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Historical Newsletter

September/October 2000


Paul Fees of Cody, Wyoming, will be the featured speaker at the Society's 122nd members' meeting, and will talk about the contrary relationship of Nebraska and Buffalo Bill. He will speak at a luncheon on Saturday, October 28, 2000, in Lincoln. Fees is the senior curator at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

The Society will also present several awards for historical achievement during the meeting. They include the Robert W. Furnas Award for outstanding contributions to the Nebraska State Historical Society; the Nebraska Preservation Awards to recognize significant achievements in historic preservation for "brick and mortar projects" or "individual or group achievements;" the Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history; and the James L. Sellers Memorial Award for the best article published in the preceding volume of Nebraska History.

In addition to the named awards, outgoing Society Trustees Martha Ellen Webb and E. Jane Graff will be recognized for their dedicated service to the Society during two, three-year terms on the board. Election results for new members of the Board of Trustees will be announced at the luncheon. The Society Board of Trustees and the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation Board of Trustees and Directors will also meet on October 28.

Members of the Society, as well as nonmembers, are invited to attend the meeting. Preregistration is required. For further information contact the Society at 402-471-4955.


A permanent fund has been established to support the historical marker program at the Nebraska State Historical Society. Charles W. and Mary C. Martin of Omaha have created the Historical Marker Endowment Fund to make it possible to produce and place new markers at historic sites throughout the state. The fund has been established at the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation. The endowment also provides funds to maintain current markers. The Martins have shared a special interest in Nebraska and Western history. Charles served as a trustee of both the Historical Society and the Foundation. The Martins made their gift through appreciated stock that had grown in value over the years and, if sold, would have resulted in a significant capital gains penalty. By giving the appreciated stock to the NSHS Foundation, the Martins avoided all federal capital gains taxes that would otherwise be due on the sale of the assets. The Martins also received a charitable deduction for the donation of these assets based on their fair market value on the date of the gift.

The Nebraska State Historical Society and the NSHS Foundation were pleased to work with the Martins and their children to create this lasting tribute to two people's love of Nebraska history. We are deeply grateful to Charles and Mary for their generous contribution.

For more information on how this type of gift arrangement or another may be beneficial to you, contact Jac Spahn at the NSHS Foundation, 402-435-3535.


The NSHS Foundation Board of Trustees will host their annual meeting on Saturday, October 28, 2000. The meeting will begin at 10 A.M. at the Nebraska Club in Lincoln. New trustees will be elected and highlights from the year will be presented along with regular Foundation business. Immediately following their meeting, the trustees will join Historical Society members for the annual membership luncheon at the same location.

For more information contact Jac Spahn, NSHS Foundation executive director, 402-435-3535.



This summer the Archeology Division hosted the eight-week University of Nebraska Archeological Field School. Seventeen students were enrolled. The field school was taught by NSHS staff, assisted by UNL teaching assistants Karri Springer and Tamie Sawaged and under the overall direction of Rob Bozell.

The first three weeks were spent in Furnas County conducting excavations sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Roads in conjunction with its highway improvement project, Beaver City East and West. The work, under the direction of Trish Nelson and John Swigart, consisted of extensive testing at two prehistoric flint workshops. About one hundred square meters were excavated. A deep backhoe trench was excavated and examined by geomorphologist Rolfe Mandel. Several paleosols were identified, but none contained significant archeological material. Processing and analysis of the collection will begin this fall.

The remaining five weeks of field school were sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and were spent excavating portions of a cavalry barracks at Fort Robinson. This research was under the direction of Gayle Carlson, Amy Koch, and Terry Steinacher. Investigations focused on the remains of an 1887 enlisted men's adobe barracks. The barracks was constructed and initially occupied by soldiers of the black Ninth U.S. Cavalry ("Buffalo Soldiers"). The Game and Parks Commission intends to reconstruct this barracks for use as an interpretive center, group lodge, and meeting room.

Although insufficient funding was available for a full-scale archeological excavation, a limited testing project was agreed upon. In anticipation of the excavation, an electric resistivity survey of the location was conducted in 1999 by Dr. Terry Steinacher, historic preservation archeologist at Fort Robinson. This survey helped delineate probable stone foundation lines and various other related anomalies and allowed the formulation of a set of research goals, which were pursued during the 2000 fieldwork.

Architecturally related artifacts, useful in reconstruction, were not especially abundant (probably because building materials were reportedly salvaged during the demolition process). Some other artifact types, however, were quite well represented: whiskey and beer bottles, ceramics, ammunition and other military items, and personal possessions, all of which shed some light on the occupational history of the barracks. Processing of the recovered materials and writing of a descriptive report will occupy the next several months.

(image) UNL and NSHS Archeological Field School, Fort Robinson, June 2000.



On Saturday, October 28, celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with the Hispanic Community Center and NSHS. Similar in some ways to Memorial Day, El Dia de los Muertos has been celebrated in Nebraska for many years and involves honoring and remembering loved ones and enjoying friends, family, and traditional foods. From 1 to 4 P.M. the Museum of Nebraska History will feature a guest speaker, crafts, foods, and entertainment relating to El Dia de los Muertos. From 6:30 to 8:00, the celebration continues with a community potluck, music, oral histories, and an El Dia de los Muertos exhibit at the Hispanic Community Center in Lincoln. Everyone is invited to this community celebration. For more information call 471-4757 or 1-800-833-6747.


Quilts from the museum collection will be featured in a new exhibit opening September 11 at the Museum of Nebraska History. Patchwork and Progress will showcase thirteen quilts dating from the 1840s through the 1960s. An additional ten quilts, many of them too fragile to be hung, will be displayed in drawer units. Some of the quilts are completely handmade, while others combine hand and machine sewing. Sewing machines from various time periods will complement the quilts on display.

Grace Snyder's famous Flower Basket Petit Point quilt, completed in 1943 and composed of more than 85,000 pieces, will again be on display. Snyder's quilt was selected as one of the twentieth century's one hundred best quilts at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, last year.

Other quilts featured include a red and green Star and Plume, 1840-50; an all-silk Baby Blocks from about 1844; a Nine Patch (Postage Stamp), 1876-96, featuring American centennial print fabric from 1876; and a Century of Progress quilt shown at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The exhibit continues through December 29, 2000.


The museum store is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary during the week of September 10-16. A special booksigning, featuring Happy As a Big Sunflower: Adventures in the West, 1876-1880, by Rolf Johnson, edited and with an introduction by Richard E. Jensen, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 13, 3-4:30, in Lincoln. Drawings for prizes are planned at each of the museum stores, as well as a free poster with every purchase. The sale will include twenty percent savings on items storewide. Some of the store merchandise is featured in the store catalog (see newsletter insert). Catalog orders placed during the week of the sale will receive the twenty percent discount. Orders placed before or after the anniversary sale will receive the ten percent member discount.

Museum stores celebrating the anniversary are located at the Museum of Nebraska History in Lincoln; the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, Omaha; the Fort Robinson Museum near Crawford; the Chimney Rock National Historic Site near Bayard; Neligh Mill, Neligh; and the Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, McCook. For further information about the stores or hours call 402-471-3447.

Join us for special savings and help to celebrate the work of the Society!


The George W. Norris State Historic Site will be hosting its annual Pre-World War II Quilt Exhibit throughout the month of September. There will be several quilts made by Grace McCance Snyder in the exhibit. Two of her quilts were chosen by the National Quilting Association as among the top one hundred quilts of the twentieth century. The two were Flower Basket Petit Point, belonging to the Nebraska State Historical Society, and Mosaic, belonging to daughter Billie Snyder Thornburg.

Mosaic was quilted by Grace in 1940 after seeing a photo of a similar one quilted by a man in 1939. The quilt contains 58,640 tiny pieces and leaves the viewer with the impression of a stained glass window. Another quilt in the display is a predecessor to the Petit Point, belonging to one of the granddaughters.

Hours at the Norris Site are Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30-12 and 1-5. For special tours call the site supervisor at 308-345-8484.



The State Historic Preservation Office will be undertaking a historic buildings survey of Pierce and Madison counties in the fall of 2000. Meade and Hunt Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, will be accomplishing the survey. It will include a comprehensive survey of historic properties countywide, a statistical analysis of historic properties in Norfolk, and, tentatively, an intensive survey of the historic Meridian Highway through the two counties. For more information call Jill Ebers at 402-471-4773 or Bill Callahan at 402-471-4788.


By Cindy Drake, Library Curator

I hope you have been able to view the episodes of Ancestors Season 2 that have been showing on your local PBS station since June. If you missed them contact your local station for dates and times when they will be shown again. I have not seen all the episodes, but here is a description: #201, Records at Risk; #202, Family Records; #203, Compiled Records; #204, Genealogy and Technology; #205, Vital Records; #206, Religious Records; #207, Cemetery Records; #208, Census Records; #209, Military Records; #210, Newspapers as Records; #211, Probate Records; #212, Immigration Records; and #213, Writing a Family History. For more information check www.kbyu.org/ancestors.

Between visiting exhibit booths at the American Library Association Annual Meeting in July and reading the various reviews that come to my desk via the web every day, I would like to bring to your attention the following books that may be useful in your genealogical research. Only titles with asterisks are available in our library at this time, but you might check for the others at your nearest library (or interlibrary loan), local bookstores, or online book dealers.

Abbreviations and Acronyms: A Guide for Family Historians, by Kip Sperry. MyFamily.com, Inc., 2000.

The Everything Family Tree Book: Finding, Charting, and Preserving Your Family History, by William G. Hartley. Adams Media Corporation, 1998.

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Immigrant and Ethnic Ancestors, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. Betterway: F&W, 2000.

The Genealogist's Virtual Library: Full-Text Books on the World Wide Web, by Thomas Jay Kemp. Scholarly Books, 2000.

Genealogy Online: Millennium Edition, by Elizabeth Powell Crowe. McGraw Hill, 2000.

*Land and Property Research in the United States, by E. Wade Hone. Ancestry, 2000.

*The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 3rd ed., by Val D. Greenwood. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2000.

The Weekend Genealogist: Time-Saving Techniques for Effective Research, by Marcia Yannizzee Melnyk. Betterway: F&W, 2000.

Long-Distance Genealogy, by Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer. Betterway: F&W, 2000.

And for those of you who share my interest in encouraging genealogy with the younger generation:

Me and My Family Tree, by Joan Sweeney. First Dragonfly Books, 2000.

Trina's Family Reunion, by Roz Grace. BMF Press, 1998.

I need some input from the membership regarding the direction of this column. Would you prefer an informal approach about items of genealogical interest (as featured in this issue) or would you prefer a brief article on a genealogical topic (as in previous issues)? Your comments are needed to help me meet your needs. You may contact me at our mailing address or nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org. Thank you.

New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists

We would like to thank the six donors who helped us purchase Meyers Ors-und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs when I asked for donations in the May/June issue. It is available in the German genealogy section in our Reference Room.

Tombstone Readings from Franklin County, Nebraska, Cemeteries: Including Two Webster County, Nebraska, Cemeteries at Campbell, Nebraska, and Information From Newspaper Obituaries and Other Miscellaneous Sources, [compiled by Lynn E. Henning Chase].

Remember Me: A Delzell Family History, the Story of the East Tennessee Delzells, [compiled] by Robert Oster Delzell. (Family in Dawson County.)

My History is America's History: 15 Things You Can Do to Save America's Stories, A Millennium Project of The National Endowment for the Humanities in Partnership with The White House Millennium Council.

History and Genealogy of the Hubbell Family, compiled and edited by Harold B. Hubbell and Donald S. Hubbell. (Families in Douglas, York and Hamilton counties.)

Family Fare: Five Generations of Recipes and Recollections, compiled by Jane L. Becker. (Family in Cuming, Polk, and Lancaster counties.)

Rose Hill Cemetery, Stratton, Hitchcock County, Nebraska, 1880-1999, [compiled by] Burton L. Nagel.

The History of the Sweet Family, [compiled by Frederick L. Sweet]. (Family in Dawes County.)

Our VanPatten Line, by Virginia V. Wahlstrom. (Family in Clay County.)

Ancestors of Carl Service Cleveland III, 1131-1988, compiled and published by Esther J. Schnath. (Families in Cass and Nemaha counties.)

Hovenden Genealogy: Ancestry of J. Robert Schmidt. (Family in York County.)


The following list consists of interesting titles from or about Nebraska we were unable to acquire for our library collection. If you are aware of the availability of copies of these titles please contact Library Curator Cindy S. Drake at 402-471-4786 or e-mail to: nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org. This is an alphabetical listing that continues from the July/August issue.

Map of Madison County, Nebraska, published by the Perkins Map and Directory Co. Fremont, Nebraska. Compliments of First National Bank, Madison, Nebraska. 1927.

Mary, Edgar, and Truman Morsman and Their Ancestors in the United States of America. Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Printing Co., 1932. 50 pp.

Midway City (Kearney) Nebraska Cookbook. Produced in Kearney, Nebraska, 1892. 161 pp.

Midwec Cookbook, Kissin' Wears Out, Cookin Don't! Location: Scottsbluff and Sidney, Nebraska. Midwec Employees, date unknown. 141 pp.

Muskrat Methods, by George W. Wacha, 1st ed., 1980. Sutton, Nebr.: Spearman Publishing and Printing. 75 pp.

Not by the Sword: How the Love of a Cantor and his Family Transformed a Klansman, by Kathryn Watterson. Simon and Schuster, 1995.

The Old Lady of Farnam Street, the Story of the Omaha Building, by Dean Pohlenz. Omaha: Barnhart Press, 1983.

The Famous Old Trusty Incubator and Brooder, Annual Catalogue, manufactured by M. M. Johnson Old Trusty Incubator Co., Clay Center, Nebraska. Manandier Mott Johnson, Seventh Annual Catalog, 1910. 144 pp. (We have 190-, 1912, and 1917.)

Oregon Trail, by Rick Steber. Bonanza Publishing, 1989. 59 pp.

An Orphan for Nebraska, by Charlene Joy Talbot. Atheneum, 1979.

Out of Brainard Kitchens, American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 273, Brainard, Nebraska, 1963. 40 pp.

Parks' Sacred Quartets Number 3 For Female Voices, Imperial Edition. York, Nebr.: The J. A. Parks Company, 1911. (We have several music titles from this company in our collection.)

P.E.O. Frontier Cook Book. Scottsbluff, Nebraska, 1965.

Pictorial Atlas, Buffalo County, Nebraska. Compiled by Title Atlas Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1971.

Pictorial Atlas, Knox County, Nebraska, 1970.

Profitable Fox Trapping, "The Helfrich Professional System," by Jim Helfrich. Sutton, Nebr.: Spearman Publishing and Printing, 1980. 59 pp.

The Queen Incubator Instruction Book, Vintage. McGrew Machine Company, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1920s?

Quilt Blocks from the Kansas City Star, by Nettie McCathron. San Marcos, Calif.: American School of Needlework, 1987.

More Quilt Blocks from the Kansas City Star, by Nettie McCathron. Same publisher, 1988. (Ms. McCathron grew up in Nebraska around Ainsworth and Johnstown, where her family was among the first settlers in Brown and Cherry Counties.)

Ranch Directory, Grant and Hooker Counties, by Nebraska Directory Service, Rushville, Nebraska. 1930s? 16 pp.

Recipes in General, by the Lincoln General Hospital Auxiliary, September 1973, Lincoln, Nebraska. 208 pp.

Retail Price List of the Exeter and Geneva Nurseries for the Fall of 1888 and Spring of 1889. Youngers and Co., proprietors, Geneva, Fillmore County, Nebraska.

Road Map Nebraska, Travel Carefree and Trouble-free with PennField and Paraland Products. Earl Coryell Co., Lincoln, Nebraska, 1937.

School Furniture and Supplies Catalog, Nebraska School Supply House, 1916-17.

Tea Table Catalog, Tea Table Mills, Inc., Lincoln, Nebraska, 1950s?

Thayer County, Nebraska, Auto Directory. 1957.

Theory vs. Practice and Facts of Opportune Spelling Contest. McCook, Nebraska, 1924.

Windy Nebraska Waltz For Piano or Cabinet Organ. Composed by Nellie Miller. Sedalia, Mo.: A. W. Perry and Sons, 1900. (Sheet Music.)

Zion Evangelical Church, Scottsbluff, Nebraska (Cookbook), 1974. 244 pp.


Tales of Buffalo County, Vol. Six (Kearney, Nebr.: Buffalo County Historical Society, 2000). Includes thirty-six short articles originally appearing in the Society's Buffalo Tales, with illustrations and index, paperbound, 151 pp. Cost $12.50 BCHS members/$14 nonmembers, plus $3 shipping (Nebraskans add 5% tax). Order from BCHS, P.O. Box 523, Kearney, NE 68848.


September 3: First Nebraska Volunteers Civil War Band concert. 3 P.M., Heritage Village, Nebraska State Fair, Lincoln. For more information, contact Dr. James Wengert in Omaha, 402-391-3358; or John Schleicher, NSHS, in Lincoln, 402-471-2634.

September 5-30: Exhibit of Native American Art from Red Cloud Heritage Center collection, John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. Reception and talk Sunday, September 10, 2 P.M. For information contact the Neihardt Site at 402-648-3388, or 1-888-777-4667

September 14: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, "The Omaha: From Rulers of the River to the Reservation," by Judith Boughter. Meet at Holiday Inn, Ninth and P streets, Lincoln, 6:30 P.M. Call Margaret Allington, 402-488-5698 for reservations (required).

September 14: Premiere of Sharpie: Born to Fly, a new, thirty-minute documentary by Nebraska ETV about the brief, extraordinary life of Ord aviatrix Evelyn Sharp. A pilot by age seventeen, Sharp became the seventeenth member of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron in 1942. She was killed in April 1944 in the crash of a P-38 fighter. The program airs at 7:30 P.M. CDT/6:30 P.M. MDT on the Nebraska ETV Network. For more information, J. W. Huttig, 402-472-9333, ext. 512, or e-mail jhuttig@unl.ed

September 21: Brown Bag Lecture, "Patents from the Plains: Examples of Nebraska Ingenuity," by Mark Nelson, senior museum curator, NSHS. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

September 21-23: Fur Trade Symposium, Fort Union NHS, Williston, ND, "Indians and Traders: Entrepreneurs of the Upper Missouri." For information, call 1-800-434-0233.

September 28-30: Northern Great Plains History Conference, Mankato, MN. For information: www.und.edu/org/ngphc

October 8: Sunday at the Museum Series, presentation on Germans from Russia, by John Schleicher, NSHS, 2 P.M., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. For information contact the Neihardt Site as above.

October 12: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, "The Omaha Stockyards," by Dr. William Pratt, UNO. Meet as above.

October 19: Brown Bag Lecture, "But What Kind of Work Do the Rest of You Do? Child Labor on Nebraska's Turn-of-the-Century Farms," by Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, professor of history, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

October 26-28, Nebraska Museums Association Annual Meeting, Kearney. Session topics and events (some in conjunction with the Nebraska Travel Conference) include getting travel stories published, stretching your event and promotion budgets, grant writing, getting the most from the internet, museum fundraising, and presentation of awards for outstanding achievement in the museum field. For registration materials contact Deb Arenz at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, 308-385-5316.

In observance of Labor Day the Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed Saturday, September 2, through Monday, September 4. Society headquarters will be closed September 4. The Museum of Nebraska History and all historic sites except Cather and Neihardt will be open regular hours on September 4. Call for holiday hours at the Neihardt Site (402-648-3388) and Cather Site (402-746-2653).

In observance of Columbus Day the Ford Center will be closed Saturday, October 7, through Monday, October 9. Society headquarters will be closed October 9. The Museum of Nebraska History and all historic sites except Cather and Neihardt will be closed October 9. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above.

July/August 2000 Issue

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