, 1842, John C. Fremont, under the auspices of the Government, arrived at St. Louis, bound upon an expedition to the Rocky Mountains by way of the Kansas and Platte rivers. The first party came through Nebraska in the summer of that year by way of the Oregon trail; the party consisting of twenty-seven men, mostly Creole Canadian frontiersmen, including Kit Carson as guide. The expedition left Chouteau's trading post
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 19
upon the Missouri River on June 10, 1842, under orders to explore all the country between the frontiers of Missouri and the south pass in the Rocky Mountains and on the line of the Kansas and Great Platte rivers. This was done by the middle of August and the expedition returned along the same route, reaching the confluence of the north and south forks on September 12th. Fremont's Journal thus explains: "At this point I had determined to make another attempt to descend the Platte by water, and accordingly spent two days in the construction of a bull boat. Men were sent out on the evening of our arrival, the necessary number of bulls killed, and their skins brought to camp. Four of the best of them were strongly sewed together with buffalo sinew, and stretched over a basket frame of willow. The seams were then covered with ashes and tallow, and the boat left exposed to the sun the greater part of the day, which was sufficient to dry and contract the skin and make the whole work solid and strong. It had a rounded bow, was eight feet long and five broad and drew with four men about four inches of water. On the morning of the 15th we embarked in our hide boat, Mr. Preuss and myself with two men. We dragged her over the sands for three or four miles, and then left her on the bar, and abandoned entirely all attempts to navigate this river. The names given by the Indians are always remarkably appropriate; and certainly none was ever more so than that which they have given to this stream,-the Nebraska, or Shallow River. Walking steadily the remainder of the day, a little before dark we overtook our people at their evening camp, about twenty-one miles below the junction. The next morning we crossed the Platte and continued our way down the river bottom on the left bank, where we found an excellent plainly beaten road.
"On the 18th we reached Grand Island, which is fifty-two miles long, with an average breadth of one mile and three quarters. * * * On the 22d we arrived at the village of the Grand Pawnees, on the right bank of the river, about thirty miles above the mouth of the Loup fork. They were gathering in their corn, and we obtained from them a very welcome supply of vegetables.
"The morning of the 24th we reached the Loup fork of the Platte. At the place where we forded it this stream was 430 yards broad, with a swift current of clear water; in this respect
20 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
differing from the Platte, which has a muddy yellow color, derived from the limestone and marl formation of which we had previously spoken."
In 1847 the country which is now Nebraska was crossed by many Mormons on their way to Salt Lake. Two years later began the great rush to the gold fields, the wonderful days of '49, and the trail led directly across the state.
ORGANIZATION OF NEBRASKA TERRITORY
The first effort to erect a territory west of Missouri and Iowa vas unsuccessful. This was made in 1851-52. The matter did lot reach a vote. At the next session, 1852-53, Willard P. Hall of Missouri, offered a bill in the House organizing the Territory of Platte, which included within the prescribed area a great portion of what is now Nebraska. The bill was referred to a committee on territories and from that committee William A. Richardson, of Illinois, reported a bill organizing the Territory of Nebraska, covering the same area. Notwithstanding the bill passed the House by a vote of 98 to 43 and then entered the Senate, whereupon the memorable struggle began. The bill reached the Senate on the llth of February, 1853, and on the 17th Stephen A. Douglas reported it from the committee to which it was referred without amendment. On March 2d, the last day but one of the session, Mr. Douglas moved that it be taken up. The Southern members opposed this and on the following day he renewed his motion. Then it was that Solon Borland, of Arkansas, moved that the bill be allowed to lie upon the table. This amendment prevailed by a vote of 23 to 17. With the exception of the senators from Missouri the slave states were solidly opposed to the organization of the new territory.
The Twenty-third Congress began its session December 5, 1853, with a large democratic majority in both branches. During the time between the presentation of the bill and the opening of the session, the people of Iowa had manifested their disapproval of the lines described in the bill and desired to have the country west of the state opened to settlement. Also, thousands of people were anxiously awaiting the extinguishment of the Indian title to the lands, wishing to locate their homes west of the Missouri.
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 21
In the fall of 1853 a number of men assembled at Bellevue, in Sarpy County, and chose Hadley D. Johnson, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, as their representative. On December 14th Augustus C. Dodge, senator from Iowa, introduced a bill in the Senate to organize the Territory of Nebraska. The slavery question brought forth copious debate upon this bill, a recital of which is too long for this sketch of state history. Hadley Johnson reached Washington and ably championed the bill, so much that finally a bill was offered in which two territories instead of the one called Nebraska were proposed. The south line of the newer territory, to be called Kansas, was subsequently moved northward, to conform with the line between the lands of the Cherokee and Osage Indians, or from thirty-six degrees thirty minutes to the twenty-seventh degree north latitude. After a very protracted debate upon the subject, Congress, on the night of March 3d, passed the amended bill by a vote of -37 to 14. In the House a bill had been introduced by Mr. Richardson of Illinois which was practically a duplicate of that offered by Senator Douglas and passed, as above stated. This bill also passed through the House after much discussion. It was in essence the amended Senate bill. This bill received the Presidential endorsement on May 30, 1854.
The tract embraced 351,558 square miles of territory, extending from the fortieth parallel of north latitude to the British possessions on the north, and from the Missouri River on the east to the summit of the Rocky Mountains on the west. The erection of the Territory of Colorado in 1861 and the creation of the Territory of Dakota in 1867 further diminished the area of the State of Nebraska.The first officers appointed by President Pierce under the provisions of the organic bill were: Francis Burt of South Carolina, governor; Thomas B. Cuming of Iowa, secretary; Fenner Ferguson of Michigan, chief justice; James Bradley of Indiana and Edward R. Hardin of Georgia, associate justices; Mark W. Izard of Arkansas, marshal; and Experience Estabrook of Wisconsin, attorney.
Governor Burt reached Bellevue, Nebraska, on October 7, 1854, and on the 16th received the oath of office from Chief Justice Ferguson. The governor's health had been very poor during the whole time of his journey from the East; he had been
22 PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY
compelled to remain in St. Louis for a rest en route. The day he took the oath of office he became confined to his bed and two days later, on the 18th, he died, having been first governor of the new territory but two days. The vacancy was filled by T. B. Cuming who had been appointed secretary. Omaha was selected as the capital and the first Territorial Legislature met there on January 16,1855.
ORGANIZATION OF NEBRASKA AS A STATE
The first attempt to make the Territory of Nebraska into a state was during the sixth session of the Legislature and the proposition was submitted to the vote of the people on March 5, 1860, and was defeated by a count of 2,372 to 2,094.
On April 19, 1864, an act by Congress was approved and became a law, enabling the people of Nebraska to form a state constitution and government. Early in 1866 a constitution was framed for Nebraska. The bill admitting Nebraska as a state was passed by Congress July 28, 1866, but owing to the near approach of the end of the session, the President did not take any action upon it. Thus Nebraska was compelled to continue as a territory. When Congress opened again in December, 1866, a bill was immediately presented and in the following January received the endorsement of both Houses. However, it was vetoed by the President on the ground that it embraced conditions not contained in the enabling act. Notwithstanding this setback the bill was passed by both houses over the President's veto; by a vote of 30 to 9 in the Senate on February 8th, and, on the next day, by a vote of 120 to 44 in the House. By proclamation of Governor Saunders, dated February 14, 1867, the Territorial Legislature was convened February 20th for the purpose of acting on the fundamental conditions imposed on this state by Congress. The necessary formalities were observed and on March 1, 1867, President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation declaring Nebraska a state. The first governor of the new state was David Butler and the first Legislature was that of July 4, 1866.
Thus ends this resume of state history, which must be taken into account in leading up to the immediate subject, Saunders
PAST AND PRESENT OF SAUNDERS COUNTY 23
County. A cursory account of the various steps in the development of the territory of which Saunders County is a part is necessary to the full understanding of the latter. There is volume upon volume of historical writings, treatises, letters, biographies, etc., available upon every phase of the state's history, from the early explorations to the present administration; hence the brief outline here given.