Nebraska Resource Center
On-Line Library - news
Out of Old Nebraska

in the NEWS & from the BOOKS


Some subjects, attitudes & opinions from the past -

always under construction

Links on this page:
Education | Health | Historical Figures | Slavery | Suffrage | Temperance & Prohibition | Time Lines | Transportation & Communication | Weather & Other Disasters | Memorable Occasions |

HISTORICAL FIGURES of Nebraska - by occupation (under construction)

WPA Life Histories for Nebraska from Library of Congress
NSHS files - NE Historical Site Markers.
Political Graveyard (main page)
          Nebraska politicians page
          Nebraska Cemeteries page of the Political Graveyard
Historical Omaha website by Jess Peterson
Nebraska.Gov - State of Nebraska's Official Website includes "Tourism", "Huskers" and "State departments & people".
William Jennings Bryan - list of resource materials held at NSHS, Lincoln, NE


"Slavery in Nebraska" from "Nebraska as a State" Chapter of Andreas History of NE, 1882
"Pioneer Incidents" from Nemaha Chapter of Andreas History of NE, 1882.
"Development of the Free Soil Idea in the United States", by W. H. Eller from NSHS Transactions and Reports, Vol III, 1892
"Did Slavery Exist in Nebraska?" from Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of Western NE, 1909, page 115
"Slavery in Nebraska" chapter from History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918.
"John Brown's Visits to Nebraska" from NE History and Record of Pioneer Days, Vol I no. 3-4, Apr-May 1918.

For information on the suffrage movement in NE:
     "The Woman Suffrage Question" from "Nebraska as a State" Chapter of Andreas History of NE, 1882.
Temperance originally meant abstaining from "hard liquor", beer & wine were usual beverages. The first temperance society was formed in Boston, MA in 1826. 1840: formation of Washingtonian Temperance Society in Baltimore. Other groups followed. The emphasis gradually changed to abstinence and culminated in the prohition movement.

Early Temperance Movement from Andreas History of NE 1882

Red Ribbon Pledge Card (1878), provided by J. Lenon
"Good Templars in Nebraska" the first state-wide temperance organization, from NE History and Record of Pioneer Days, Vol III, no. 4, Oct-Dec 1920

Prohibition movement in NE:
Advertisement of The Nebraska Prosperity League with list of members statewide, 13 Oct 1916 from "Souvenir Edition" supplement to the Nance County News Journal.

TIME LINES - many family stories make statements about personal events in relation to some major news event. "We lived in Chicago until the great fire ...", "The folks attended the Exposition in Omaha, left us kids with Aunt ...", "That was before there were any income taxes, ...", etc. Hope you find a date here that will help sort out some of those stories.

United States History Time Line (from Leading Facts of American History by D.H. Montgomery, 1920)

LAND PROGRAMS - "Once upon a time, a family could do well with forty acres ..."
1830 - Pre-emption land claim, person settling on land could purchase up to 160 acres at $1.25 per acre from the US Government. Law was intended to prevent purchase of land by speculators.
1862 - Homestead Act eliminated any charge for the land provided the person settled, built a home, improved (cultivated) the soil.
1889 - Oklahoma Territory was opened to settlers. Many Nebraskans encouraged their children to participate in this "land rush", as it provided the opportunity to secure a farm. Oklahoma was admitted as a state in 1907. See 1890 Territorial OK Census by Sharron Standifer Ashton.
1904 - Kinkade Act increased the acreage allowed to an individual, generally for lands that were suited to ranching rather than farming (in NE, that means the Sand Hills region).

Other Government Programs
1883 - Civil Service Reform Act (government jobs awarded on basis of merit).
1913 - National Income Tax (16th Amendment). Tax was minimal until US entrance in "The Great War".
1920 - Women's Suffrage (19th Amendment). Note: Some western states were admitted prior to this year, with woman's voting rights included in state constitution.
1935 - Passage of Social Security Act, people had to submit evidence of birthdate & place, citizenship status if foreign born.
          SS "taxes" collected beginning in 1937, SS benefits started being paid in 1940.

LABOR MOVEMENTS - see Leading Facts of American History by D. H. Montgomery , 1920, pp 346, 354-7, 362, 364-5, 392)
1869 - "Knights of Labor" formed; sometimes referred to as the "first union organization".
1877 - The first major labor riot in America occurred in Pittsburg, PA involving employees of the Baltimore & Ohio RR.
     The RR intended to reduce wages. Workers burned shops. (Dispute extended into several states.) Troops were sent into Pittsburg.
1886 - formation of American Federation of Labor.
1892 - Labor riots at Carnegie Steel Works, Homestead, PA. Troops called in, firearms used.
1894 - Pullman strikes stopped RR freight from Chicago to CA. Troops called in.
1902 - United Mine Workers of PA struck (coal miners). Strike lasted 5 mos.

Great Fires & Disasters outside NE
1835 - Fire in New York City
1871, Autumn - Chicago Fire;
             huge forest fires in Michigan, Wisconsin & Minnesota.
1872 - Boston Fire
1886 - Charleston Earthquake
1900 - Galveston hurricane
1904 - Baltimore Fire
1906, Apr 18 - San Francisco Earthquake estim. 7.8 on Richter Scale
1910 - Wildfires in Rocky Mountains resulted in "suppression" policy

Gold Discoveries
1848: California
1876: Black Hills, Dakota Territory

Fairs, Exposition, Celebrations
NATIONAL (please use this link for references to Leading Facts of American History , by D. H. Montgomery, 1920. )
1853 - World's Fair, "Crystal Palace", NY City, NY; 
          This was first "World's Fair" held in America (from Montgomery 1920, pp 262-3)
1876 - Centennial Exhibition, Fairmont Park, Philadelphia, PA 100 Years of US Independence (from Montgomery 1920, p 342)
1892 (October) - Columbian Exposition, Chicago, IL. Celebrated voyage of Columbus 400 years previous. (from Montgomery 1920, p 363)
1898 Trans-Mississippi and Internationl Expostion, Omaha, NE , History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918. (see below for more)
1901 Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY. Celebrated progress of ALL the countries of the New World. (from Montgomery 1920, p 391)
     President McKinley was shot while attending a reception at this fair (6 Sep 1901).
1904 (April-May) - Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, MO. (from Montgomery 1920, pp 393-4)
1905 - Lewis and Clark Centennial, Portland, OR. (from Montgomery 1920, p 394) (Image of diploma awarded for corn, Nance County News Journal)
1915 - San Francisco World's Fair. Celebrating the discovery of the Pacific by Balboa. (from Montgomery 1920, p 412)
1917 Semi-Centennial Celebration, from History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918
(Nebraska's Fairs & Expositions repeat below.)


NE Railroads website by John McCoy, Connie Snyder
Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA)
     Nebraska Chapter of OCTA by Greg Nelson (multitude of links).
Mormon Pioneer Trail (website by LDS)
Pony Express Home Station by Tom Crews.
NOT generally for Nebraska - but has clickable trail map that includes NE -
Map of Overland Trails and Historic Places from "History and Stories of Nebraska", 1913 by A. E. Sheldon.
1897 - U.S. Postal System - Rural Free Delivery began, and many small postoffices in NE were eliminated over the next few years.
1913 - Lincoln Highway construction started. The first "coast to coast" roadway. There were no gas stations, cafes, motels, etc.
     In 1928, it's became one of the numbered roads - part of the national highway system, USA Hwy 30.

WEATHER & other Disasters

Winter of Deep Snow - 1856-57
     (Check the footnotes on the 1856 Territorial Census extracts published in NE & Midwest Genealogical Record)
Easter Blizzard of 1873
     "The April Blizzard, 1873" from NE History and Record of Pioneer Days, Vol III, no. 3, Jul-Sep 1920
     "Easter Sunday Blizzard of 1873" produced on Adams County website by Catherine Renschler.
     "Easter Storm of 1873" from Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences, 1916.
     "The Easter Blizzard - 1873" from Hamilton County website.

Winter of Deep Snow - 1880-81, followed by flooding along the Elkhorn River in the spring of 1881. See Cedar County Chapter of Andreas, History of NE, 1882 - as example.

"School Children's Blizzard" - 1888
     "The Big Brash Blizzard of 1888" from over the years section of "Old Time Nebraska"
     "Thirteen Hours in a Nebraska Blizzard" (Jan 1888) NE History and Record of Pioneer Days, Vol I no. 8, Dec 1918
     The Blizzard of 1888 from Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences, 1916.
     Hope Cemetery - gravestone for an unknown, 1888.
     "The Big Blizzard of 1888" from Hamilton County website.
     An extract from the "Ava Advertiser" (IL newspaper) related to Sarah Hill, one of the teachers that saved her pupils.


     "Miss Sarah HILL, the young schoolmistress who brought sixteen children safely through the terrible blizzard which swept over the prairies of Nebraska, January 12, 1888, is lying at the Wesleyan Hospital, in Chicago, undergoing operations on her eyes, which gave way under the strain of that day's work. Several operations have been performed, with the result in doubt," (2 May 1890)

©Illinois Trails History and Genealogy
(Domain has disappeared)

1927 Blizzard at Mitchell, Scotts Bluff, NE - 14 days of snow, from "Autobiography of Clarence Bray", thanks to Ken Nelson

1935 Flood on Republican River (May-June) - see county histories in "Who's Who in Nebraska", 1940

Blizzards of Winter, 1948-49 over 40 inches of snow in 2 days, wind in some areas produced drifts as high as 50 feet!
Blizzard of 1949 from Holt County Independent - thanks to Lynn Waterman
"...Deadly Winter" from archives of Grand Island Independent (15 Jan 2004) (You'll have to register to view)

Ice Storm of Oct 1997 wiped the fledgling NEGenWeb Project off the internet for 3 weeks.

Bugs and Blight
"Locusts or Grasshoppers" (1874, 1876, 1877) from Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of Western NE, 1909, pp 111-113.
   You will also find information in Andreas History of Nebraska, 1882.
Some information in county histories appearing in "Who's Who in Nebraska", 1940.
Additional comments appear in "The Grasshopper Plague" from History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918 "

Drought Years - 1890, 1894 ("year of hot winds"), 1930's ("Dirty Thirties")
     Year of the hot winds (from Nance County Journal, Souvenir Edition of 1916)
     "The Drought of 1894", by Catherine Renschler of Adams County, NE.
     Dust Bowl era of the 1930's - "Black Sunday", 14 Apr 1935, when huge dust storm hit Nebraska. See archives of York News Times.

Tornados - check the county pages for other stories, please

     1913 - Map of multiple tornados that hit Nebraska & Iowa (Thanks to Brian Smith)
     1913 - Track of the Tornado  Published by the Omaha Bee (gallery of photos - Thanks to Pam Rietsch)
     1913 - Easter Sunday Tornado at Craig, NE (from Burt County webpage & Bill Wever)
     1913 - Tornado - Omaha, Easter Sunday - March 23, 1913 (Printed by the Omaha Daily News)  Primarily photos of damage. Index added, by Pam Rietsch.
     1913 - Death list as printed in The Ogden Examiner, Utah 25 Mar 1913 (Thanks to L Laird)

     3 Jun 1980 - Seven tornadoes hit Grand Island and surrounding area, in one night. See articles in the archives of the Grand Island Independent published 1 Jun 2005 and 3 Jun 2005 (Note: as of Feb 2005 you must register to access the archives).
     "The Real Night of the Twisters" - from the Grand Island Independent website.

Earthquakes (Yes, they do occur in Nebraska!)
     "Nebraska Seismicity" website by USGS, includes a history, most recent event, etc.
1877 Earthquake - from Omaha Daily BEE of 15 November, or from Lincoln State Journal of the following day. 
     Thanks to Bill Wever for the news clips.
From GM: Accoring to the National Earthquake Information Center - This is the largest earthquake known to have originated in Nebraska. The epicenter was near Garland, Seward County. It was felt over all or parts of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Years of Financial Panic - 1857, 1873, 1893, 1929

"Omaha Labor Riots of 1882" from History of NE, by Morton & Watkins, 1918. (Note: Want to take on a project? Omaha newspapers contain a great deal of information about this situation, and labor conditions in other parts of the USA. BW says starting date is about 8 Mar 1882, lasted about 10 days and was result of about 7 years of disagreements between RR management & labor. Employees of other types of businesses joined the RR workers. Rent the newspaper microfilm and type the articles for submission - we'd be delighted to post the results of your effort!)

1919 Omaha Riot from "Historic Omaha" website of Jess Peterson.

Ammunition Plant Explosion

26 May 1945 - Grand Island Army Ammunition Plant - Explosion at "Hot-Pour Bldg" killed nine.
     See story in archives of GI Independent, published 6 Jun 2005.

Plane crashes by Richard Kebabjian. Use link to the data base, then search by state


Fairs, Exposition, Celebrations in NEBRASKA
First Territorial Fair - from History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918. (NOTE: Double-checked the text, the year is NOT given.)
     Jan 2001 NE Heritage list Trivia game - Date & place: Territorial Fair held at Nebraska City September 21, 22 and 23, 1859
Semi-Centennial Celebration, 1917, from History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918.
1898 Trans-Mississippi and Internationl Expostion, Omaha, NE , History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918.
     Collection of photographs on "Historic Omaha" website of Jess Peterson (explore all the pages!)
Marker, 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition from NSHS website.
     1898 Omaha Exposition, - from Leading Facts of American History by Montgomery, 1920 states the purpose was to display the "marvelous growth and resources of the states and territories West of the Mississippi." (p 384)

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Exhibition - The "Dress Rehearsal" was held at Columbus, NE on 10 May 1883 for "the home folks" that knew the North Brothers. The "opening" of the Wild West Show was at Omaha in August that same year. They toured 3 years in the USA and did a show in North Platte for those living near Cody's ranch - 10,000 attended! In 1886 the show toured Britain, and the following year, played to major cities in the States. The Continental tour commenced in 1889. The Indians were employed as "wards of the US Government", under the guardianship of WF Cody. The final show was in Denver, Colorado, thirty years from the time it began.

AK-SAR-BEN OF OMAHA from History of NE by Morton & Watkins, 1918.

Holidays -
     Arbor Day - originated in Nebraska in 1872 (now a national day set for the last Friday in April); read about J. Sterling & Carrie Morton, Arbor Lodge (now a NE State Park)

     May Day - not quite so long ago (edited to protect the guilty & the innocent)
"Do you have your May-baskets all ready to go? How many of you made and delivered May baskets when you were young? I remember going with my brother (who was 6 years older than me) to deliver his May-baskets. He must have been 16, since he was driving, and I was the lucky one to take his baskets to the door. The tradition in xxx at that time, was for the person receiving the May-basket to kiss the one giving it, if they could catch them. I guess my brother figured that I could run faster than him, and that they wouldn't want to chase me. I do seem to remember that one of the girls came out to the car and 'caught' him any way. (grin)" -- CS

Special Occasions -
G.A.R. Reunions - assorted dates, from newspaper reports

Unusual incidents -
Article on double wedding, unusual relationships from newspaper - thanks to Karen.
1905 Douglas County Marriage Records provided by Bill Wever.

Cattlemen vs Homesteaders - The Olive Bros. from The Trail of the Loup (1906), Chapter Five (Mardos Memorial Library).
     Olive-Ketchum feud from "The Morrills and Reminiscences", pages 47-49 (Mardos Memorial Library).

NSHS files - NE Historical Site Markers.

A touch of humor for these times -

York County Historical Society - "Our genealogy section for middle/high school is called 'Teens into Genes'" - Nancy Beach (email)

"The South Dakota State Archives, where the Year 2000 doesn't scare us, we're still working on 1900".

This is a "totally useless fact" - unless you are a Husker fan. I got it from a friend:  "When the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers play football at home to a sellout crowd, the full stadium becomes the state's third largest city." - RC "Chris"

Check the list of Abbreviations & Acronyms on Oldtime Nebraska website - Watch out for what Dick Taylor provides!

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© 1999 - 2005 for the NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller