Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’

There are Others

October 1, 2011

"Spies on the Enemy"


Once from out his swaying wigwam
Strode a warrior brave in battle
Downward from his belt of wampum
Grewsome trophies grimly rattle
In the wind
O’er his head the warlock pliant
Waves, while eagle plumes defiant
Stream behind.

Angrily the chief came stalking
Moodily in silence walking
Moodily morose and silent
In his paint and plume defiant
‘Mid the trees
Faint he heard the spirits saying
Fainter echoes soft repaying
Words of wisdom that were playing
On the breeze.

There the words “When in uprising
Anger stalks uncompromising
And your heart resents the taunting,
Mocking, words in friendship wanting
From your brothers
To their angry speech replying
Do then speak with smile supplying
Anger’s place these words undying
‘There are others.'”

This is why the chief, when feeling
O’er the lea came speech resealing
Moore and Bartley’s playful stealing
From their brothers
Rose and spake and never stuttered
Never coughed nor spat nor muttered
But this judgment calmly uttered
“There are others.”

Buried is the chief forever
Gone beyond the flowing river
But when weird the night winds whirling
Fiercely round the wigwam swirling
Meet the smoke wreaths upward curling
O! my brothers
Then the old men of the nation
Tell the tale with much elation
Of that short but grand oration
“There are others.”

And the pale face, (catching on to
This same racket) If you want to
Knock the pops out when they taunt you
O! my brother
When they tell of Bartley’s treasure
Filched from you, without displeasure
“There are others.”


The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 25, 1897

Band of Sioux Warriors

Image from the Smithsonian Institution – by F.A. Rinehart – 1898 – Omaha

Socialists in Nebraska

January 26, 2011

Image of Broken Arrow, Nebraska from the Old Picture of the Day blog.

Nebraska farmer — “Socialists? Socialists? Oh, yes, I know what you mean. I have met a good many of ye!”

Omaha socialist — “Eh? In your parts?”

“Plenty. Yes, now I think of it, they do want everything in common — except work. Out our way we call ’em tramps.”

–[Omaha World.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 16, 1887

In Nebraska

December 1, 2010

It is warm outside today,
In Nebraska,
Very like the first of May
In Nebraska;
Eastern men I know will start
At the statement, but dear heart,
You can’t tell the months apart
In Nebraska.

You can hear the wild birds sing
In Nebraska,
Any time from fall till spring
In Nebraska;
But the pride and joy of all
Is that cornstalks grow so tall
And the snows melt when they fall
In Nebraska.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Dec 11, 1897

The Nebraska State Historical Society has many wonderful old pictures on their website. These two images  are from the Kimble County Album, but there are several collections to look through at the main link.

Weather Forecasts for Nebraska:

December 11th: A balmy 28 degrees!

December 17th:  A little cooler, with a high 16 degrees. Definitely still flip-flops and shorts weather.

Creston, Nebraska (Image from /

There are tons and tons of snow
In Nebraska,
And the cold winds do not blow
In Nebraska,
Like a blanket on a floor,
Seven inches deep or more,
Rests the snow at every door
In Nebraska.

It is packed and solid now
In Nebraska,
And when farmers come to plow
In Nebraska,
What a joy to stir the soil
softened, as it were, with oil —
There’ll be crops next year to spoil
In Nebraska.

How the winter wheat will boom
In Nebraska,
How the trees will bud and bloom
In Nebraska;
We can stand the ice and snow
For next summer, don’t you know,
We shall hear the glad corn grow
In Nebraska.

One more year of golden crops
In Nebraska,
Will exterminate the pops
In Nebraska;
Fusion, now has lost its grip,
Cannot make another trip —
Let us not give up the ship
In Nebraska.

Better days are now in sight
In Nebraska;
Day dispels the long dark night
In Nebraska;
Let us hail the rising sun —
Bryan only is undone
And his old “sixteen to one”
In Nebraska.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Dec 24, 1897

Daniel Freeman - First Homesteader -1863 Beatrice, Nebraska (Image from Wiki)

Homesteading is back! Pack up the wagons and head for Nebraska — or one of the other fine states offering free land.

Beatrice, Nebraska 2006

Image from Dan Kalah’s Motorcycle Trip Reports (trip 16)

According to the Yahoo article, 7 Towns Where Land is Free:

The Homestead Act of 1862 is no longer in effect, but free land is still available out there in the great wide open (often literally in the great wide open). In fact, the town of Beatrice, Nebraska  has even enacted a Homestead Act of 2010 .


Curtis, Nebraska 2007

This image also from Dan Kalal’s Motorcycle Trip Reports (trip 11)

From the same Yahoo article:

This 3.266-square-kilometer community of approximately 832 persons in southern Nebraska’s Medicine Valley has the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture and an airport three minutes away.

Evidently, the folks in Curtis, Nebraska  are offering two different land deals, which are briefly described in the article linked above.

Your Football Name is MUD

November 6, 2010

Football and Poetry combined….complete with boasting, betting and jail.

It was a most delightful day
For fine athletic fun,
When Woodruff’s team came here to play
Against a stronger one.
It grieved me when I saw them strive,
To break our strong defense,
Which proved their famous tandem “drive”
Of trifling consequence.
Their lame assaults removed my fears,
I knew we couldn’t fail,
But I was almost moved to tears
When Harmon went to jail.

The man had staked his little all
On Woodruff’s idle boast;
He saw his padded heroes fall,
He heard the rooters “roast.”
A melancholy seized him, then,
His pocketboot was slim
And much he feared his fellow men
Were bent on robbing him.
I laughed to see him so oppressed
From hoisting too much sail,
But, honestly, I felt distressed
When Harmon went to jail.

Here was a student of the law,
(A theme for kinder verse)
Who left his home beside the Kaw
With money in his purse,
By fickle fortune rudely slapped,
Caught in his own old net,
He had to either walk home strapped
Or get back what he bet.
Against a suit for its return
His friends could not prevail;
The midnight lamps had ceased  to burn
When Harmon went to jail.

The Kansas football team has gone,
A sad, crest-fallen lot,
But Kleinhans still is taking on
And Woodruff, too, is hot.
They think it is a burning shame
To cook them to a turn,
Who strove so hard to steal a game
Their players couldn’t earn.
They well deserve the pain and woe
That comes to chumps who fail;
I laughed at them, but couldn’t crow
When Harmon went to jail.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Nov 16, 1897

The rest of the article can be found HERE (Library of Congress link to the Kansas City Journal – Nov 15, 1897)

Coach Woodruff says it was a “scheme” —
His players couldn’t fail —
For had he not announced the team
A solid match for Yale?

They couldn’t lose for, sakes alive,
Each player knew his biz,
And yet the score was six to five
Against those pets of his.

O, Woodruff, let us learn from this
A lesson all men need;
The fastest horse will sometimes miss
Its wonted burst of speed.

The greatest man will live to see,
No matter what his score,
Some other man as great as he
And maybe three or four.

Great Bonaparte his armies took,
To win and never lose,
And all the hosts of Europe shook
Inside their wooden shoes.

He scored a hundred battles won —
The world said that would do,
His guard fell when the sun had set
That night at Waterloo.

So with that team you coached, you know,
And praised throughout the land;
The Skeedunk players stood no show
Against so strong a band;

The Skeedunk whoppers also fell
And struck the long descent,
And poor Iowa went to — well,
No matter where she went.

Flushed as Napoleon was flushed,
You came to Lincoln then,
and slopped around the town and gushed
About your famous men;

“Invincible?” Of course they were,
And not to be suppressed;
They wouldn’t hardly need to stir
To beat us at our best.

So, when they heard the umpire call,
They jauntily began;
The great high kicker kicked the ball,
The others laughed and ran.

They who had smiled to hear you brag,
Went forward with delight
And ran against a solid snag
Too much for them that night.

They couldn’t break the Lincoln line,
Nor stop the rush “for blood;”
Excuse this mirth, friend of mine,
Your football name is Mud.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Nov 17, 1897


KU Football: the First Seven Decades

Death Follows Disgrace

October 19, 2010




[By “Gazette’s” Leased Wire.]

OMAHA, June 29. — Jesse F. Thayer, formerly a captain in the American Volunteers, but lately retired to private life and working at his trade, committed suicide here this morning. He was horse whipped at Lincoln three days ago by his wife from whom he had separated and this is said to have preyed on his mind.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jun 29, 1901


Omaha - 16th & Webster (Klondike Hotel) and Jefferson Square (circled)






Scene on the Streets of Lincoln Led Directly to the Tragedy — Downfall Caused by a Woman.

OMAHA, Neb., June 29. — Humiliated by a public horsewhipping administered by his wife and piqued because his guilty love was unrequited, Captain Jesse F. Thayer, formerly in command of the American Volunteer corps at Lincoln, committed suicide in Jefferson square this morning by taking cyanide of potassium mixed with whisky. Three men saw him compound the draught and drink it off and these say that death followed almost immediately. In his pocket was a letter bidding farewell “To mother and those who love me.”

The body was taken to the undertaking rooms of the coroner and a telegram was sent to the widow, Captain Belle Thayer, 1526 O street, Lincoln, who has succeeded him in command of the Volunteers of that point. Messages were sent to several other relatives.

Captain Thayer came to Omaha from Lincoln last Wednesday with a young woman named Dottie Hashberger, a dressmaker. She found employment in Moore’s restaurant on North Tenth street and did odd jobs about the Thurston hotel. They occupied separate apartments at the Klondike hotel.

About 9 o’clock this morning Thayer was seen sitting on the grass in Jefferson square, near the Cass street entrance. He took from his hip-pocket a half-pint flask, wit ha small amount of whisky in the bottom, removed the cork and poured into the mouth of the bottle some white powder from the palm of his hand. This he shook up carefully and held between his eyes and the light as if to satisfy himself that the drug was thoroughly dissolved. Then he raised it to his lips and drank it off at a single gulp. A moment later he fell back upon the grass. There was no struggle, but those who witnessed the proceeding saw something suspicious in it and ran to him. He was then breathing his last. They called Officer Ryan, who was half a block away, and a doctor was summoned by telephone.

The taking of the poison was witnessed by E.D. Whelon, 817 North Sixteenth street; E. Heatman, 509 North Sixteenth street, and D.B. Tatroe 1010(?) North Sixteenth street.

The suicide was about thirty-two years old, a handsome man of military bearing, neatly but plainly dressed. He was formerly a singer in a traveling light opera company and his talent as a vocalist made him especially valuable to the American Volunteers. He had been married twice. To his widow, Captain Thayer, of Lincoln, he had been married seven years. He was in reduced circumstances financially, and when his clothing was searched in the coroner’s office only 7 cents in money was found in his pockets. He borrowed the money with which he bought the poison of F.J. Preston, aide-de-camp of the Omaha American Volunteers.In room No. 8 of the Klondike hotel, occupied by Miss Hashberger, were found two notes written by Thayer, both addressed to her. One assures her of his unfaltering love and begs her forgiveness and the other requests her to send his effects to his mother, Mrs. William H. Thayer, 127 South Galena avenue, Freeport, Ill.

The letter found in his pocket reads as follows:

June 29 — It is not necessary to go into details why I have done this act, but I have determined to rest, to find quiet(?) rest, where I will not suffer. I have meant to be good, and I was for awhile, but now — well, it is all over. And so I bid farewell to all that is dark and to that which has wrecked the happiness of those I love.

Forgive. I know that my loved ones will suffer for a time, but God in His great love will forgive poor, heart-broken


To Mother and those who love me.

While captain of the American Volunteers, Thayer used to frequently tell the crowds that assembled on the street corners the story of how he was saved from suicide four years ago in Des Moines. The story was to the effect that the opera company of which he was a member, was stranded in that city and he was thrown upon his own resources, without money or means of gaining it. He became despondent and one evening started for the river, intending to jump in and end it all.

On the way he heard the American Volunteers singing on the street and paused to listen. The testimonials reached him; one or two seemed exact parallels of his case. He followed the army to its hall and listened to the preaching and the result of it was that he was converted and joined the army itself. The next night his voice, trained for light opera, was heard singing hymns upon the street.

Miss Hashberger, whose home is in Schuvler, was seen at the hotel this morning, when she gave the following account of events immediately preceding the suicide:

“I became acquainted with Captain Thayer and his wife in Lincoln about town months ago, as I was in the habit of attending the Volunteer meetings. I had known him scarcely a week before he began to show me attentions. About this time he left his wife. Then one day he told me he loved me — that I was the only woman he had ever loved, and that he couldn’t live without me. I reminded him of his wife, but he answered that he would not live with her again. I told him I didn’t love him — which was true. I told him I liked him as well as anyone on earth, but that I didn’t love him.

“In spite of this he kept calling on me and improving every possible opportunity to see me and after awhile people began to talk about us. Then his wife gave him a horsewhipping. It was not true, as reported, that I was present at that time, but of course everybody knew that it was because of jealousy for me that Mrs. Thayer did it. This caused our names to be associated more than ever and both of us felt disgraced on that account.

“Captain Thayer had resigned his commission in the American Volunteers and when he asked me to come to Omaha with him I saw nothing to do but to come. Things were getting unpleasant for me in Lincoln. So I consented, and we came. It was with the understanding that I should marry him as soon as he was free to get married.

“For a week or more he has been despondent because I told him I didn’t love him. Yesterday afternoon he repeated the question and when I gave him the same answer, but assured him that I would marry him nevertheless, he told me that he could be satisfied with no such arrangement and threatened to commit suicide. A few hours later he returned with a package marked ‘poison’ and told me he was going to take it. I pleaded with him and finally persuaded him to leave the package with me; also his knife and razor, and this he did, but I learned afterwards that he had opened the parcel and removed enough f the drug for a fatal dose.

“The last I saw of him was about 10 o’clock last night. He was acting very strangely and his friends told me that they had given him a lot of whisky as an antidote for a dose of poison he had taken. That was in his room here in the Klondike hotel.”

Miss Hashberger is a comely woman, perhaps twenty-five years of age. She appears to be deeply affected by the tragic turn of her intrigue.
Lincoln End of the Story.

The news of the death of her husband by suicide reached Mrs. Belle M. Thayer, captain of the American Volunteers’ post in this city, yesterday morning at 10 o’clock. The news came from the Douglas county coroner. Mrs. Thayer at once began preparations for going to Omaha, and left during the afternoon on the Rock Island. She was seen before leaving the city and asked to tell the story that led up to the tragedy. She was much affected by the news, and preferred to say nothing. she did not think the horsewhipping administered by her last Wednesday evening had anything to do with her husband killing himself. She laid the blame for his downfall and death on Miss Dot Hashberger, the young lady who accompanied him to Omaha. She said his mad infatuation for the woman had driven him wild, and that in that state of mind he had ended his life. At that time she knew nothing of the details of the suicide, but she felt sure that he had killed himself because of his intimacy with Miss Hashberger.

Mrs. Thayer said her husbsand’s relatives live in Freeport, Ill. She telegraphed them at once on receipt of the news but had heard nothing from them when she left the city. She said that she and her husband had traveled for several years with an opera company. when they entered the work with the Volunteers he was an earnest Christian. He had grown stronger in the faith the longer he followed the work until he met Miss Hashberger. With him it seemed to be a case of love at first sight. He paid attention to the young woman until his actions began to cause a scandal in the circle of Volunteers. Then he resigned his commission as captain of the post, and his wife succeeded him. He took up his residence at the Walton hotel and began working for a local painter and paperhanger. He never stopped paying his attentions to the young woman and their appearance on the streets together was noted.

Mrs. Thayer had rooms in the Brown block, 1526 O street. When she learned that Miss Hashberger had stopped at the Walton hotel last Tuesday night she at once concluded that the man and woman had occupied the same room, a conclusion that seems to have been in error. The next day she called on her husband at the hotel and found him in the parlor in company with Miss Hashberger. This was more than she could stand. She went out and secured a horsewhip. About 5 o’clock Wednesday evening she met him near the corner of Thirteenth and O streets and administered a whipping to him. He got away from her and went to the depot. He was carrying a grip at the time, supposed to contain Miss Hashberger’s effects. Mrs. Thayer followed him, hoping to find the woman at the train. The woman went away on that train but Mrs. Thayer did not find her. It was said that she went to Omaha and that Thayer followed on a late train.

Since that time Mrs. Thayer has heard nothing from her husband. While she had reason to believe that he was in Omaha she did not know it. He had never written to her. The evening following the horsewhipping scene on the public streets Mrs. Thayer conducted the services at the Volunteers tent on North Fourteenth street. Every evening since that time she had done this work, leading the meeting with a fervor and earnestness that gave little hint of the domestic trouble that was bothering her. She loved Thayer intensely, and the evening after the scene on the streets she told a reporter that should he come back to her repentant and ready to again live right she would forgive him for his misdeeds. When she received the news of his death yesterday she was heartbroken.

Thayer seems to have felt that he had forfeited the love of his wife. In the note left by him he refers to “mother and those who love me.” Not a word was left to his wife.

Mrs. Thayer said yesterday that she had never known him to threaten to take his life, but she had heard that he had talked of it before she married him. She said they had lived at Freport, Ill., Chicago, Des Moines, Kansas City, and Lincoln. They came to Lincoln from Kansas City about April 1. On May 11 he met Miss Hashberger. From that time on he was a different man. Friends of Thayer in this city say he had threatened his life before he went to Omaha to be near his love.

Miss Hashberger worked for a time for Mrs. Alexander in the Hall-Lansing block in this city. IT was because of the devotion of Captain Thayer for her that she was forced to quit this position. Her home is at Schuyler. She has a married sister in this city, who lives on North Fourteenth street. She is twenty-two years of age. It is said that she, too, has threatened to kill herself. She is said to be of a flighty temperament and her friends never attached any importance to her threats which seem to have been made in a jesting manner.

Shortly before going to Omaha Miss Hashberger paid a visit to her parents at Schuyler. Thayer followed her there and was introduced to her relatives.

Friends of the young woman in this city say that she was a good girl, but that her misfortune in meeting Thayer, and in accepting his attentions placed her in a light that she illy deserves. They fear that this tragedy may result in her downfall in one way or another. Her relatives were notified at once to go to Omaha after her, and it is probable that she will be taken to her home at Schuyler.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jun 30, 1901

Funeral of Captain Thayer.

The funeral of Captain Jesse F. Thayer, who committed suicide by taking poison in Jefferson square Saturday morning, was held from the undertaking parlors of Coroner Swanson at 2 o’clock. Interment was at Mount Hope cemetery.

The body could not be sent to Austin, Ill., the home of the deceased, because the necessary funds could not be raised.

Captain Ella Thayer, the widow of the deceased, is very bitter against Miss Dell Hashberger, who came to this city with Thayer. She called yesterday at the Klondike hotel, where Miss Hashberger is staying, and asked to see “the woman that murdered my husband.”

The hotel clerk refused to grant the request, fearing that trouble might result from a meeting of the two women.

“I am going to my home in Mankato, Minn., said Mrs. Thayer, “I shall resign my commission in the Volunteers and give up the work of the organization. I cannot say at present just what my plans will be.”

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jul 2, 1901

Thayer Case Closed.

The last incidents resulting from the suicide of Captain Jesse F. Thayer of the American Volunteers, Lincoln, closed this morning, when the widow, Ella Thayer, and Dottie Hashberger, the young woman with whom the suicide infatuated, left Omaha for their respective homes. Miss Hashberger accompanied her brother Frank to Schuyler, where her parents live. Mrs. Thayer went to Mankato, Minn., where she will rest for a few weeks before resuming her evangelical work in Nebraska.

Both women attended the funeral of Captain Thayer Monday afternoon in the rooms of the coroner and it was observed that Miss Hashberger seemed much more deeply affected than the widow. The latter shed no tears, whereas the former, in spite of her declaration that she did not love the deceased, was shaken with sobs and several times seemed on the verge of fainting. The women did not speak to each other and each was apparently oblivious of the other’s presence.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jul 3, 1901

The Great Grasshopper Raid

August 24, 2010

A variety of grasshopper plague related news spanning from 1819 through 1948, some of it reporting on the devastation, some explaining the methods used to try to limit the damage, mixed in with quite a bit of grasshopper humor that was published as well.

The Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 1, 1819

GRASSHOPPERS. — In the Southern and Western portions of this State the grasshoppers are doing considerable damage, already, to the crops, and the people are becoming discouraged with the present prospects. A gentleman from the Southwestern part of the State, informs us that the ground is completely covered with them, and still they come, not by the “hundred thousand more,” but by the millions. Emigration of this kind is not desired in Iowa.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) May 29 1868

Grasshoppers in the West.

EDITOR GAZETTE. — The old saying that “pestilence and famine follow war” is likely to be verified in our own country from present appearances on our Western frontier. I refer to the grasshopper plague, which is becoming a sad reality, as many of the farmers of Western Iowa are beginning to realize to their sorrow. — Living as I do in the border of what is known as the “grasshopper district,” (Boone County) and having had opportunities to post myself as to their movements and workings, I wish to say a few words to your readers, all of whom are directly interested in this subject.

During the month of August, 1867, millions of grasshoppers inhabiting the plains and Rocky Mountains took up a line of march across the continent, and by the middle of September reached from a point in Minnesota to the half of Mexico, covering the Western half of Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, and the entire States of Nebraska, Kansas and Texas, also including Dacotah and Indian Territories and extending into Mexico. Much damage was done to crops last fall and millions of eggs were deposited for this years’ crop; and while in the colder regions the old “hopper cusses” perished with the severe winter, in the Southern climes not only the young crop, is now on hand, but the old ones still live to curse the country with their presence. In Arkansas the woods have been burnt this spring to destroy the plague and thus save the crops, but to little purpose.

The best information I can get from Western Iowa is that crops are being destroyed in many places totally and in other localities only partially as yet. Many pieces of wheat in Boone County, west of the Des Moines River are being plowed up, while others are completely destroyed, so much so that there is not a vestige of wheat left to show that then days since the prospect was good for a fair crop. The corn crop has also been attacked and on many farms entirely destroyed. Some farmers replant but others prefer to save what corn they have, considering it useless to throw it away by planting, as there is as yet no prospect fro a better state of affairs. The grasshoppers at present vary in size, from one-sixteenth of an inch to two inches in length, all of whom are busily engaged in destroying everything green in their reach.

Some idea may be obtained of their number by a little circumstance which occurred on the C.& N.W.R.R., near the Des Moines River a few days since, and lest some of your readers may question the truth of the statement, I will refer them for particulars to the officers of that company in charge of the Western Iowa Division. An engine started out of Moingonn with three empty cars, bound for one of the many coal mines in that valley. A little distance from town the train run into a mass of grasshoppers which so completely soaped the track that it was impossible to proceed. Backing up they started again and was again brought to a halt. This time they could neither go ahead or back and another engine was sent to their relief.

I see nothing to save the crops of that country. Should the hoppers cease work now, Western Iowa may average a half crop, but it is doubtful while the prospect is that they will continue their work for weeks yet, perhaps all summer, in which case, crops must be an entire failure throughout the grasshopper district.

The question has been asked me many times in this city, was to the course the hoppers will take at the close of the season. Of course no one can answer that question, but the supposition is that as they always travel with the wind, of necessity, and as the prevailing winds in the Western States are from the Southwest and West, they will probably continue their course easterly. We would of course much prefer that they take themselves back to the wilds of the rugged mountains, where

Lo, the poor Indian, whose untutored squaw,
Sees bliss in grasshoppers and devours them raw.

Should the farmers of Black Hawk County look up some day to see millions of insects fill the air as high as the sight can penetrate, so that the heavens shall present the appearance of a heavy fall of snow, they may calculate that one of the worst plagues of Egypt is upon them and that it will be more profitable next year to raise chickens than wheat.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 19, 1868

The grasshoppers have invaded Utah, and the consequence is the invention by a Mormon of a “two-horse grasshopper smasher.”

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 15, 1871

EVERYTHING EATEN. — A gentleman who recently passed over the Sioux City & St. Paul road says that the grasshoppers have eaten thousands of the settlers in Minnesota out of house and home, and he saw men with their families at the stations begging to be passed to St. Paul so that they might work and earn something to live upon.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 12, 1874

The Grasshopper.

Letters from one old townsman, Joe Wells, to his friends here, state that the grasshoppers are making a clean sweep in his vicinity in Palo Alto County. Joe has charge of some 400 acres of land the crops upon which were entirely destroyed last year; but with dogged perseverance he determined to “grin and bear it,” and this spring once more seeded the entire area only to see the pests return in such myriads as to sweep the ground clear of the last vestige of vegetation. This is a hard blow and visits upon him the entire loss of two years hard labor and upon A.A. Wells, who owns the land, a cash expenditure of nearly $2,00, without a dime’s return.

If riches don’t “take to themselves wings” in this case, it’s because grasshoppers can’t fly.

Another person writing from the afflicted country, says “it has been ascertained by careful count that this entire prairie was planted with grasshoppers eggs or in average of 1800 to the square foot, and most of the d____d things hatched twins — the rest triplets.” They have appeared in large numbers as far east as the country between Clarion and the Boone River, and our people need not be surprised to receive a visitation from the festive hopper as soon as he has tarried long enough for his wings &c. to grow. — Iowa Falls Sentinel

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 19, 1874

Grasshopper Devastation (Image from

How the farmers of Wright county, Iowa drove away the  grasshoppers is revealed by the local papers The crops in that county were abundant, and the anxious husbandmen were in hopes that these destructive pests would not appear until after the harvest. At once they came, however, in clouds that darkened the sun. By a preconcerted plan, the farmers set fire to piles of dry straw on the borders of wheat fields, and smothered the blaze with green hay. That caused volumes of smoke to roll over the fields. The grasshoppers didn’t relish the procedure at all. They rose with such a multitudinous hum of wings as to deepen into a roar like distant thunder, and fled the country. In that way the Wright county farmers have a fair prospect of saving their crops.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 4, 1874

Image from Wikinews

The Destructive Grass(w)hopper.

The editor of the Bucyrus Forum has been visiting in the west, and thus writes of the grasshopper pest:

Some forty miles west of Omaha we commenced seeing the ravages of the grasshoppers. We are fully warranted in saying that the half has never been told concerning the wide spread destruction of these insects. It cannot be told. When we assure our readers from actual observation  that we have seen hundreds of thousands of acres of corn that have been literally eaten up by them, we still fall short of the facts.

To particularize: These grasshoppers, which are smaller, blacker and more fierce than the varieties usually seen in Ohio, are so numerous that they resemble a dark cloud slowly moving over the prairie. They are migrators and do not remain long in one place, for the best of reasons — they leave no green thing on which to subsist. Corn, buckwheat, fruit, garden vegetables, leaves of trees and bushes, all are stripped. They attack a corn field of two or three hundred acres, in the morning, and before “high noon” not an ear, tassel or blade is left to tell the tale. Often the stocks are eaten down to within fifteen inches of the soil in which they grew. Frequently strings of grasshoppers from twelve to fifteen inches in length, may be seen hanging on the same ear of corn. It is no uncommon sight to see them two inches deep on the ground. In half an hour they eat all the paint from a Buckeye Reaper and Mower. The only exception we found they made on the farms was sorghum or Chinese sugar cane, which probably contained too much saccharine matter for their delicate appetites.

When crossing Railroads they frequently stop the trains, the unctious matter of their bodies when crushed on the rails, causing the wheels of the locomotives to revolve with the rapidity of lightning without making any progress. From the point where we first observed their ravages to Kearney, we did not see a single field that contained an ear of corn. That unfortunate country is as bare and destitute as if it had been swept by one of the historic prairie fires. The effect may be better imagined than described. We saw dozens of families returning in their covered wagons to their friends in the different states. Many are unable to return.

We learned that aid would be given out of the State Treasuries of Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri to alleviate the sufferings, and to prevent the general exodus of emigrants out of these States to their kindred and friends. Thousands of these people are in a most deplorable condition. Comforted a few days ago with the thought of a large and profitable crop with which to make payments on their land and supply themselves with the necessaries of life, they now find themselves destitute, far from “Home” and among strangers equally as unfortunate as themselves. As we saw the settled look of despondency sitting on the brows of the hard-working, callous-handed men of toil, and their wives and children whose eyes were red with weeping, we thought the original characters of Longfellow’s pathetic lines had re-appeared:

“Hungry is the air around them,
Hungry is the sky above them.
And the hungry stars in heaven,
Like the eyes of the wolves glare at them.”

It is generally believed here by those whose experience and judgment pass for authority that the grasshopper scourge will be short lived. We trust so. The weevil, chintz, and Colorado bug have had their day and are now but little feared.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Oct 2, 1874

Congressman Orr, of this State, has secured the passage of a bill through the House allowing homestead and pre-emption settlers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas, whose crops were destroyed or injured by grasshoppers in 1874, to leave and be absent from their lands till May, 1876, without prejudice to their rights. This is eminently just.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Dec 18, 1874

KANSAS CITY, May 27. Rain has been falling here in torrents for the past twenty-four hours. It is reported to be general throughout the country. Some damage has been done to fences, railroads and crops. Great numbers of grasshoppers have been destroyed by the flood, as the Missouri river opposite the city is black with them, and it is thought the bulk of the insects in this vicinity have been destroyed. The feeling of dread is rapidly giving way to one of rejoicing, and Governor Hardin will doubtless be called on to issue a proclamation of thanksgiving instead of one for fasting and prayer.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) May 28, 1875

Mr. Grasshopper.

He laughs best who laughs last, says the proverb. The agile grasshopper of the western plains may find before he gets through this season’s business that he has carried his conquest too far and made himself an article of Western food, to the peril of all future generations of grasshoppers.

Some days ago the telegraph brought news that a grasshopper dinner had been eaten and relished by an adventurous party of gourmands at Warrensburgh, Missouri. Still later comes the report of another similar feast prepared with great care and critically enjoyed by a select company, including not only the leading local epicures, but several scientific gentlemen, among whom was Prof. Riley, the State entomologist. A bushel or more of “hoppers” were scooped up in an adjacent meadow and a talented cook especially engaged for the purpose brought them to the gridiron. They were stewed into soup, broiled crisp and dainty as smelts; they were fried in the omnipresent grease of the frontier, and baked in mass with curry and “champignons,” and in all these forms were pronounced delicious.

John the Baptist, who ate locusts and wild honey in the wilderness, was accused of riotous living. If this sort of thing goes on for a time it will be useless for the grasshopper sufferers of the far West to work up much sympathy in other States, or gather future subscriptions for food. Simply let them corral the insouciant hopper in their fields, bake him, broil him, and serve him up on toast; let them salt him down in barrels for winter use, and bid gaunt-eyed famine defiance. If the locusts insist upon eating up everything, let them be taught that there are two kinds of creatures who can play at that game.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio)Jun 24, 1875

The farmers in Missouri and Kansas are elated at the discovery of a new kind of buffalo grass springing up in sections devastated by the grasshoppers. The crops in both States are represented to be in a promising condition.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jul 12, 1875

GRASSHOPPERS have been a burden so long that it is a relief to know that a use has been found for them at last. Some French fishermen, who were lately out of sardine bait, discovered that grasshoppers dried and pounded were just the thing; and hundreds of bags filled with the festive ‘hopper are being imported into France for fish bait. Here, in future, may be found an employment for our home-made ‘hoppers. We cannot all eat them, like Prof. Riley and his brother scientists, and the next best use is to make them provide us with something we can eat.

Globe Democrat.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Apr 14, 1876

Grasshopper Trapper

Image from The Plague of 1875 in the Longmont Ledger.

A New Discovery.

An Iowa man had discovered that the very best of machine oil can be made out of grasshoppers, at a cost only from fifty cents to a dollar per barrel. If such machine oil will only stop the squeaking of ‘machine’ politics it will be worth five dollars per barrel at least. And if the grasshopper can be made into oil, why not that oil into butter better than oleomargarine; and if into oleomargarine, why not, by subtle chemical processes, into creamy butter to fatten the white loaves and lard the tender steaks of the provident. Hoppergrass butter is not an impossible extract or compound, if it be proven that oil can be fried or pressed from their bodies; and the song of “When the cows come lowing home” will be superceded by “When the locusts have gone to roost, Phoebe!”

If in the economy of nature even the perturbing flea has utility, surely the grasshopper, whose demoralizing super abundance afflicts the sad farmer of the West with countless agitations may be converted, by schemes of science, into lubricating food, or at least into anointments for the hair and shoes, and for the neater and better appropriation of an insect plague. Of course such discoveries weaken the work of the Grasshopper Commission; but we trust that the Iowa man will continue to rack his brain and the grasshopper until both shall bring “peace to troubled waters,” and oil to the ways up which “”Hope springs eternal” in the human breast.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 21, 1877

Image from The Grasshopper Plague of 1874 on the Kansas State Historical Society website.

Character and Habits of the Grasshopper.

[From the Faribault Republican]

We have received a circular from the publishers of the New York Graphic asking us for information as to the character, habits, movements and depredations of the locusts of the West, to be embodied in an illustrated supplement they are about to issue. We much dislike to disappoint any one who appeals to us in a candid spirit for information, and we therefore, cheerfully contribute from our abundance:

1. As to the character of the grasshopper, it is bad. Like the deadbeat that he is, he eats his landlord out of house and home and then skips. He is a thief, poacher, robber, glutton and an unmitigated nuisance.

2. The grasshopper has three habits which it adheres to faithfully. In fact, if anything is the creature of habit it is the grasshopper. The first is to hatch under any circumstances; this is a point of honor and duty that it faithfully observes. The second is to eat and eat continuously. From the rising of the sun until the going down thereof it crams its abdomen with victuals, and its digestion is equal to its appetite. It always eats at the first table, for it clears it so clean that there is no chance for a second. Its third habit is to lay eggs, and all the time not devoted to eating is improved in this recreation. How many eggs a well-developed, healthy grasshopper will lay has never been accurately stated, but the Government has a lightning calculator now at work upon the problem.

3. With respect to its movements we are enabled to state that it moves frequently and takes all its baggage with it except the aforesaid eggs. It moves hastily, “gets up and gets,” so to speak, on very short notice and the simple provocation of lack of sustenance. No habit of the grasshopper excites so much interest in the farmer as its movement, and the interest is concentrated in the point whether the ‘hopper is moving towards or away from his farm.

4. His depredations: This is a profound mathematical problem, of which the total number of grasshoppers, the amount each will consume on the average per day, their rate of progress and the amount of forage to be found in the counties where they stop, are essential elements in the calculation. We would respectfully refer the Graphic to the Government commission for information upon this branch of its inquiry.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 23, 1877

The grasshoppers were at one time pretty thick this year in Richardson county, Nebraska, so the farmers set seven hundred grasshopper machines in motion, and they have succeeded in scooping up 2,800 bushels of lively insects. One set of laborers in Nomah also cleaned up 150 bushels. This shows that the farmers are turning the tables on the ‘hoppers and are gathering them in instead of allowing them to gather the crops. It also shows that the farmers can do much towards saving their crops, it they only try.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 26, 1877

Image from the  Rural Missouri website’s article: Louses & Locusts.

Grasshopper Eggs.

Mr. Cunningham showed a GAZETTE reporter a small box of earth yesterday which was taken from his ranch in Sierra Valley. In it were myriads of grasshopper eggs. There seemed as much eggs as earth, and the roots of several bunches of grass were thickly imbedded with them. The eggs are of a brownish white in appearance, and about a quarter of an inch in length. Mr. Cunningham said the box of earth shown was a fair sample of all the soil in Sierra Valley, every yard of it permeated with millions of the larvae. Unless the insects migrate after hatching, every green thing in the valley is doomed.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Apr 23, 1879

Grasshopper Sparrow

Image from the World News website.


The great grasshopper raid upon Nebraska and Kansas a few years ago led to the better protection of birds, particularly quail. Previous to that time both sportsmen and professional hunters from all the cities of the Union took a yearly hunt and the slaughter of quails, ducks and turkeys was almost incredible. Tons upon tons were shipped into Chicago and St. Louis and even New York and Philadelphia. The result was, the grasshoppers had their own way and multiplied exceedingly. The quail is particularly fond of both grasshoppers and their eggs, and where they are at all numerous the destruction is enormous.

They are besides a valuable article of food and add not only to the dainty table of the rich, but help to fill the poor man’s pot as well. In addition to these uses the quail is a game bird of the first order and commands the skill of both man and dog in its capture.

We publish a column of letters from the Chicago Field on the migratory quail of southern Europe, which we hope may prove both interesting and profitable under the present circumstances. We very much fear that the Truckee meadows are doomed to be overrun in 1880 to some extent, and in 1881 and 1882, very seriously by the grasshopper.

We do not expect that any addition to the stock of birds in Nevada and eastern California could be made in time to serve in the crisis, but they will get a good hold and be a great help in future years. They will flourish and increase beyond all doubt.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno., Nevada) Jun 2, 1879

In view of the threatened invasion of Kansas by the grasshoppers next year, it is comforting to reflect that the country is swarming with English sparrows, which were imported especially to eat grasshoppers.

Atchison Daily Globe ( Atchison, Kansas) Aug 2, 1885

Grasshoppers Colorado Springs 1899

Image posted by FuzzyTomCAt


HELENA, ARK., November 20. — About 4:30 o’clock last evening this place was visited with a shower of grasshoppers that proved an astonishing feature to the oldest inhabitants, as such a thing had never been seen here before. As they fell on the houses it sounded like a heavy shower of rain. All the stores and houses had to be closed to keep the insects out. The negroes were badly frightened, and most of them claim that it is a bad omen. A cold wave struck the town early last evening and brought the grasshoppers with it. It is very fortunate that this incident did not happen earlier in the fall, as it would have proved very destructive to the crops.

Atchison Daily Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Nov 21, 1885

Image from Family Tree Magazine.

Grasshoppers in Indiana.

DECATUR, Ind., May 15. — Grasshoppers have appeared in this (Adams) county in vast numbers. Never in the history of this section have these pests been seen in such great numbers. Recently a farmer brought in a large farm basket filled with grasshoppers, which he shipped to Chicago and for which he received the rate of $8 a bushel.

Conjecture is rife in this city as to what the purchaser intends to do with the hoppers. As they were sent near the Board of Trade building some conclude the pests are to be used to influence the market in cereals. It will  doubtless be a grasshopper year in this section.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) May 16, 1886

Grasshoppers’ Foe.

Minneapolis, Minn. — A cricket in the field is worth two on the hearth. His once doleful fiddling now is music to the ear of the farmer of the northwest. So doubtless muses M.P. Somers, grasshopper expert for the state department of entomology, after a summer-long investigation in the grasshopper infested districts of Minnesota and the Red river valley. The cricket is declared by Mr. Somers to have an insatiable appetite for grasshopper eggs and is eating them by the millions.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Sep 27 1911


WILLOWS, Cal., Jun 29. — (By International News Service.) — Moving forward at the rate of a mile a day, an immense swarm of grasshoppers is now near Artois and moving eastward toward the Orland irrigation project. Farmhouse porches have been covered to a depth of nearly a foot by the insects, which are the small species.

Grasshopper plagues in other sections of northern California have also been reported.

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Jun 30, 1919

Now for something scientific:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9. (AP) — An elaborate process so intricate that nature alone can guide it to perfection, is credited for the survival of American agriculture.

The tremendous scheme, revealed by Dr. N.A. Cobb, federal chief nematologist, is built around the subtle function of the Mermis subnigrescens, commonly called the hairworm. Years of study and investigation have convinced Dr. Cobb and his associates, whose work has been assisted by approximately 150 of the nation’s foremost zoologists and entemologists, that grasshoppers, in limitless hordes and a thousand species, would devour practically every farm crop but for hairworm parasitization.

An avaricious enemy, the nema enters the grasshopper’s body when it swallows eggs of the hairworm, matures there, and bores its way out. The grasshopper dies from the wound.

Every Detail

Nature has perfectly correlated every detail. The nematizing process is as ruthless and deliberate as premeditated murder. Instinct forces the grasshopper to feed several inches from the ground, on the exposed surface of plant leaves. To make sure the victim is trapped, the female hairworm is so constituted that she cannot lay eggs in a shadow. Emerging from the ground in the spring, she ascends to a position well lighted by the sun, irrevocably the spot on which grasshoppers feed.

An overdose of eggs would cause premature death for the grasshopper. It must live until the nematode has reached an adult stage, and nature makes it her business to see that is does. Twenty eggs may be deposited in one place, but each egg is equipped with polar filaments that become entangled with the “fur” of young leaf hairs. As the leaf grows and the hairs spread apart, the eggs become sufficiently scattered to keep the grasshopper from getting more than two or three eggs during the entire feeding season.

The contents of a grasshopper’s alimentary canal are eliminated approximately once every hour. IN that time the hairworm larvae must work from the egg into cavities of the victim’s body, there to thrive on the food it has digested. Again nature is prepared. The equatorial region of the nema egg is composed of a substance soluable in less than an hour.

Color Scheme

An even more astounding circumstance, leading scientists to believe environment may be responsible for determination of sex, enters nature’s colorful scheme. Female hairworms, growing from half an inch to six inches in length in six weeks, usually are many times larger than male nemas. Whether it is because of limited room to develop in the grasshopper’s body or because of insufficient food supply, the hairworms, regardless of the sex propensity in the larvae, always become male when a large number of eggs are swallowed and as invariably are females when the number is limited.

In every case, Dr. Cobb says, a parasitized grasshopper immediately becomes sterile. Tests have shown that fields attacked by nematized grasshoppers are free of the pests in following years or until uninfested grasshoppers from adjacent territory invade them. That, he says, explains “grasshopper waves” in this country.

The Evening Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Dec 9, 1927

Watertown Sieged By G’hoppers

Watertown  (AP) –Clouds of grasshoppers invaded Watertown and the surrounding countryside over the weekend and yesterday began attacking corn and vegetable crops.
The invaders rode on the waves of Lake Ontario in the Chaumont area Sunday, swarmed over the beaches, docks and summer cottages, driving vacationers indoors.

Farm Bureau officials here said the insects already are making inroads on crops, but that damage so far in not extensive. It is the worst grasshopper invasion in ten years, officials said.

The base of operations for the grasshoppers’ is not known, but the Farm Bureau said they were larger than recently hatched insects, and therefore probably are not local products.

This belief was strengthened by reports from Chaumont that large patches of the pests were seen floating in from the lake. When they reached shore they swarmed inland.

The city of Watertown was less attacked than rural areas of Jefferson County, but thousands descended upon the city, especially on the golf course.

The Farm Bureau notified farmers that poison bait made of wheat bran, molasses and arsenic is the only safe way to halt the pests. A sufficiently strong concentration of DDT would harm crops also, the bureau.  [said?]

Oneonta Star (Oneonta, New York) Aug 24, 1948

Horse Thief Was a Thief-ette

July 22, 2010





“Burt” Martin Convicted as a Man Turns Out to Be Lean Martin — Had a Male Cellmate.

For eleven months a woman has been imprisoned in the Nebraska penitentiary garbed as a man. She was tried, convicted and sentenced in Keya Paha county on a charge of horse stealing all the time dressed in man’s garb, and she passed the scrutiny of the guards at the entrance to the prison eleven months ago with the secret of her sex preserved. Now she is once more garbed in woman’s clothing and in this dress, she will spend the remainder of her three year sentence.

Discovery Made.

That such an unusual occurrence could happen considering the gauntlet every person admitted to the penitentiary must run seems incredible. Yet the discovery of the sex was not made till two days ago, by the prison authorities. The woman’s real name is Lena Martin but she has been known as Burt Martin and under this name she has gone for many years. Her father is dead but her mother resides not far from Springview. she was sentenced for rustling horses and when she came down to Lincoln, she had the reputation of being good at “borrowing” animals. The convict Martin was always regarded as of rather delicate constitution. He had small feet and small hands. His face was like that of a young boy as he was only nineteen years old when admitted. He was five feet, eight inches in height and weighed 140 pounds. He was employed in the broom factory and performed his duties well as the ordinary prisoner.

Were the Guards Napping.

When a prisoner is admitted to the penitentiary, he is thoroughly examined for identifying marks and one of the first duties of the guards is to give a bath in a large open bath room where any peculiarity or deformity would be noticed and made note of as a means of identification in case of escape. Nothing is now known of the incidents surrounding the admission of the young woman as this occurred eleven months ago under the previous administration. The guards might have been napping when she entered or the girl may have been more than usually clever at concealment. She was passed through and given a suit of stripes and since that time has not given the authorities any cause for suspicion until recently.

Whispers of a Mystery.

It was whispered about the prison among the convicts that a mystery surrounded the personality of young Martin. Some of the prisoners talked much of Martin’s cell mate and gave a gentle hint to the guards that an investigation would result in a revelation. At this time the prison physician was called upon to tend the cell mate and the secret was revealed by degrees.

As soon as discovered, the young woman wanted to be garbed in woman’s dress but the penitentiary authorities did not have a stock on hand and the steward was compelled to come to Lincoln and get a complete lady’s outfit. So not till yesterday was the lady horsethief once more dressed in woman’s clothes. She took the discovery of her sex without much chagrin and appeared to regard the matter as a rather comical incident.

The prison authorities know little about the history of the case before it came to them. The young woman lived in a county where the stock interests are large and where there are many cases of cattle rustling. When she gave her name to be entered on the records, she told the officers that she was a married man.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 4, 1901

Convict a Woman.

Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 1 — For 11 months the officials at the Nebraska state penitentiary have supposed that a prisoner known as Burt Martin was a man. The discovery that the convict is a woman and that her real name is Lena Martin was made two days ago by the prison physician. She was arrested, tried and convicted at Spring View, Keya Paha county, as a man, a year ago, for horse stealing. She seemed to take it as a joke when the discovery was made. Her mother lives near Springview. She is 20 years of age, large and coarsely built.

Lima Times Democrat ( Lima, Ohio) Oct 4, 1901


Her Sex Discovered Only After She Had Remained in the Penitentiary Eleven Months.

For For 11 months the officials at the Nebraska state penitentiary have supposed that a prisoner known as Burt Martin was a man. The discovery that the convict is a woman and that her real name is Lena Martin was made two days ago by the prison physician. She was arrested, tried and convicted at Spring View, Keya Paha county, as a man, a year ago, for horse stealing. Recently her cell mate intimated to the guards that an investigation would not be barren of developments. This was made when the prison physician was called to attend her.

She has donned woman’s clothes and will serve out the remainder of her three-year sentence. She seemed to take it as a joke when the discovery was made. Her mother lives near Springview. She is 20 years of age, large, and coarsely built for a woman. She comes from a ranch country, and was not known by her nearest neighbors, 20 miles away.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Nov 1, 1901

Governor Savage


OMAHA, Neb., June 23. — Governor Savage has released from the state penitentiary the convict who was sentenced under the name of Bert Martin, but who after a year was found to be a woman named Lena Martin. The woman had masqueraded for years as a man and was convicted of cattle-stealing. Recently her sex was discovered and on the promise that she would return to the home of her mother in Springview, Neb., and live an honest life she was pardoned yesterday.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Jun 23, 1902


LINCOLN, Neb., June 24. — Lena Martin, a woman convict in the Nebraska penitentiary, recovered while disguised as a man, was released from prison by Governor Savage on her pledge to reform. Lena carried on a deception for several years in northern Nebraska, but finally was arrested for cattle stealing and was sentenced to the penitentiary for three years. The prosecution was against “Bert” Martin, a man, and to the eye of the laws  he was still a man for a full year after entering the penitentiary for the prison authorities did not until that time discover her sex.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jun 25, 1902

Rustler Round-up

July 15, 2010

Springview Courthouse (Image from

On Monday, I posted about a woman who was raped and lynched by cattle rustlers from this same town, in this same time frame. I never found any articles about them catching and trying anyone for those heinous crimes. I think it is entirely possible that these men or some of their associates could have been responsible, but, if so, were never charged or tried. ( Link to the post.)


Forced to Surrender to Keya Paha Vigilantes.


Men Who Were Outspoken Against the Lynching of Barrett Scott Express the Hope That the Prisoners Will Be Lynched — One Hundred Stolen Cattle Were Found In Their Possession.

BUTTE, Neb., July 16. — The vigilantes made their raid on the rustlers’ camp Sunday. They found the rustlers in camp in the stockade at Fort Randall ready to protect their stolen property. The fort was quickly surrounded and the men, realizing the futility of resistance, surrendered to the vigilantes. They were quickly disarmed, bound hand and foot and placed on their horse and started west, presumably for Keya Paha county.

The men captured are Louis Zoadland, a resident of Spencer, Neb.; S.C. Clark, C.S. Murphy and C.H. Jackson, who live west of Springview.

Nearly 100 head of cattle were found, and over 40 head were identified by R. Austager, a resident living 16 miles west of Springview, as his property.

Charles White and his children, who were with the rustling party, were left in charge of the balance of the cattle until further investigation could be made, but as soon as the vigilantes left they took the stock and followed the men, driving the cattle before them.

N. Keeler of Spencer, one of the men suspected, could not be found, but a number of the regulators stayed behind to look him up, as well as some other parties who are thought to be connected with the stealing.

The vigilantes who conducted the captured men back to Keya Paha county are N. Taylor, captain; Fred Shattuck, William Charmas, John Wright, R. Austager, Mark Harvey, Stillman Lewis, Jack Woods and Carl Chiede. Young Murphy, one of the captured men, became frightened and told all he knew, implicating several parties. One of Clark’s daughters, a girl of 18 years, is engaged to Zoadland and was to be married in a few days, and when informed that Zoadland was a married man and had several children she was greatly distressed.

But few here think the rustlers reached Spring View, as the vigilantes are old ranchers and seldom bring a rustler back when they have a good chance to make away with him. Others believe that because of the publicity given to the affair the men in charge will not dare to make away with them, but will turn them over to the authorities at Spring View, when other parties will take them from the officers, and they will likely share the usual fate of rustlers.

Deputy United States Marshal Cogle of Springview arrived in town in search of the stolen cattle, but came too late to get them. One peculiar circumstance in this connection is the change of sentiment noticed in Butte since the report of the stealing. Men who were outspoken against the Holt county vigilantes during the Scott trial were heard to express the hope that the men captured would by hung by the vigilantes.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jul 16, 1895

Springview (Image from


Cattle Thieves Thought to Have Been Lynched.


Captured by Nebraska Vigilants and May Have Been Strung Up to Save the County the Expense of a Trial.

Butte, Neb., July 16. — There is a general belief here that the rustlers captured by the vigilantes Sunday have been lynched. The vigilantes found the rustlers in camp in the stockade at Fair, prepared to protect their stolen property. The fort was quickly surrounded and the men, realizing the futility of resistance, surrendered to the vigilantes. They were quickly disarmed, bound hand and foot, and placed on their horses and started west, presumably for Keya Paha county. The men captured were: Louis Zouadland, a resident of Spencer, Neb.; S.C. Clark, C.S. Murphy, and C.H. Jackson, who lived west of Spring View.

Nearly 100 head of cattle were found.

But few here think the rustlers reached Spring View, as the vigilantes are old ranchers and seldom bring a rustler back when they have a good chance to make away with him. Others believe that because of the publicity given to the affair the men in charge will not dare to make away with them, but will turn them over to the authorities at Spring View, when other parties will take them from the officers, and they will likely share the usual fate of rustlers.

Davenport Daily Tribune (Davenport, Iowa) Jul 17, 1895

“Rustlers” Plead Guilty.

Omaha, Neb., July 19. — A special from Springview, Neb., says J. Voegel, S.T. Clark and C.H. Jackson pleaded guilty to cattle stealing and will go before the District court at Bassett Monday and receive their sentences. This will make six rustlers Keya Paha county has sent to Lincoln in four months.

Davenport Daily Tribune ( Davenport, Iowa) Jul 20, 1895

Fort Randall (#14)

Convicts Who Claim They Were Hurried Into the Pen Under Threats and False Pretenses.

Convicts Want Liberty.

Three penitentiary convicts, Salem Clark, Charles H. Jackson and Lewis Vogland, who are serving a six-year sentence for cattle stealing, are making an effort to regain their liberty through the medium of a writ of habeas corpus. The petition for a writ was filed in the supreme court yesterday afternoon by Judge J.H. Broady of this city. The petitioners assert that they pleaded guilty to Judge Kinkaid out of court in order to avoid being lynched and that the judge then upon sentenced them to a term of six years imprisonment. They claim that they were captured in South Dakota in March, 1895, by a band of vigilantes and brought to Springview. They were given a preliminary hearing and were intimidated by threats of mob violence into pleading guilty to stealing thirty-two head of cattle. They were then taken to Bassett, Rock county, and although no court was in session Judge Kinkaid imposed sentence upon them. The claim is made that these proceedings were all contrary to law and that the defendants are being unlawfully deprived of their liberty. The court made the writ returnable on March 2.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Feb 19, 1896


Men Who Had Plead Guilty Get Out On Habeas Corpus.

LINCOLN, Neb., April 11. — In the supreme court in re the application of Louis Vogeland, Salem T. Clark and Charles H. Jackson for a writ of habeas corpus, the writ was granted and the prisoners ordered discharged. This case excited considerable interest at the time application for the writ was made, and the facts brought to light. Then men have been in the penitentiary for several months, having pleaded guilty of cattle stealing in Keya Paha county, in January, 1895.

They claimed that they had been arrested in South Dakota without a warrant by a Nebraska officer, and brought down to the county judge of Keya Paha county and by him committed to await a hearing at the succeeding term of the district court of that county to be held at Springview, Neb. Subsequently they were brought before Judge Kincaid, sitting in chambers and advised by some one to plead guilty to cattle stealing. This, they claimed in their application was under duress, since a mob of vigilantes were standing outside the court to hang them if they did not. They, however, did so, and Judge Kincaid sentenced them to five and six years in the penitentiary.

The supreme court, in the syllabus, holds that “under the provisions of chapter CVIII of the Laws of Nebraska, passed 1885, the requirements that all informations shall be filed during the term of the court having jurisdiction of the offenses specified therein, is mandatory, and an information upon which the accused is to be tried for felony is void if filed in vacation.”

The prisoners were released, but immediately taken into custody again. They are likely to be taken back for a new trial.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Apr 12, 1896

Mrs. Holton Meets an Awful Fate

July 12, 2010

Main St. and Courthouse - Springview, Keyapaha Co., Nebraska

Image from Bad Men and Bad Towns – By Wayne C. Lee


Mrs. Holton Meets an Awful Fate In Keya Paha County.


Her Body Discovered in Her Cabin With a Rope Tied About the Neck — Evidences of a Terrible Struggle — She Was Suspected of Giving Up Secrets of Thieves to the Authorities.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19. — Mrs. W.E. Holton of Keya Paha county was found dead in her home last night by neighbors. She had been lynched. Her body was lying on the floor with a piece of rope, about 10 feet long, and a hatchet and a hammer beside her. The coroner was summoned and an autopsy showed that she had died of strangulation, and had also been assaulted. The woman was living alone, as her husband had been sent to an insane asylum. It is supposed the motive of the lynching was to prevent the woman from giving testimony against the rustlers, as she had been summoned as a witness against a gang of thieves in the county. She had borne a good reputation. It was evident that she had fought a hard fight for her life and her honor, as the bedding and clothing were torn and scattered around the room.

No warrants have yet been made, but a meeting of the best citizens of the neighborhood was held yesterday, and it was decided prompt measures should be taken, and it is expected that another and possibly several hangings will take place before long.

Several Under Suspicion.

Several persons are under suspicion, and these parties will be taken and compelled to confess.

The body of Mrs. Holton was interred at Oakdale cemetery at Doty, this county, yesterday.

The latest report comes that a man named Hunt is implicated in some way with the lynchers, and it is thought he can be forced to a confession. A number of the alleged rustlers were recently arrested and taken to Springview, where they broke jail and escaped to the reservation, where they were afterward recaptured and convicted.

The country where the lynching occurred is in the heart of the cattle rustling district.

Money Found on the Body.

The coroner’s jury after viewing the body delivered a verdict in accordance with the circumstances, that the deceased came to her death by hanging, and that the deed was committed by a person or persons unknown to the jury. A large sum of money was found on the body which had escaped the observation of the lynching party. The house was thoroughly ransacked and several articles of value, including a new Colt’s revolver, were missing.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Mar 19, 1895


Wreaked Upon a Woman Who Knew Too Much


Taken from Her Bed, Cruelly Outraged and Lynched by Cattle Thieves who Feared Her Testimony Before the Vigilants.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19 — News of a terrible tragedy has just reached this place. It occurred last Thursday in Keya Paha county, near Rocksburg. Mrs. W.H. Holton, who was living alone on her farm, was taken from her bed, cruelly outraged and then lynched. A neighbor discovered the deed the next morning when he passed by the home. The woman was found lying on the floor of her dwelling, surrounded by her scattered and torn clothing and the clothing of her bed. Tracks of many men’s feet were found in the yard and in the house.

No warrants have yet been issued, but a meeting of the citizens of the neighborhood was held Sunday, and it was decided that prompt measures should be taken.

The body of Mrs. Holton was interred at Oakdale cemetery at Doty Sunday.

Keya Paha county is noted for its lynchings by vigilants. There is no doubt but that the crime was committed by rustlers, who have been running off horses and cattle from the neighborhood, and who have reason to fear the vigilant committee.

The latest report says that a man named Hunt is implicated in some way with the lynchers, and it is thought he can be forced to confess.

A number of alleged rustlers were recently arrested and taken to Springview, where they broke jail and escaped to the reservation, where they were afterward recaptured and convicted. The proximity of the Indian reservation to the scene of the depredation makes it possible that United States deputy marshals may have to make arrests if warrants are sworn out.

Mrs. Holton is said to have assisted in securing the conviction of the cattle thieves, and this is their revenge.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 19, 1895


Possible Clue Being Followed by the Sheriff.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19. — The authorities think they have struck a clue that may lead to the apprehension of the lynchers of Mrs. Holton. Mrs. Holton was a German woman about 50 years old and fairly well to do. Her husband, Theodore Holton, was sent to the hospital for the insane at Norfolk about eighteen months ago. Since that time the wife had lived alone on the ranch, the couple having no children. She looked after the bunch of cattle they owned and managed to prosper much as when her husband lived with her. They had been in this section of the country a number of years and well-known to the cattle men of all descriptions. It is just this acquaintance that undoubtedly brought about the crime. She was the principal witness against a young fellow named Davis, charged with stealing horses. It is believed that he knows of the crime. His whereabouts are now unknown. This led the sheriff in following and he expects results in the near future.

The county in which this crime was committed is far removed from the railroad and telegraph, and there are no towns near from which information could be readily secured. It is thinly settled and of such a character that it is not improbable that this will be only one more added to the list of violent deaths that have occurred in that portion of the state which will never be explained or brought home to any one, though the authorities believe they can locate the criminals.

The Fort Wayne Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Mar 20, 1895

The Murder of Chief Logan Fontanelle

June 1, 2010

Omaha Scouts - 1865

Image from Legends of America with article about the Omaha Indians HERE.

From the St. Louis Republican

Death of Logan Fontanelle, The Omaha Chief.

Logan Fontanelle, Chief of the Omahas, has just been slain and scalped at Loup Fork, by a band of Sioux. Logan was a noble fellow, and in this last mortal conflict he dispatched several of the enemy to the spirit land before, to herald the coming of his own brave soul. He fought long, desperately, and with great effect, but numbers finally overcame him, and his life departed through a hundred wounds. He died a martyr for his people, and his name should be carved on fame’s brightest tablet.

Omaha Camp - 1898 (Image from

He was on his annual hunt with his nation. A number of his lodges were pitched on the plains near Loupe Fork. — As a young warrior one day rode around the adjacent hills he espied a powerful band of Sioux encamped along a stream in a sequestered vale. He hastened to inform Logan of the propinquity and power of their natural foe. Logan ordered his people to pack immediately, and proceed in a straight line and with all speed for home, while he would remain behind and divert the Sioux by false camp fires and other devices, from a direct purusit of them. This was about twilight. The people got under way as quickly as possible, but not too soon; for scarcely had they turned a highland, when several Sioux warriors came in sight and discovered the place of their recent encampment. They examined it, and found that Omahas had been there, and then they returned to notify their chief, and bring an adequate force to pursue and slaughter them. Logan, from a hiding-place, saw all, and knew no time was to be lost in drawing their attention from the trail, which they would soon discover and follow, and mounting his horse, he dashed away at full speed across the prairie, at right angles with the route his tribe had taken, and struck a fire about eight miles distant, on an eminence where the Sioux could distinctly see it. He had scarcely done so before a powerful band were upon the spot that he and his people had so lately left, and who, without stopping to distinguish the trail, started for the fire, which they saw rising against the clear blue sky, and where they expected in another moment to imbrue their hands in the gore of their unguarded victims. But Logan had not been unwary. As soon as the fire was lighted, he again mounted and rode on eight or ten miles further, and kindled another fire just as they reached the first. This rather bewildered them. They dismounted and examined the ground. Logan, anticipating this, had trotted and walked his horse around it, so as to make the appearance upon the grass of the treading of a dozen horses; and this drew them into the belief that a small body had lingered behind and kindled this fire, and then gone on to where they could see the new fire burning; and so they followed with renewed avidity. The same thing happened as before. Logan had gone on, and another fire met their astonished gaze, while the same sort of foot-prints were about the one around which they were now gathered. Their suspicions were now awakened. They examined the ground more closely, both far and near, and discovered that a solitary horseman had deceived them, and they knew it was for the sole purpose of leading them off from the pursuit of the party whose encampnent they had first discovered.

Logan saw them going round with glaring torches and understood their object, and knew that his only chance of safety was an immediate flight towards his home; and he further knew that by the time they could retrace their way to their place of starting, and find the trail that his own people had taken, they would be beyond the reach of danger.

The Sioux, in the meantime, had divided into smaller bands, the largest of which was to return and pursue the Omahas, and the others to endeavor to capture the one who had misled them. They knew that he must be an Omaha, and that he would either go further and kindle another watch-fire, or start for his nation in a straight line; and, therefore, one party went on a little further, and the others spread out toward the Omaha country for the purpose of intercepting him. Logan pressed forward as rapidly as his jaded steed could bear him, until he thought he had entirely eluded them; but as the day dawned, to his horror and dismay, he saw his pursuers close upon his track. He turned his course for a ravine, which he distinguished at a distance, covered with trees and undergrowth. He succeeded in reaching it, and just within its verge he met an Indian girl dipping water from a spring. She was startled, and about to cry for help, when he hastily assured her that he needed protection and assistance. With the true instincts of noble woman, she appreciated his situation in an instant, and all her sympathies were with him. She directed him to dismount and go to a small natural bower to which she pointed him, in the verge of the woods, while she would mount horse and lead his pursuers away. He obeyed her, and she mounted his horse and dashing on in a serpentine way through the woods, leaving marks along the brushes by which she could be traced. The pursuers soon followed. When she had got some distance down the branch, she rode into the water and followed its descending course for a few steps, making her horse touch its sides and leave foot-prints in that direction, and then turned up the bed of the stream and rode above the place at which she entered it, without leaving a trace, and back to where Logan was concealed. She told him to mount and speed away, while his pursuers were going in a contrary direction down the ravine. He did so, and got a long distance out of sight, and again thought himself beyond the reach of danger, when, in a valley just in front of him, he saw fifty braves coming up the hill and meeting him. — They were some of those who were returning from the pursuit of his people. He changed his direction and tried to escape, but his poor horse was too much exhausted to bear him with sufficient speed. With savage yells they plunged their rowels into their horses’ sides and gained upon him. As the foremost approached within good shooting distance, Logan turned suddenly and sent a bullet through his brain. Then, loading as he galloped on, he soon after made another bite the dust; and then another and another, until four were strewed along the plain. Just then, however, as he was again reloading, his horse stumbled and fell, and the band rushed upon him before he had well recovered from the shock. He was shot with bullets and arrows, and gashed with tomahawks, and pierced with lances; notwithstanding all which, he arose amidst his foes, and with his clubbed rifle and hunting knife, he piled around him five prostrate bodies, and fell with his back upon their corpses and expired, still fighting.

He was scalped, and hundreds of warriors held a great war-dance over him.

Thus Logan Fontanelle departed, and his noble spirit was followed to the spirit-land by the sighs and lamentations of his nation and the sympathies and aspirations of the brave of every land.

The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California) Oct 25, 1855


Woe for the proud departed!
Bowed in grief.
Wail for the lion-hearted
Not from the white man’s steeple
Moans thy knell,
But from thy stricken people

They wail thee in thy mystic
Temple’s dome,
The shades of thy majestic
Forest home.
Like some great warrior-eagle
Fought and fell,
Their Sachem, brave and regal —

Sublime and self-reliant,
Stern he stood,
High heart and brow defiant
Raining blood,
Death-waters like a river
Rage and swell,
Then didst thou blench? No — never!

Like Death himself, thou’rt scything
Down the foe!
Around thee they are writhing
Prone and low,
Yet shadows darkly, dimly,
O’er thee fell;
Thy soul fled, strong and sternly,

Thy clay in scorn they taunted,
Stark and frore;
The owl’s cry from the haunted
Echoed the Sioux’ sharp, savage
Whoop and yell,
Over their deeds of ravage,

The springtime blooms in gladness
Yet dwells a tone of sadness
On the air;
And rythmic winds are sighing
Down the dell,
Where they dead heart is lying,

In thine ancestral bowers,
Long ago,
Where through their banks of flowers
Streamlets flow;
A voice, like some soft-ringing
Fairy bell,
Was wont to greet thee, singing —

Did life-joys like a river
Sweeping by,
In death’s dread moment quiver
O’er thine eye?
And, did thy brave heart dying,
Strive to quell
Thought of that lone one, crying

Did one sweet face, elysian,
Fond and dear,
Seem to thy failing vision
Floating near?
Did eyes that thou wert loving
Passing well,
Look forth to find their roving

Aye! Eyes watch from thy fortress
Keen glances of the portress
Pierce the shade;
And footsteps like the markless
Fleet gazelle,
Come bounding through the darkness —

That eye-beam ne’er shall greet thee
Home again,
Her fleet foot spring to meet thee
O’er the plain;
Yet all the world, admirant,
Owns thy spell,
Oh! Glory’s young aspirant,

We’ve known no sadder story
Yet live — live in thy glory
Let age to age thy stately
Triumphs tell,
Thou’st perished — but how greatly,

By Lucy Virginia French

Title: One or Two?
Authors: Lucy Virginia French, Lide Smith Meriwether
Publisher: Meriwether Bros., 1883
(Google book LINK) pgs. 76-79

From the following book:

Title: Our Debt to the Red Man; The French-Indians in the Development of the United States
Author: Houghton Louise Seymour
Publisher: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009

Page 70 – Limited Preview only on Google Books

From the following book:

Title: The American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, Volume 12
Authors: George Ripley, Charles Anderson Dana
Publisher: D. Appleton, 1883
(Google books LINK page 624)