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Historical Newsletter
April 1998


Jim McKee, chair of the nominating committee, is seeking suggested candidates for election to the Society Board of Trustees. Candidates must be members of the Society, and must contact McKee by July 3, 1998. Send comments and suggestions to Jim McKee, 3425 Otoe Street, Lincoln NE 68506.


On January 4, 1872, J. Sterling Morton, at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture, presented a resolution that a day in April "be . . . especially set apart and consecrated for tree planting in the state of Nebraska." The resolution was adopted unanimously. In 1874 the Board of Agriculture passed a resolution making the day an annual occurrence.

In 1885 the state legislature designated April 22, Morton's birthday, as Arbor Day and made it a legal holiday. In 1988 the legislature provided that the official observance of the holiday would be the last Friday in April.

In the spring of 1997, Governor Benjamin Nelson established the Arbor Day Q125 Committee to develop activities that would celebrate the 125th anniversary of Arbor Day in 1997, the quasquicentennial year. The activities were to continue into 1998 with accomplishments of goals that were announced in 1997.

State-wide activities include dissemination of a burr oak and a Trees Are Terrific education kit to every Nebraska school. These gifts were made possible by the Omaha World-Herald Foundation in cooperation with the Nebraska Forest Service and the National Arbor Day Foundation. Other activities: conifer plantings along the Nebraska State Capitol north entrance; "Home of Arbor Day" signs to be affixed to "Nebraska the Good Life" signs along Nebraska's geographic borders; and Arbor Day bumper stickers for state vehicles and the public. Local communities around the state held their own Q125 activities. The Nebraska Community Foundation served as the contact for contributions.


Charles E. Hanson, Jr., a founder and longtime director of Chadron's Museum of the Fur Trade, died in Kearney February 4. The eighty-year-old Hanson was born in Holdrege and grew up in Loomis. The Museum of the Fur Trade began in Loomis and moved to Chadron in 1954. Hanson resigned as director in April 1997.

Hanson published several books and many articles on firearms and fur trade topics. His first book, The Northwest Gun, was published by the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1955 and remains an authoritative source on fur trade firearms. He also authored three articles for Nebraska History. "Marking the Grave of Alexander Culbertson" appeared in the June 1951 issue and related Hanson's confirmation of Orleans, Nebraska, as the place where this prominent American Fur Company trader was buried. Culbertson had lived in Orleans with a daughter before his death. "Reconstruction of the Bordeaux Trading Post," site of the Museum of the Fur Trade, appeared in the summer 1972 issue. In 1976 Hanson, with Veronica Sue Walters, wrote "The Early Fur Trade in Northwestern Nebraska," which appeared in the Fall 1976 issue. That essay received the Society's James L. Sellers Award for the best article appearing in the 1976 volume of Nebraska History.



"Pastimes and Playthings," a festival of old toys and games for children, will be held on the grounds of the Thomas P. Kennard House, 1627 H Street, Lincoln, Tuesday, May 5 through Friday, May 15. Hours for the event will be 9 A.M.-12 noon and 1-4:30 P.M., Tuesday through Friday; 1-5 P.M., Saturday and Sunday.

This has been a popular event for school children and serves as a valuable learning tool to teach what life was like in Victorian times. Games and toys will include grace hoops, rolling hoops, cup and ball, tops, potato sack races, thaumatropes, and zoetropes. For tour registration and information call the Kennard House at 402-471-4764.


The 1998 conference theme focuses on critical perspectives, both Neihardt's critical essays and new critical perspectives on some of his works. The conference will feature scholarly presentations by Timothy Anderson, staff writer for the New York Times, who has begun a full-scale literary biography of Neihardt; Dr. Brian Holloway, professor of English at the College of West Virginia, who will focus on the philosophical roots of Neihardt's "Indian" prose and controversies about "cultural voice"; and Lori Utecht, former director of the Neihardt Center, who will explore Neihardt's critical reviews of contemporary books. Also included will be a musical and readings presentation by Hilda Neihardt and Robin Neihardt, a guided tour of the Sacred Hoop Prayer Garden, and a panel discussion with the presenters.

The registration fee is $10 ($15 at the door). Reserve lunch tickets ($5 each) by April 21. The conference day begins at 8:30 A.M. with registration, coffee, and rolls, and will end at 4:30 P.M. For information call Nancy Crump at the Neihardt Center, 402-648-3388, or toll-free at 1-888-777-4667.


A bronze medal certificate won by African American artist Anna Burckhardt (1868-1945) for her hand-painted china at the Jamestown, Virginia, Tercentennial Exposition in 1907 has been loaned to the Jamestown Settlement Museum for inclusion in the Celebrating Jamestown exhibit. The certificate, presented to the Society by her husband, Rev. O. J. Burckhardt, in 1945, was one of many awards Mrs. Burckhardt received during forty-six years as an artist and teacher in Lincoln.

A U.S. Army blouse worn by Earl Wilson Thompson, who enlisted at Beatrice and served as a private in Company C, First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars, has been loaned for exhibit to the Gage County Historical Society.

The exhibits at the new Strategic Air Command Museum near Mahoney State Park will include Cold War civil defense materials and copies of World War II prisoner of war documents from the museum collections.



The Society will host a volunteer appreciation on Wednesday, April 22, at 1:30 P.M., at the newly renovated Governor's Mansion. The mansion is located at 1425 H Street, Lincoln, and should provide a unique and special environment for this event, as well as showing our appreciation to all of our very special volunteers. First Lady Diane Nelson will provide volunteers with insight into the mansion renovation project. Please contact Deb McWilliams at 471-4955 to RSVP.

Volunteers are a vital part of the Society's operations, and they enjoy many benefits: a 20 percent discount on merchandise at the Museum Store; volunteer appreciation events; free parking at downtown Lincoln garages; a bimonthly newsletter; organized bus trips to interesting historical places; and valuable experience in a variety of fields.



We are always on the lookout for Nebraska-made films from the "Silent Era" of American cinema, roughly from its beginnings in the 1890s through the 1920s. While many films were made in Nebraska during this time, their age and chemical instability make the search for surviving examples all the more difficult.

Recently, Craig Lowman of Omaha located a significant survivor, dating from 1918. Mr. Lowman's great-grandfather, William Lowman, ran a Delco farm lighting business from Silver Creek, Nebraska. So successful was William that Delco named him Salesman of the Year for 1918, prompting William to commission Lincoln filmmaker H. F. Chenoweth to document his business. The result was a three-reel, forty-minute silent film detailing the installation and servicing of Delco farm light plants in buildings within a service area that touched five Nebraska counties. William's descendant, Craig Lowman, graciously donated the film to the Nebraska State Historical Society's archives, which is working to preserve it and make it available on videotape.

To learn more about Nebraska's contributions to early American cinema, plan to attend the July 16 "Brown Bag Lecture" at the Museum of Nebraska History, where audiovisual curator Paul Eisloeffel will present "Filmmaking in Nebraska: The Early Years." Scenes from this latest acquisition will be featured. Watch future issues of this newsletter for more details.

A pool hall in Duncan, Nebraska, is one of the Delco-powered structures featured in the 1918 film.

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists

Supplement to the Joy Genealogy, by Helen B. J. Lee. (Family in Gage County).

The Kvam Family and Their Neighbors: Norwegian-American Pioneers in Boone County, Nebraska, 1873, [compiled by Eleanor Kvam MacDowell].

Saline County Roots: Stories and Genealogies From The Crete News, Quasquicentennial Series, 1992-1993, edited by Sandra J. Breitkreutz.

Our Parish, the First One Hundred Years: St. Bonaventure Parish, Columbus, Nebraska, 1877-1977.

The Ancestors and Descendants of John and Frances Walters Auker of Ohio, Indiana, and Nebraska: Surnames Include Auker, Bailey, Brown, Butcher, Cooper, Elliott, O'Kieffe, Shores, Strate, Walters, and Wasmund, [compiled by Lynnet A. Keihl].

Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: 1998 Supplement, Part 1, A Guide to Published Records of More Than 27,795,000 Immigrants Who Came to the New World Between the Sixteenth and the Mid-Twentieth Centuries, edited by P. William Filby and Frank V. Catronova.

Index for a History of Antelope County, Nebraska: (From its First Settlement in 1868 to the Close of the Year 1883), by A. J. Leach. Index compiled by the Neligh Public Library.

The Fullertons, Fullartons, & Fullingtons of North America, [microform]. (Families in Cheyenne, Pawnee, Douglas, and Hitchcock Counties).

Who's Who in Omaha and Douglas County, 1959.

A Williams Family in America . . . , compiled by Alberta D. B. Taylor. (Families in Adams, Nemaha, and Hall Counties).

The Family of Konrad or Conrad Bechtold and His Descendants, compiled by Sally Volz. (Family in Boyd County).

Research Guide to Genealogical Data in Colfax County, Nebraska, compiled by the Nebraska State Genealogical Society.

Virtual Roots: A Guide to Genealogy and Local History on the World Wide Web, by Thomas J. Kemp.

A Guide to County Records on Microfilm, published by the Missouri State Archives.

Along the Way With Benjamin Morris (1757-1808): And his Wife, Sarah of North Carolina, his Forebearers and Descendants from before 1680 to 1996. . . , by Lewis E. Morris. (Families in Dawson, Hall, Jefferson, and Furnas Counties).

Abstract of Wills, Hall County, Nebraska; Book 2, 1 Oct. 1882- 2 Apr. 1898, compiled by Vonna J. Jackson.

Ancestors and Descendants of John Blackburn: A Family Narrative. . .Bicentennial Book, Two-Hundred Years of Blackburn Family History, 1795-1995, [compiled by Josephine B. Knight]. (Family in Franklin County).

Columbus, Nebraska Centennial: May 30-31, June 1-2, 1856-1956, Souvenir Program.

Dixon County: A Picture History, [edited by Norvin Hansen].

Heinrich "Family Favorites" [cookbook], compiled by Karne H. Shea. (Family in Lancaster County).

One Line of the Solomon Leonard Family of Monmouthshire, England: Leyden, Holland, and Plymouth, Duxbury, and Bridgewater, MA. . ., [compiled by Anne W. Cassidy]. (Family in Garfield County).

St. Michael's Parish, Hastings, Nebraska: Our Golden Jubilee, 1945-1995.

Thurston County: A Picture History, published by The Pender Times.

The Wenzel Family: From Germany to Nebraska, Cass and Lancaster Counties and Their Frohlich and Griffin Connections, [compiled by Helen W. Peterson, et. al.]. (Families in Cass and Lancaster Counties).

WANTED: Suggestions for topics to be used in this column or guest columnists. Material should relate to Nebraska genealogical research. Contact Cindy S. Drake at this address. Thank you.

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

Seeking to supplement a limited state budget for purchasing new library titles, we are asking for your help. This month we are devoting a column to high priority titles we wish to purchase for the library with donated funds. The title and author are given, along with the approximate price (including postage). Members are encouraged to donate funds toward the purchase, or they may purchase the titles and donate them to the Library/Archives. Please direct monetary donations to me with a note on your check specifying "L/A Wish List" to alert our accounting staff. Donated titles may also be directed to me with a note.

Women of the Western Frontier in Fact, Fiction, and Film, by Ron Lackmann (McFarland & Co., 1997), $50

Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail, by William W. Slaughter (Deseret Book Co., 1997), $39

A Thousand Honey Creeks Later: My Life in Music From Basie to Motown, by Preston Love (Wesleyan University Press, 1997), $25 (paperback).

Road Ranches Along the Oregon Trail, by Lyn Ryder (Prairie Lark Publications, 1996), $11.45

Nebraska's Fourth Estate, by George Carlson, (The author, 1995), $16.50



The Ford Conservation Center, Omaha, will hold a five-day workshop on the restoration and conservation of three-dimensional and stained glass objects July 26-31, 1998. Primary instructor will be Mary Clerkin Higgins, stained glass conservator from New York City. Also on the program are Dr. Chandra Reedy, University of Delaware, and Julie Reilly and Deborah Long of the Ford Center. The workshop is sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society and funded by a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training of the National Park Service.

Registration/course fee is $250. Two free registrations and scholarships of $1,000 for the workshop are being offered. All applicants are eligible to apply. For information about the workshop, scholarships, lodging, and accommodations contact Lisa Metzger Grotrian, Ford Conservation Center, 1326 South 32nd Street, Omaha NE 68105; tel: 402-595-1180; fax: 402-595-1178.


The new exhibit honoring George W. Beadle, Wahoo's famous son, is now ready for public viewing at the Saunders County Museum. The exhibit, assembled and designed by students from Wahoo Public High School, Bishop Neumann High School, and Mead High School, displays Beadle memorabilia and includes video segments of people who knew Beadle telling their memories of the Nobel Prize winner.

Students worked on the project under the supervision of museum curator Raymond Screws. The project was sponsored through Rural Lancaster County/Saunders County School-To-Work Program. The Beadle exhibit will be a permanent display in the Saunders County Museum.


March 19: Brown Bag Lecture,
"Autobiography of Red Cloud: A Modern Detective Story," by R. Eli Paul, senior research historian, Research and Publications Division, NSHS. 12 noon at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

April 8: State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB).
Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. For information contact Andrea Faling at 402-471-4785.

April 9: Lincoln Corral of Westerners.
Program by Susanne George, University of Nebraska at Kearney, author of Kate M. Cleary, A Literary Biography. Ramada Plaza Hotel, 9th and P Streets, 6:30 P.M. Call Margaret Allington, 402-488-5698, for reservations (required).

April 16: Brown Bag Lecture,
"Crazy Horse," by Tom Buecker, curator, Fort Robinson Museum, NSHS. 12 noon at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

April 8: State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB).
Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. For information contact Andrea Faling at 402-471-4785.

May 21: Brown Bag Lecture, "History of the Nebraska State Education Association," by Craig Christiansen, president, NSEA. 12 Noon, Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

The NSHS Library/Archives and administrative offices will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 12.

The Museum of Nebraska History exhibits will be open April 12.

In observance of Arbor Day, the NSHS Library/Archives and administrative offices will be closed Friday, April 24 through Sunday, April 26. The Museum of Nebraska History exhibits will be open regular hours all three days.

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Last updated 20 March 1998

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