Real Nebraska Stories: Wings Over Nebraska

Now that all of our book titles are available at Amazon Prime, we’re highlighting a book a day to let you know about all the great Real Nebraska Stories that we offer. Buy your copies here – https://www.amazon.com/Wings-over-Nebraska-Vince-Goeres/dp/0933307314

Wings Over Nebraska: Historic Aviation Photographs

Wings Over Nebraska by Vince Goeres is now available at Amazon Prime.

Did you know Charles Lindbergh learned to fly in Nebraska? Did you know the mechanic fro the Wright Brothers was from North Platte? Were you aware that Nebraska women were active Women Airforce Service Pilots?

Aviation enthusiasts can get a taste of the Nebraska skies without ever leaving their armchairs with Wings Over Nebraska, a book of historic Nebraska aviation photos forthcoming from Nebraska State Historical Society Press. The book was written by long-time aviation enthusiast Vince Goeres with NSHS assistant editor Kylie Kinley and boasts an introduction by Roger Welsch. Wings Over Nebraska showcases the best of the Society’s aviation photos from the collections, with chapters on Nebraska’s early pilots (who were often farm boys with a daredevil streak), Orville Ralston, Nebraska’s only World War I flying ace, the nationally known Lincoln Aviation and Flying School, Offutt Air Base’s early days as a balloon school, and many other stories of Nebraska’s role in the development of aviation.  Wings Over Nebraska is available at the NSHS Landmark store, local booksellers, and at Amazon.

 

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What Is It Wednesday Photo Edition: Wooden Spinny Wheel

RG2608.PH0-002454

RG2608.PH0-002454

Are you ready for a little photo fun?  I recently came across this image in our collection. Can you guess what this strange contraption was used for?  Post your best guesses in the comment section below.

I will even give you a hint. Nebraska photographer Solomon Butcher took this photograph in Kearney, Nebraska in about 1907.

I can’t wait to see your responses. Good luck!

Karen Keehr
Curator of Photographs

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Timeline Tuesday: An 1880s Hair Hoax

4_dectimeline_hair_rg5762ph000016

Five young women style hair in a tent in this photo taken near Monroe, Nebraska around 1905. RG5762-16

It was the style during the 1880s and 1890s for women to augment their own long hair with carefully matched hair from other humans or animals. Nebraska women usually obtained this additional hair through local grocers. The trade must have been lucrative, because storekeepers sometimes inserted ads in their local newspapers offering to fill “hair embellishment needs.” During the 1930s workers of the WPA Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration recorded the following reminiscence of a Nebraska woman whose desire for such embellishment in the 1880s led to a joke at her expense.

“A pioneer lady in Saunders County, who, because of the embarrassing nature of her narration wishes to remain anonymous, has the following story to tell about the hoax that was played on her one day in the ’80’s when she felt the need of ordering a hair switch. She says: ‘Nearly everyone was wearing extra hair in those days because the prevailing style of hair dress required it. I had never worn any hair except my own but was now beginning to feel old-fashioned when I went to church or social gatherings where most of the ladies had enough hair­false and their own­to stuff a mattress. But I didn’t like the idea of going into a store and placing an order for the additional hair I desired. It seemed to me to be something to be ashamed of, like getting false teeth or artificial breast forms.’

“‘However one morning, when I must have felt unusually brave, I clipped some sample hairs from my head and tied them together with a pink ribbon after which I put them in an envelope. This envelope was placed on the front room table where it wouldn’t be forgotten when we went to town that afternoon for our supply of groceries. . . . ‘

“‘I first bought groceries when I arrived in town that afternoon, then I ambled over to the dry goods section of the store to order my switch. It seemed as if everyone in the store was following me as I did so. Two of the town’s cattiest women were ranged along the dry goods counter, where they were pretending to look at this and that but in reality following my movements with their curious eyes. They were the town’s most notorious busybodies who were always hunting for a scandal.’

“‘My face flushed with embarrassment as I placed my order to the clerk within their hearing. . . . What I saw when he pulled out its [the envelope’s] contents made me wish the floor would cave in; because, instead of holding my carefully selected tresses he had a bundle of horse hairs and pig bristles that were tied with the same pink ribbon I had used for my hair. . . . After I had recovered from the shock I grabbed them from his hand and rushed out of the store.'”

The husband was identified as the practical joker who had switched the hair in the envelope. His wife concluded, “I didn’t go back to the village for months after this hoax had taken place, because I knew everyone in the community heard about it and was laughing at me.”

To read more Nebraska Timeline articles, please visit http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/timeline/index.shtml

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Marker Monday: Harvard Army Air Field

Welcome to Marker Monday! Each Monday we will feature one of Nebraska’s hundreds of historical markers. If you’d like to see a specific marker featured, send an email to kylie.kinley@nebraska.gov.

Location: 

100-148 E Walnut St, Harvard, Clay County, Nebraska; 40.618825, -98.09659

Marker Text:

Harvard Army Air Field, located two miles northeast, was one of eleven army air forces training fields in Nebraska during World War II. The 1,759-acre base included runways, hangars, barracks, and fuel and munitions storage. Construction began in September 1942, and the airfield was activated in December. The coming of several thousand military personnel and civilian workers caused an acute housing shortage and stressed other local services. The 447th Bombardment Group (B-17s) and the 484th Bombardment Group (B-24s) were the first to train at Harvard. Later, the 505th, 501st, 45th, 376th, and 476th Bombardment Groups trained here in B-29s. The first two groups from Harvard were sent to Europe. Two of the B-29 groups went to the Pacific. Harvard was proud to help win the war and support the brave young men who risked their lives defending the United States. Lifelong friendships developed, and several servicemen returned to marry local girls and raise families in Nebraska. On May 20, 1946, Harvard Army Air Field was declared surplus and later transferred to Nebraska for use as a state airfield and for agriculture.

Further Information: 

On September 17, 1942, construction began on the 1,704-acre Harvard Army Airfield located three miles northeast of Harvard, Nebraska. After making farmers vacate their properties, construction was largely completed by November. Personnel began to arrive in December. The field was used as a training ground for bomber pilots of the Second Air Force. Planes in use at the field included B-17s, B-24s and B-29s. Twenty-six squadrons received proficiency training while at Harvard. Originally a satellite base for the Kearny AAF, Harvard eventually became its own operation. It saw continued use after the war as a training facility until 1946, when it was declared surplus. It was handed over to the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics who in turn leased the land to farmers. Three of its hangars were destroyed in 1983 by a fire caused by teenagers trying to salvage parts of the hangars.

Of the 277 buildings constructed for the field, only 7 now remain. Three planes originating from Harvard were involved in fatal air crashes, resulting in 14 deaths.

Further Information:

Goeres, Vince. Wings Over Nebraska: Historic Aviation Photographs. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society Books. 2010.

Kooiman, Barbara M. Aviation Development in Nebraska. Nebraska State Historical Society State Preservation Office and Nebraska Department of Aeronautics. Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. 2000.

Penry, Jerry. Nebraska’s Fatal Air Crashes of WWII. Milford: Blue Mound Press. 2009.

Nebraska Marker Project:

The Nebraska Marker Project is for the repainting, repair and in some cases, replacement of state historical markers throughout the state. Nebraska’s markers share our exciting history for generations to come. Please consider donating by visiting the Nebraska Marker Project webpage at http://nshsf.org/the-nebraska-marker-project/.

 

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Flashback Friday: Q&A with Joe Starita, author of A Warrior of the People, biography of Susan La Flesche, America’s First Indian Doctor

You can purchase your copies of A Warrior of the People at one of the NSHS Landmark Stores - some copies are even signed by Joe Starita

You can purchase your copies of A Warrior of the People at one of the NSHS Landmark Stores – some copies are even signed by Joe Starita

UNL professor and author Joseph Starita’s new biography, A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor came out in early November. Susan La Flesche is also the subject of a new documentary entitled “Medicine Woman” for which Starita has served as an expert contributor.

On March 14, 1889, Susan La Flesche received her medical degree―becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree 31 years before women could vote and 35 years before Indians could become citizens in their own country. By age 26, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her patriarchal tribe. She spent her life crashing through walls of ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice to improve the lot of her people.

The NSHS’s collections feature prominently in both the book and the documentary. We caught up with Starita right before Thanksgiving to talk about researching and writing A Warrior of the People.

How long did the research process take you?

I had the idea in 2010. It emerged as a result of Standing Bear research [Starita published Chief Standing Bear’s biography, I am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice, in 2010], which led me to the La Flesche family, which led me to Susan. I was very aware of the potential of a Susan biography from the arc of the research.

So, beginning in January 2010, it was about five years of research. Not 52 weeks a year, but wherever I could grab a week. Much of it was during class holidays, and then exhaustive research in summer. By the end, I was pretty sure I had every scrap of paper in the world with the name “Susan La Flesche” on it.

What were some of your favorite primary sources?

Susan spent so much of her early life on the East Coast away from her beloved Omaha people and beloved Omaha reservation. How she bridged the distance was a full-out assault on the U.S. postal system. She would write eight to ten letters a week sometimes.

She divulged intimate details – what she was doing, people she was meeting, her innermost thoughts. She wrote about her fear, her exaltation, wanting to go home as soon as she could, how much she enjoyed autopsies. And in many Native cultures, it was forbidden to open up a dead body. It went against ancient native customs of never defacing the dead.

The letters would contrast her seeing a Philadelphia concerto or the ecstasy of performing an autopsy against sheer loneliness of being away from her family. When you’re reading the innermost thoughts of the person you’re writing about, it’s one of those 10 shot Roman candle moments.

How was writing this book different than writing I Am a Man?

The Standing Bear book told the story externally from the outside in. He didn’t write any letters. I compiled an enormous store of primary source documents to recreate what Standing Bear’s world was like, but that only allowed readers to go so far. In that book, it’s like the reader is watching Standing Bear go by on the highway, but in this book the reader is riding shotgun with Susan. There are incredibly intimate and human details.

The research allowed me to tell her story from a female point of view. And why I think that’s important is because the American West over many decades has evolved into a mythical landscape. In dime store novels, photographs, Hollywood movies, television shows, the view has been framed from a male perspective. Readers of this book can walk up to the window into the past and see the window framed from a female viewpoint. And not just any female viewpoint, a knock-down-all-barriers female viewpoint.

Where did the majority of your primary resources come from?

Four primary research tributaries flowed into the narrative river of Susan’s story. The most important was the Nebraska State Historical Society. Their La Flesche papers collection was an absolute goldmine with extensive primary documents. This family was very educated, fluent English speakers, and prolific letter writers. They wrote letters, diaries, and journals. The second tributary was the Hampton University archives and their primary source documents. The third was the Connecticut State Public Library. Their documents and letters on file showed me East Coast Susan. And the fourth tributary was the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. That institution and its records have been absorbed by Drexel University.

The other important primary source was interviews with the Omaha people. All the books I’ve written that are cut from this cloth, I’ve tried to create a marriage between primary documents and the living, breathing people who know the history through oral tradition.

Indoor studio portrait of Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte after she returned to the Omaha Reservation,circa 1905. RGRG2026.PH0-000071

Indoor studio portrait of Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte after she returned to the Omaha Reservation,circa 1905. RGRG2026.PH0-000071

 

 How did you decided how to cite your text? Why did you decide to forgo footnotes even though this is a historical text and many authors use them?

Footnotes were never remotely a consideration. They’re visual roadblocks and speedbumps I don’t want to put the reader through. I want to tell a story without footnotes cutting across the grain. I put that information in the back of the book because that’s a better home for it. That said, it is extremely important in these kinds of books that you document where the information comes from to earn the trust of the readers.

Still, I want readers in their chair turning the page, not looking for a footnote citation. The story has a certain momentum, a certain flow, and you want to pay attention to it. Your primary job as a writer is to get out of the way of the story. Do not let the story get filtered by your own biases or own perceptions or your own judgements.

Purging footnotes from the story and parking them in a nice, neat warehouse in the back allows the story to come to the reader more directly and more powerfully.

 What were some of your most powerful research moments?

For a relatively brief period, Susan kept a day-by-day diary. That diary was just exquisite in its details. In many ways, the whole story builds toward “Chapter 9: A Warrior of the People,” which has the diary entries. I don’t have to tell readers how busy she was. I show them. I’m giving the reader the dots, but I’m giving the reader the breathing space to connect the dots.

It is almost exhausting to read the diary entries, let alone live them. One hour she was helping a woman give birth, one hour she’s interpreting a legal document, the next hour she’s entertaining guests from the legislature, and the next she sees a sick child.

If I had tried to tell the reader these things, I would have lost the emotional staying power of what it means to be a warrior of the people.

Another research moment was when I had to track down a thirty-year-old article from the Sioux City Journal. The article reported for the first time that Walter Diddock, Susan’s brother-in-law, wrote a letter to Marie Curie about Susan’s cancer, and Marie Curie sent her a radium pellet. You can’t make that up. A two-time Noble Prize winning female doctor is sending a radium pellet to another female doctor in the middle of the Omaha reservation? It was so outlandish.

I had to confirm the source. I knew this would be one of the certain moments in the book when readers would see a blinking yellow light and slow down and say, “Wait, is that really true?”

But the Sioux City Journal reporter got the story firsthand from the son of Susan’s niece, which was the niece who attended her night and day. Those are the nitty gritty details.

A second “blinking yellow light” moment was the issue of qualifying Susan as the first Indian doctor. I’ve seen the graduation certificates. There is absolutely no doubt that Susan was the first. Male or female. A lot of research firepower went into taking the wind out of the sails of people who would argue with that.

Tracking down the Sioux City Journal reporter and digging in the weeds of medical records paid off.

How do you balance writing, researching, and teaching?

If you have to have a full time job and you want to write, teaching is as good as you can do. You have the breaks to do research. You max out those breaks and amp up the research engine if you’re motivated enough. You can make a lot of research hay in four months.

How do you translate what you know from writing and researching to your students?

By pounding into their heads that there’s always another question to ask, always another person to interview, always another document to fetch until you hit the bottom. If you have the energy and passion to keep drilling down, often a little nugget or jewel on a page is a result of that deep dive.

All good writing begins with good reporting.


Outdoor photograph of Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte with her mother, Mary Gale LaFlesche, and two sons, Caryl and Pierre. This was taken at Dr. Picotte's home in Bancroft. RGRG2026.PH0-000039

Outdoor photograph of Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte with her mother, Mary Gale LaFlesche, and two sons, Caryl and Pierre. This was taken at Dr. Picotte’s home in Bancroft. RGRG2026.PH0-000039


You can purchase A Warrior of the People at one of the NSHS landmark stores.

You can read more about our La Flesche family collection here: http://www.nebraskahistory.org/lib-arch/research/manuscripts/family/laflesche-family.htm.

In addition, NET’s documentary Medicine Woman premiered in November. Watch it here: http://video.netnebraska.org/video/2365876471/

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Timeline Tuesday: Smoking Banned on UNL Campus in 1907

Unidentified cowboy (vaquero) lighting a cigarette. Date unknown. RG4887.PH000006-000006

Unidentified cowboy (vaquero) lighting a cigarette. Date unknown. RG4887.PH000006-000006

Tobacco has long been attacked by reformers and medical authorities for the damage it does to human health. The contemporary push for a smoke-free environment in Nebraska has roots in the state’s past. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on September 20, 1907, noted that the University of Nebraska prohibited smoking on campus and was reemphasizing that policy during student registration:

“A visitor on the campus at the university yesterday forenoon was greeted with the sight of several signs in all the buildings. ‘No smoking in buildings or on the campus.’ Acting chancellor [Charles E.] Bessey said that the university had the signs in readiness for such a condition that was manifest yesterday and the day before. Heretofore the rule was so generally known among male students that a request was not necessary. The smoking became entirely too common yesterday and the acting chancellor considered it time to tack up the sign. He said that he felt that it looked ridiculous to put up a sign on the campus of

a state university regulating a habit like smoking.

“Dr. Bessey said, ‘It may not hurt a man who has his full growth and whose muscles are toughened. But for a young man to indulge in the practice until it becomes a habit is a plain case of self destruction. He may not notice it in his own body even but it will influence his offspring in some way. I feel that it should not be necessary for a man to be advised as to what is proper among people some of whom are bitterly opposed to the habit. But there are some who think because they are interfered with in their smoking they are being deprived of a right and their affairs have been meddled with. They must learn sooner or later that in order to be the best citizens they must be considerate of the feelings of others.’

“The students who are in the habit of smoking go outside the gates of the campus and congregate there for a social smoke. Thinking possibly that during registration the rules would be rather lax, they became so bold as to puff ‘loudly’ on the campus with no seeming regard for former rules.”

For more Nebraska Timeline columns, visit http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/timeline/index.shtml

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Marker Monday: Territorial Church, Dakota County

Welcome to Marker Monday! Each Monday we will feature one of Nebraska’s hundreds of historical markers. If you’d like to see a specific marker featured, send an email to kylie.kinley@nebraska.gov.

If anyone has a better photo than this one, we’d be grateful to have it in our file. Please email kylie.kinley@nebraska.gov if you can help.

territorialchurch

Location

301-399 S 15th St, Dakota City, Dakota County, Nebraska

View this marker’s location 42.412712, -96.41751

View a map of all Nebraska historical markers, Browse Historical Marker Map

Marker Text

Near here stands the first Lutheran church building constructed in Nebraska. It has occupied this site since 1860. The congregation was first served by Reverend Henry W. Kuhns, a missionary sent by the Allegheny Synod to Nebraska Territory. Kuhns preached his first sermon in the front room of the Bates House (hotel) in November 1850 and formally organized the church on July 22, 1859. The membership immediately made plans for building, but their effort of moving an abandoned store from the abandoned town of Pacific City was frustrated when the structure was destroyed by a prairie fire while being moved to Dakota City. This church was designed and built by Augustus T. Haase, a local carpenter and member of the Emmanuel Lutheran congregation, at a cost of $2,000. For several years the building also served periodically as a Territorial courthouse, with religious services being held on Sunday as usual. Samuel Aughey, a leading scientist of the period, was the second pastor to serve the church. This old church still stands as a monument to the steadfastness of purpose of the early settler and as a symbol of pioneer religious life.

Further Information

Search results for “Territorial Church” on www.nebraskahistory.org

Nebraska Marker Project

The Nebraska Marker Project is for the repainting, repair and in some cases, replacement of state historical markers throughout the state. Nebraska’s markers share our exciting history for generations to come. Please consider donating by visiting the Nebraska Marker Project webpage at http://nshsf.org/the-nebraska-marker-project/.

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Flashback Friday: Preacher’s Sermon Book and Diary Includes Webster, Dawes Counties

The NSHS Archives collections contain a preacher’s sermon book and diary dating from 1907-1947. The Rev. John B. Williams held numerous pastorates during this time throughout Kansas and Nebraska. The sermon book shows that he preached at Junction City, Mayview, and Plainville, Kansas before coming to Nebraska.

Sermon book of Rev. John B. Williams (RG5704.AM)

Sermon book of Rev. John B. Williams (RG5704.AM)

Once in Nebraska, the sermon book shows that Rev. Williams preached at Guide Rock, Inavale, Chadron, Dakota Junction, Blair, Dorchester, Riverdale, Unadilla, Lincoln, and Greenwood. The sermon book shows that he recorded the name/topic of the sermon, the date and location where he preached, the number of people in attendance, how well he felt the sermon was received by the congregation, and finally, the weather that day. Several pages at the back of the volume record some of the weddings, baptisms and funerals performed by Rev. Williams.

Page showing sermons preached in 1912-1913 (RG5704.AM)

Page showing sermons preached in 1912-1913 (RG5704.AM)

The second volume in the collection is more of a personal diary kept by Rev. Williams. It records daily activities as well as observations on the weather, trips taken, people he visits, etc.

Page from Rev. Williams' diary, 1915 (RG5704.AM)

Page from Rev. Williams’ diary, 1915 (RG5704.AM)

Rev. John B. Williams passed away in 1950 and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. For more information about Rev. Williams, see the finding aid on our website.

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Native American Heritage Month: Artifacts from NSHS Archeology

November is Native American Heritage Month. To celebrate, we will highlight Native American artifacts in our collections every Wednesday during the month of November. (Wild Weather Wednesday will be on hiatus.)

Today we are focusing on artifacts from our archeological collections. The ones we have chosen to highlight here are just a handful of the collections that include information about the past and present influences of Native Americans in Nebraska.

Hunter-Gatherers

8393-1: Clovis Point

8393-1: Clovis Point

8393-1: Clovis Point

 

 

 

 


8393-1: Clovis Point. Evidence of human activity in Nebraska dates back at least 12,000 years. This item was likely found in eastern Nebraska (based on donor address).


25YK2: Bannerstone (atlatl weight) from York County

25YK2: Bannerstone (atlatl weight) from York County


25bt3_notched_points-1

25BT3-2329, 25BT3-2321, 25BT3-111: Early Archaic points dating from 6000 to 8000 years ago. These came from a site in Burt County and are among the oldest notched points found in Nebraska.


grindingslabstone_25gd1

25GD1-887, 25GD1-1009-2

  • 25GD1-887, 25GD1-1009-2: Mano Y Metate, foragers used hand stones and grinding slabs to process wild seeds and nuts. This set is from an Archaic site in Garden County.

First Farmers

Objects below date to between AD 1000 and AD 1400 and represent Nebraska’s first dedicated farmers.  These farmers built sturdy “wattle-and-daub” lodges along the terraces of rivers and tributary streams.  The dwellings were constructed with wooden posts and enclosed by thatch and earth; they had long entryways, central hearths, and large interior subterranean pits used to store crops such as corn, beans, squash and sunflowers.  Hunting and fishing were still a large part of the first farmers’ livelihood.

25ft4-179

25FT4-170: Bison Scapula digging tool. Bison shoulder blade implements such as this were certainly used as hoes but also for digging pits, post holes, and lodge foundations. This one was unearthed at a site in Frontier County.

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25WN1-307: Bone Fishhook, Washington County

  • Shell fish effigy recovered from a site in Burt County, Nebraska.


25hw9-17-1

25HW9-17 (etc.): Ceramic technology blossomed during the Village Farmer period. This vessel is from a site in Howard County and is typical of the period.


25FR22-111: Stone knife in bone handle from a site in Franklin County.


arrowheads_franklinco

25FR6-135, 25FR13-25, 25FR26-38: Late prehistoric arrowheads recovered from site in Franklin County.


Pawnee

25NC14-1:  Beaver trap from Plum Creek Village in Nance County.  The Pawnee lived at this village for a short period in the 1840s.

25NC14-1: Beaver trap from Plum Creek Village in Nance County. The Pawnee lived at this village for a short period in the 1840s.


 

25NC3-907: Pipestone pipe from the Wright Site, a Pawnee village in Nance County. The Pawnee lived at this location over a long period of time, from 1600-1750, and again in the 1860s.

 

25nc3-200-174-1

25NC3-200/174: A ceramic potsherd recovered from the Wright Site, a Pawnee vi llage in Nance County. The Pawnee lived at this location over a long period o f time, from 1600-1750, and again in the 1860s.

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Timeline Tuesday: Thanksgiving in Red Willow County

4_novtimeline_dugout_100298

An unidentified family in front of their dugout near McCook, Red Willow County, about 1890. NSHS RG3464.PH-45.

Thanksgiving in 1896 was celebrated on November 26, and editor F. M. Kimmell of the McCook Tribune took advantage of the holiday to reflect on Red Willow County’s recent past. “I wonder if any one has thought of this month being the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first settling of the county,” he wrote in the Tribune on November 27, 1896.

“The first Thanksgiving dinner was eaten in camp near the mouth of Red Willow creek, and in some respects was the most unique Thanksgiving dinner ever eaten. The eleven men who represented ‘The Republican Valley Land and Townsite company,’ had reached their destination [starting from Nebraska City] the latter part of November, 1871, and after locating the Red Willow townsite and their respective claims, announced their readiness to return.

“Two of the company kept in camp by allotted duties, had no opportunity of attending to individual interests, and looked upon the proceedings as being extremely selfish and unjust, and so pronounced it in vigorous language. The usual way of eating was in regular camp style, each as he pleased, but in deference to the day, this dinner must be somewhat ceremonious. The tin plates were arranged as on a table and all sat around, except the two, who were not yet in a thankful frame of mind, and while a blessing was asked, one of them, in an aside, muttered quite sulphurous words.

“After while, matters were so adjusted that the two shared in advantages taken by the others, and the lurid atmosphere cleared. Buffalo meat, wild turkey and prairie chicken were eaten with the regulation camp fare, among which was the inevitable flapjacks and syrup. It was too cold for the syrup to run, so it was cut off in chunks and lengths as it pressed through the bung hole of the keg. On occasion, one would become impatient for his sweet morsel, and reach over another to secure the piece for which the first was waiting, when exhibition of temper and ready use of strong words followed.”

Kimmell went on to briefly highlight county history since that first Thanksgiving in 1871: “Lawlessness, peculiar to frontier days, has been but little known. In one locality, some later comers, considering it non-western not to have something wild and woolly, organized a secret ‘vigilance committee,’ which would have charge of public morals and possible horse thieves, but it died, at birth, from an overweight of bombast. Two mysterious murders are on record. Two county seat fights have brought the county into prominence. . . . We have reached the end of the twenty-fifth installment and wait and wonder what next?”

For more Nebraska Timeline columns, visit http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/timeline/index.shtml

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