Saunders County NEGenWeb Project
Past and Present of Saunders County Nebraska, 1915
A PREFATORY REMARK
The history of a community is, in many respects, particularly the pioneer history, a story founded on tradition. It is a well known fact that the records of the days of long ago have not been properly preserved, so that a strict, reliable account of the movements and occurrences of the middle part of the nineteenth century has to be governed largely by hearsay and comparative statements. In the beginning of Nebraska history, as made by the white men, and also that of Saunders County, settlements were miles apart. This was a country of long distances and men reached one place from another by horseback, wagon or walking. The motive of the white men in coming to this country was an economic one. It was when living conditions became undesirable to them in eastern communities that the exodus to the Great West occurred.
The men who have attempted the task of preparing a history of Saunders County, Nebraska, have endeavored conscientiously to perform the work and to secure facts which are creditable to the present generation and which should be recorded for the benefit of the generations yet to come. The biographical volume should lie especially interesting in future years to the descendants of those who have made history in these earlier times. The teachings of the fathers and pride in their achievements have been mighty factors in the world's advancement. The pioneers who builded states were not the products of chance, but came from strong and vigorous ancestry whose history their descendants should be proud to record and perpetuate.
That much has been omitted which should have been preserved is probable; that some statements have not been sufficiently extended is likely; and that some generally accepted facts may not accord with individual experience and preconceived notions is possible; but the men who have prepared the work have done the best they could with the means of knowledge at hand.
2 A PREFATORY REMARK
History is not like mathematics, an exact science. Witnesses in court who see the same things rarely see them from the same angle or testify alike as to the exact facts. Much of history, as stated before, is tradition, tales passing from mouth to mouth, from sire to son, from generation to generation, and the truth never gains in the transmission of these tales. We accept as fact a great deal of history which doubtless never occurred; much that in the light of the larger experience of our time we know cannot be true, but we take it with allowance and glean from it what good we can.
The public and written records are reliable so far as they go, but are more often defective or incomplete. The recollections of actors in past events are of value as history, but their credibility must be taken with regard to the accuracy of their observation and memory, the soundness of their judgment and their reliability to relate the facts unbiased by preconceived notions of personal interest.
From all available sources the historians have sought to gather the facts for this work. The development of Saunders County covers less than three-quarters of a century; most of it has been accomplished in the last forty years. But in the brief space of time which this history covers, the early settlers who have made history have nearly all gone. Many of the pioneers moved on to newer scenes when population, as they felt, began to crowd them. They were not content to be other than pioneers. The most of the first generation of settlers on the wild prairie are dead. They were too busy making a living to leave much record of their doings in the early times, and so the historian has to gather as he can the materials for this work; and however incomplete his record of the development may be, it will yet prove of value to generations to come. We hope it will prove on completion all that its projectors have promised and that its subscribers will appreciate the work that has been accomplished. All our judgment of our fellow men and of their work may follow the old adage: "Be to their faults a little blind: Be to then-virtues very kind."
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