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  Fall 2009 Issue Excerpts


Here's a bit of what you'll find in the Fall 2009 issue.
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A Scandal in Niobrara: The Controversial Career of Rev. Samuel D. Hinman - Anne Beiser Allen

In March 1878, the Rev. Samuel Dutton Hinman, founder and long-time head of the Episcopal Church's mission to the Santee Sioux at Niobrara, was abruptly dismissed from his post by his superior, Bishop William Henry Hare, who accused Hinman of a "cool calculating evil" that included lechery, intoxication and financial chicanery. Hinman denied the charges and eventually filed suit for libel after Bishop Hare published his charges in a booklet distributed among the mission's supporters in Philadelphia and New York.
 
The episode nearly ended Hinman's fifteen-year career as a missionary, government translator, and vocal advocate for the Dakota. Although the court found Hare's accusations unfounded, and Hinman returned to mission work in 1884 under Minnesota's Bishop Henry B. Whipple, Hare continued to insist that Hinman was guilty as charged. On his deathbed in 1909, Hare told his son, "If I had been an older man, I suppose I should have done it differently; but it was my duty, and I am glad I did it!"
 
Was Samuel Hinman a scoundrel, as Bishop Hare believed? Or was he falsely accused by a man who was jealous of his achievements, and who disagreed with him about the direction of the mission's work among the Dakotas?
 
Born in Pennsylvania in 1839, Samuel Hinman was orphaned at a young age and educated by an uncle at an Episcopal academy in Connecticut. Inspired by the reports of missionaries working among Native Americans on the frontier, he enrolled in 1858 as one of the first students at Seabury Theological School in Faribault, Minnesota. As part of his training, Hinman taught Ojibwe children at Andrews Hall, a mission school associated with Seabury. He also became acquainted with Dakota families who came to visit the town's founder, former Indian trader Alexander Faribault, whose mother was Dakota.
 
In June 1860, Minnesota's newly elected Episcopal bishop, Henry B. Whipple, visited the Dakota reservation, a narrow strip of land on the upper reaches of the Minnesota River that the tribe had retained following their 1851 sale of southern Minnesota to the U.S. Several chiefs of the Mdewakanton band met with him, asking him to send them a missionary to set up a school at the Lower Agency. Whipple immediately thought of Hinman.
 
Following his graduation from Seabury in September 1860, Hinman was ordained as a deacon in the church and married Mary Bury, one of the teachers at Andrews Hall. The young couple, with Emily West, another teacher from Andrews, proceeded to the Lower Agency where they founded a mission named for St. John the Evangelist. Hinman built a wood frame mission house where they could live, teach and hold services.
 
The new missionary was determined to learn the Dakota language, so that he would not be dependent on interpreters to help him preach the Gospel. He spent a great deal of time with the men and women who came to his services, even accompanied a group of Dakota on a hunt. As soon as he felt fluent enough, he began to translate services from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer into Dakota, using the writing system created by the Congregationalist missionary Samuel Pond. The mission grew steadily. In January 1861, Hinman wrote his bishop that 150 Dakota had attended his Christmas services. Most of them were children from his school, but by mid-1862, he had converted several Dakota men, including the minor chiefs Taopi and Good Thunder.
 
In the summer of 1862, Hinman's congregation laid the foundations for a stone church. It was still unfinished when the Dakota War broke out in August. The Dakotas--frustrated by the government's tardiness in living up to the commitments made in the 1851 treaty, and its efforts to get them to give up their traditional way of life--attacked white farmsteads, the soldiers at Fort Ridgely, and the town of New Ulm. Warned by one of their converts, the Episcopal missionaries fled to safety at the fort. A hastily recruited army under Col. Henry H. Sibley defeated the Dakota at Wood Lake in October, taking more than 1,800 captives and releasing 269 people who had been held prisoner by the Dakota.
 
Hinman did not abandon his converts. After the Dakotas surrendered, nearly 1,500 of them--mostly women, children and old men--were marched to Fort Snelling, outside the state's capital at St. Paul. They were placed in a camp for the winter, while the warriors were tried in Mankato for war crimes. Hinman spent the winter in the camp. His flock increased significantly in the aftermath of the tribe's defeat, as the disillusioned Dakota sought to distance themselves from those tribal elements whose actions had led to the war.
 
By the middle of March 1863, Hinman's congregation numbered 300, forty-seven of whom were confirmed by Bishop Whipple. Missionaries from the Catholic Church and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions were equally successful. All three missions sent representatives to the prisoners at Davenport, where they also made converts.
 
The state's white community, still in a state of uproar over the atrocities reportedly committed by the Dakota during the war, objected vociferously to the missionaries' efforts. A local newspaper headlined its report of the confirmation of 108 Episcopal Dakota in April "Awful Sacrilege: Holiest Rites of Religion Given to Murderers." One evening, Hinman was attacked by ruffians outside the camp and knocked unconscious by a slingshot.
 
In early May, the 1,318 Dakota who had survived the harsh winter in the camp were loaded onto two steamboats and sent to a new camp at Crow Creek, a desolate stretch of prairie on the Missouri River in Dakota Territory. Hinman (who had been ordained to the priesthood in March) and American Board missionary John Williamson accompanied them.
 
The next two years were a form of purgatory, as the Dakota battled drought, sickness and inferior quality government rations sent overland from St. Paul, Minnesota. Nearly 300, mostly children, died the first year. Outraged, Hinman wrote to Bishop Whipple, "If I were an Indian, I would never lay down the war-club while I lived!" But he judged the prospects for mission work in the region as excellent: he estimated there were 10,000 Indians living on the Great Plains, most of whom spoke a form of Dakota, and added, "This is as central a spot as any . . . we must make the best of it."
 
The entire essay appears in the Fall 2009 issue.
 

 
Locating Callaway - Patricia C. Gaster

Callaway in Custer County experienced one of the hardest-fought town site battles in central Nebraska. The town was founded in 1885 by J. Woods Smith after he learned of a plan for two rail lines to intersect in Custer County along the South Loup River. George B. Mair, newspaperman and postmaster in Callaway during its early years, contributed a brief history of the town to Solomon D. Butcher's Pioneer History of Custer County, Nebraska, published in 1901. Mair recalled:
 
"As Mr. Smith tells it, Callaway was first conceived in the lobby of the Paxton hotel, at Omaha in the fall of 1885. While reading the morning paper, he chanced to come across an item stating that the Omaha and Republican Valley railroad was going to survey a line up the South Loup river the next spring to intersect with another road which was to be surveyed up Wood River valley from Kearney. Mr. Smith went to a map which was hanging on the wall, and at once made up his mind that the point where these two points came together would be an ideal place for a town."
 
The new town was named for Samuel R. Callaway, vice president and general manager of the Union Pacific Railroad, which later acquired both rail lines. Smith was a gifted and widely known promoter and gave interviews to Omaha newspapers whenever he visited that city. The town of Callaway boomed, and became one of the best advertised in Nebraska. By the summer of 1886, according to the Omaha Bee, it had two hundred residents, fifty houses, a hotel, an opera house erected by Smith, and a local newspaper, the Callaway Standard. A railroad was expected soon.
 
However, a dispute arose between the federal government and the UP about the two proposed rail lines into Callaway, and work was suspended before either one reached the community. In 1887 anxious citizens established New Callaway one-half mile west of the previous town site, expecting the arrival of a railroad at this location. The new town offered incentives for businesses to move from the old one, and a second newspaper, the New Callaway Courier, was established there.
 
The entire essay appears in the Fall 2009 issue.
 

 
From Civilian Life to Army Life: Fred Pickering's World War I Narrative - Edited by Jeff Patrick

Though many Nebraskans served in the Great War,we have few war narratives written by them. Fred Pickering was a farmer from Ulysses, Nebraska, who wrote a lively account of army life for the folks back home. His entire narrative, with a biographical introduction by Jeff Patrick, appears in the Fall 2009 issue.


 
My first experience with army life was on the morning of June the 28th, 1918, at 6:45 A.M. Roy Baumgardner, wife, and Gladys Hurt drove down in Roy's Overland to escort me to David City so I could catch a train for Camp Funston, Kansas, my future home. I as usual had been out late the night before so, of course, was a little behind in getting started. As it was I had to bid my mother and father a fare-you-well goodbye without eating breakfast. The roads were awful muddy as it had rained the night before so, of course, it was rather hard to stay in the middle of the road and right side up, but as we had a good driver we landed at our destination in plenty of time. My first stop was at the court house, as you had to go there to report present and ready for duty. In a few minutes we all fell in columns of twos and marched to the depot in regular army style but far from being regular soldiers, as we knew nothing of "Squads right or Left" or anything that goes to make up the life of a real soldier. We arrived at the depot a few minutes before train time so spent it in a fare-you-well conversation. Finally the train came and I was kept busy in shaking hands and bidding my friends goodbye.
 
The first stop was at Lincoln, Nebraska, at 10:45 A.M. I bummed around until noon and then was invited over to the Lincoln Hotel to eat dinner, which went mighty good as I, not eating any breakfast, was somewhat hungry. Along in the afternoon we again entrained and were soon on our way to camp. We were met at Beatrice and other towns by Red Cross and Y.M.C.A. workers, who treated us to sandwiches and pop to our heart's desire. After thanking them we again left and finally arrived at the camp at 2:30 in the morning. We were met by a sgt. who led us to our beds, which was not very much like the ones we were used to at home. The sgt. was kind of a sassy sort of a fellow for after showing us our beds he bellows out, "There are your bunks now get into them and get to sleep as the lights will go out in five minutes." Most of us were tired after spending a sleepless [night] on the train so was glad to lay down most anywhere. Some, of course, weren't ready to go to bed yet as they were feeling pretty good so started to talk and laugh, but back came the sgt. again and after giving them a couple of callings they hit the hay. Getting bossed around in that manner all at once didn't go very good towards some of the boys, but as the thought came to their minds that they were in the army now so must get used to that line of talk, so took it good natured. I was sure passing the time away in a nice peaceful slumber and thought I had only been in bed a few minutes when in came the sgt. again and bellows, "Every body out!" We jumped up to dress in a hurried manner, just like we do back on the old farm when the cattle gets out in the corn about midnight or the horses get to kicking down at the barn. While I was dressing I looked over a couple of bunks from me and there was a big fat fellow still in bed. It was a criminal offence to awake him in his home town but I thought it best. After some shaking I finally woke him, and you sure would of laughed until you were sick to of seen him climb into those clothes. He thanked [me] for getting him up for "He didn't want to get in bad the first morning and also spoke of getting court marshal [sic]." So of course we all joined in a hearty laugh. Well our next move was to breakfast and here again we all joined in another laugh as we were issued our new fanadangle eating utensils including a mess kit, knife, fork, spoon, and cup. Of course we didn't know how to use them but after spilling our eats a few times, we finally got seated at a table.
 
After breakfast we were run through the receiving station or, in other words, it is known to the soldiers as "The Mill." It's where you get the real fast treatment in getting fitted out in army clothes so you will look more like a soldier. Anyway it consisted of a good bath, a strict physical examination, and all other things they see fit to give you. In taking baths the older ones had lots of fun with the recruits for they would play all sorts of tricks on them, such as pour salt in your hair, make you eat soap, turn on the cold water after you had gotten used to the warm, and then probably would finish by giving you a good spanking with a board. These tricks were played more severe on the ones who got a little hot headed or those who didn't believe in war and wouldn't fight for their country. In taking your examination you had to pass about thirty or forty doctors, each one having his particular part to look over and if you pass them all in good standing you were marked o.k. and was Uncle Sam's boy from then on. In getting fitted out in clothing we were first given a so called "barrack bag" and started down the aisle. It was my first experience in getting rigged out from head to foot in such a short time for believe me, they sure drove us down the lane like we drive hogs to the stock yards. They gave you your stuff in the manner of something like this, "What size shirt, socks, pants, underclothes and & [etc.] do you wear?" If we didn't answer them in a second they would grab up the stuff and throw it down the aisle yelling at the same time, "Put one on and the other in the bag." I remember on one occasion when we stopped to get our hats, the fellow behind me hadn't shaved for about three weeks and after he got his hat he looked just like "Buffalo Bill." It sure was comical and I have to laugh; anyway I suppose we all looked like a bunch of wild men just getting in off of the range. We were rushed through so fast that when we came out the real in[?] we were only partly dressed with our shoes unlaced, pants, shirt unbuttoned, and other clothing just barely hanging. To top that off we were dragging our barrack bags behind. It must have been a laughable sight to see us, anyway I was laughing all of the time as it was a real treat to see the others. Well we just got [out] side and we were rushed into large army trucks and hauled to the detention camp, our future home. On arriving there we were divided into different companies. I was placed in Co. 10, 164th Depot Brigade.
 
The entire essay appears in the Fall 2009 issue.

 


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