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Historical Newsletter

September/October 2002


The Nebraska Department of Roads sponsored investigations at the former territorial period townsite of Rockport, located along the Missouri River a few miles north of Omaha. Like many river towns, Rockport was initially platted in the mid 1850s and was evidently abandoned by the 1870s. Very little archival or published historical information exists about life in Rockport, and no buildings remain. A proposed Washington County road widening will impact a small portion of the townsite, which required the archeological investigations. Artifacts were recovered from a cellar as well as trash from deposits and included glass, nails, tools, firearms, ceramics, animal bone, brick and other materials. Evidence of a prehistoric Native American campsite dating to the period A.D. 1000-1400 was also discovered. The site is also the general location of Manuel Lisa's trading post (1813-23). The present investigations failed to produce any evidence of the important fur trade site, and its exact location remains a mystery. Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln assisted society archeologists in the project.

Emergency archeological explorations were also conducted at the Woodcliff site south of Fremont. Three human burials were uncovered during Saunders County road construction, and county officials immediately halted earthmoving and notified Society archeologists. The three burials appear to date to the mid-eighteenth century and likely are associated with an Oto Indian village reported to be in the general area during that time. These remains will be returned to the Oto-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma. A somewhat earlier occupation was also discovered at Woodcliff during these investigations. Storage and refuse pits were found and excavated that relate to a previously unknown Pawnee community that was probably established in the late 1600s or very early 1700s. Laboratory work and report writing on these projects will continue for at least a year.


Nebraska State Historical Society members are invited to contribute stories and photographs of Nebraska aviators to a collection being assembled by aviation historians Rob Hurst and Diane R. Bartels to commemorate the centennial, in 2003, of the Wright Brothers' first flight.

The project, one of several supported by the Nebraska Centennial of Flight, also will help preserve Nebraska's rich aviation heritage. The stories of aviators who have made contributions to Nebraska aviation history will become part of the Nebraska State Historical Society archives.
Society members who wish to contribute to the project are asked to include three copies of each of the following:

Submissions should be sent by October 30 to Diane R. Bartels, 1801 Mindoro Dr., Lincoln, NE 68506. For more information write Bartels at that address, call 402- 489-3059, or e-mail dbsharpie@aol.com.



Due to the airconditioning system failure at the Museum of Nebraska History, the 4-H exhibit had to be cancelled. Look for an on-line feature with 4-H history coming soon to our website.

Still Making the Best Better: 100 Years of 4-H in Nebraska, a new exhibit exploring the development of 4-H in the state and its continued importance in the lives of many Nebraska families, will open October 1 at the Museum of Nebraska History. Hundreds of artifacts and photographs from NSHS collections and from the collections of former and current 4-H members, are showcased in this exhibit and include projects completed as early as the 1930s, stories and artifacts from Nebraska participants in 4-H international exchange programs, and photographs and memories of 4-H members past and present. The exhibit is scheduled to run through the end of 2003. For more information, contact Deb Arenz at 402-471-4759.


The Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History is facing a docent drought-not enough docents to give guided tours to the more than eleven thousand students who visit the museum each year. Only about half the school groups visiting the museum receive guided tours, but most want them. What once was a river of docents, many of them retired teachers, has dried up so the Historical Society is looking for help. To prepare new docents, the museum will host a docent orientation event, Tuesday, October 22, 9-11, at the Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, and docent training sessions November through February.

"We can currently accommodate only half of the requests for guided tours, and so we hope to double our docent team," said Jessica Stoner, NSHS museum educator.

No previous knowledge or training is required to become a docent because both Nebraska history and communication strategies are covered in docent training. Desirable characteristics for docents include a willingness to learn and communicate stories of Nebraska history using historical objects and biographies, and ingenuity in working with groups of various ages, interests, and abilities. Benefits include flexible scheduling, behind-the-scenes experiences, working with kids, and the chance to learn in-depth history. To apply or nominate someone to join the Museum of Nebraska History's docent program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Deb McWilliams, 402-471-4955.


This fall when the weather finally gets cooler in Nebraska, plan on taking a trip to some of our historic sites located throughout the state. Remember that if you are a member of the Nebraska State Historical Society, you and your immediate family receive free admission to any of the following sites:

Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Learn about ten thousand years of Nebraska's history.

Thomas P. Kennard House, 1627 H St., Lincoln. See the oldest Victorian home still standing in Lincoln.

Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 S. Thirty-second St., Omaha. Discover the fascinating work being done to conserve our region's heritage and view the exhibits on Gerald R. Ford, the only U.S. president born in Nebraska.

John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Elm and Washington Streets, Bancroft. See the study where John G. Neihardt, Nebraska's poet laureate and author of Black Elk Speaks, wrote many of his great works.

Neligh Mill State Historic Site, N St. at Wylie Drive, Neligh. Tour a mill with its original 1880s equipment intact.

Willa Cather State Historic Site, 326 N. Webster Street, Red Cloud. Visit the home of Willa Cather, Nebraska's Pulitzer Prize-winning author, in the town where she spent her formative years.

Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, 706 Norris Avenue, McCook. Tour the home of George Norris, the father of the Rural Electrification Act, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Nebraska's unicameral legislature.

Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Chimney Rock Road, Bayard. View the most famous landmark on the Oregon-California Trail.

Fort Robinson Museum, 3200 West Highway 20, Crawford. Experience seventy-five years of military history, from Crazy Horse to the K-9 Corps.

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

Backenstoss-Baggenstoss Family History, compiled by the family; edited by Elwood B. Backensto. (Family in Cass and Douglas counties.)

The Lawrence Carroll Family . . . by Mary Johnson and Doris Dilbone. (Family in Frontier and Lincoln counties.)

The Beason Family, by Arline Beason-Pickham and Charles W. Peckham. (Ghumm, Beason, Horner, and Collins Families in Nemaha, Otoe, and Cass counties.)

A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, by Brian Mitchell. 2nd ed., 2002.

Alba Brown Mortuary Records, 1921-1965, compiled by Ron Kroon and Cynthia Monroe, published by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society, 2001. (Mortuary in Lincoln)

The Life Story of Squire Winfield Masters: Including Family Genealogy Charts and Trees, written and compiled by Dale D. Masters. (Family in Washington, Cuming and Brown counties.)

From Boshevik Russia to America: A Mennonite Family Story, by Henry D. Remple; foreword by Paul Toews. (Mennonite Families of Repel and Pep in York County.)

The Descendants and Ancestors of Samuel Waddington, by Rodney M. Sherard. (Waddington and Sherard Family in Hall County.)

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

If you are aware of the availability of these titles please contact Library Curator Cindy S. Drake at 402-471-4786 or e-mail to nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org.

The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America, by James Wilson. Atlantic Monthly, 1999. ISBN 0871137305.

Ecology, Sociopolitical Organization and Cultural Change on the Southern Plains: A Critical Treatise in the Sociocultural Anthropology of Native North America, by Michael G. Davis. Kirksville, Mo.: Thomas Jefferson University Press/University Press of America, 1996.

Encyclopedia of Native American Shamanism, by William S. Lyon. ABC-CLIO, 1999. ISBN 0874369339.

European-Native American Warfare, 1675-1815, by Armstrong Starkey. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. ISBN 080613075X.

Farmers for the Future, by Dan Looker. Iowa State University Press, 1995. ISBN 081382838.

Farmers Without Farms: Agricultural Tenancy in Nineteenth-Century Iowa. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978.

Fifty Western Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Source Book, edited by Fred Erisman and Richard W. Etulain. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982.

For Courageous Fighting and Confident Dying: Union Chaplains in the Civil War. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998.

Formal Education in an American Indian Community: Peer Society and the Failure of Minority Education, by Murray L. Wax, Rosalie H. Wax, and Robert V. Dumont, Jr. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, Inc., 1989. ISBN 0881334472.

Fort Totten: Military Post and Indian School, 1867-1959, edited by Larry Remele. Bismarck: State Historical Society of North Dakota, 1986.

Fred E. Miller: Photographer of the Crows, by Nancy F. O'Connor. University of Montana, School of Fine Arts, 1985. ISBN 0961502908.

From Quill to Computer: The Story of American [Journalism], by Robert F. Krolevitz. Mission Hill, S. Dak.: Dakota Homestead Publishers, date unknown.

From the Heart: Voices of the American Indian, edited by Lee Miller. Knopf, 1995. ISBN 0679435492.

From the Other Side: Women, Gender, and Immigrant Life in the U.S., 1820-1990. Indiana University Press, 1994. ISBN 0253325293.

Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Vol. 3: The Arctic, Subarctic, Plateau, and Great Plains.Gale Research, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0787610887.

Gear Up!: Flight Clothing and Equipment of USAAF Airmen in WWII, by Joe A. Maguire. Schiffer Publishing, Limited, 1995. ISBN 0887407447.

Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor, by Brigham D. Madsen. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990.

Goodnight, Nebraska, by Tom McNeal. Random, 1998. ISBN 067945733X.

The Great Raid on Cabanatuan: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor, by William B. Breuer. John Wiley and Sons, 1994. ISBN 0471037427.

Harold Lloyd, A Bio-Bibliography, by Annette M. D'Agostino. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. ISBN 0313289867.

Holdener Site: Late Woodland, Emergent Mississippian, and Mississippian Occupations in the American Bottom Uplands, by Warren L. Littry and et. al. University of Illinois Press, 1994. ISBN 025206416X.

"I Go With Custer: The Life and Death of Reporter Mark Kellogg," by Warren "Sandy" Barnard. Bismarck, N. Dak.: Bismarck Tribune, 1996.

In A Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival, by Paula Mitchell Marks. Morrow, 1998. ISBN 0688141439.

In Their Own Words: Warriors and Pioneers, collected and edited by T. J. Stiles. Berkley Publishing Group, 1996. ISBN 0399519882.

Independence Rock, The Great Record of the Desert, by Robert Spurrier Ellison. Casper, WY: Natrona County Historical Society, 1995.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: An Aspect of New Deal Indian Policy, by Robert Fay Schrader. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983.

Index to Volunteer Soldiers in Indian Wars and Disturbances 1815-1858, transcribed by Virgil D. White. Waynesboro, Tenn.: The National Historical Publishing Co., 1994. ISBN 094509924X.

Inheriting the Land, by Mark Vinz and Thom Tammaro. University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Interpreting the Indian, Twentieth-Century Poets and the Native American, by Michael Castro. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983.

Inventing America: Spanish Historiography and the Formation of Eurocentrism, by Jose Rabasa. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994. ISBN 080612539X.

Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends, by Allen Barra. Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc., 1999. ISBN 0786706856.

It Was Like This, by Byron R. Russell. Sioux Falls, S. Dak.: Center for Western Studies, 1987. ISBN 0931170338.

Journey to Zion: Voices From the Mormon Trail, by Carol Cornwall Madsen. Deseret Book Company, 1997. ISBN 1573452440.

Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood, by Gary Cross. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999. ISBN 067450335X.

Landscapes of the New West: Gender and Geography in Contemporary Women's Writing, by Krista Comer. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. ISBN 0807848131.

Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West, by Timothy P. Egan. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1999. ISBN 067978182X.

Learning From Things: Method and Theory of Material Culture Studies, edited by W. David Kingery. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995. ISBN 1560986077.

Legacy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personal History, by Linda Spence. Swallow Press, 1997. ISBN 080401003X.

Letters From the Front: Boys Town on the Battlefield, from Pearl Harbor to the Persian Gulf, by Terry L. Hyland and Hugh J. Reilly. Omaha, Nebr.: Boys Town Press, 1995.

Lewis and Clark: A Photographic Journey, by Bill and Jan Moeller. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1999. ISBN 0878424059.

Lincoln Highway: Wyoming, by Gregory M. Franzwa. Tucson, Ariz.: The Patrice Press, 1999. ISBN 188039720X.

The Management of Information From Archives, by Michael Cook. Gower Press, 1999. ISBN 0566079933. (We have the 1985 ed.).

The Many Hands of My Relations: French and Indians on the Lower Missouri, by Tanis C. Thorne. University of Missouri Press, 1996. ISBN 082621083X.

Massacre: The Custer Cover-Up, by W. Kent King. Segundo, Calif.: Upton and Sons, 1989. (Vol. 3 in Custer Trails Series)

Minnesota Ethnic Food Book, by Anne R. Kaplan, Marjorie A. Hoover, and Willard B. Moore. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1986.

The Mississippian Emergence, edited by Bruce D. Smith. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990. ISBN 0874748445H.

My Best for the Kingdom: History and Autobiography of John Lowe Butler, A Mormon Frontiersman, by William G. Hartley. Salt Lake City: Aspen Books, 1993.

My Midwest: Rural Writings from the Heartland, edited by Philip Martin. Shorewood, Wis.: Midwest Traditions, 1998. ISBN 188395326X.

My Tale of Two Worlds, by Lement Harris. New York: International Publishers, 1987.

Mythology of the Wichita, by George A. Dorsey. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995. ISBN 0806127783.

Nathan Boone and the American Frontier, by R. Douglas Hurt. University of Missouri Press, 1998. ISBN 0826211593.

Native American Art at Philbrook. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press in cooperation with Philbrook Art Center, 1982.

Native American Myths and Legends, edited by Colin F. Taylor. Smithmark, 1994. ISBN 083176290X.

Native Americans: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Peoples. ABC-CLIO, 1998. ISBN 0874358357.

Native Americans in the Saturday Evening Post, by Peter G. Beidler and Marion F. Egge. Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Scarecrow Press, 1999. ISBN 0810836750.

A New Life, Danish Emigration to North America as Described by the Emigrants Themselves in Letters, 1842-1946, by Niels Peter Stilling and Anne Lisbeth Olsen. Aalborg, Denmark: Danes Worldwide Archives, 1994.

The North American Indian Portfolios From the Library of Congress: Bodmer, Catlin, McKenney and Hall. Abbeville Press, Inc., 1996. ISBN 1558596011.

Notable Kin, Volume 2, by Gary Boyd Roberts. Santa Clarita, Calif.: Carl Boyer, 1999.

Indian on horseback logo


The Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Stores invite you to shop with us during our seventeenth anniversary sale during the week of September 15-21!

Members and volunteers will receive a 25 percent discount during the week. Stop in or give us a call to learn more about our educational and unique merchandise that will engage your mind and bring back memories.

A few back-to-school ideas from the Museum Store

Nebraska's Best Trivia Game. This fun and educational game contains 1,500 questions about the state of Nebraska.

A Historical Album of Nebraska. This children's book takes a fascinating look at Nebraska's past, from Native Americans to European exploration and settlement, through early statehood to the present day.

A One-Room School. The experience of going to a one-room school is described in this book. The rules, regulations, routines, and activities are presented in an easy-to-understand format.

Schoolyard Games. This book is a good resource for the study of schoolyard games in early pioneer days.

Small Slates and Slate Pencils. Writing instruments from a bygone era.

Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Store
1-800-833-6747 or 402-471-3447


The forty-sixth annual Missouri Valley History Conference will be held March 6-8, 2003, in Omaha. Proposals for papers and sessions in all areas of history are welcome. Send a one-page abstracts(s) and brief vita(e) by October 15, 2002, to Prof. Thomas Buchanan, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182. Those wishing to have their proposals acknowledged should include a stamped, self-addressed postcard. E-mail for information only, mvhc@unomaha.edu.

The Center for Great Plains Studies presents the twenty-seventh annual interdisciplinary symposium, "Religion on the Plains," March 27-29, 2003, in Lincoln. Keynote speaker will be Professor Martin Marty, professor emeritus, University of Chicago. Interested paper contributors should submit proposals or abstracts of 150-200 words with a title, cover letter, and brief resume by September 13, 2002, to Dr. Robert Haller and Dr. Hugh Whitt, co-chairs, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q St., P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln 68588-0214. Contributors selected will be notified by October 15. Telephone: 402-472-3082; fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail: cgps@unl.edu; website: www.unl.edu/plains/events/


September 2-28: Pre-World War II Quilt Display, Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, 706 Norris Avenue, McCook; Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30-12 and 1-5. For questions or special tours contact Linda Hein, curator, at 308-345-8484.

September 8: Sunday at the Museum Series, Native American dance troupe Many Moccasins. 2 P.M., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. For information contact the Neihardt Site at 1-888-777-4667.

September 17: Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Mouth of the Platte chapter, "The Journals and Me," by Dr. Gary Moulton. For meeting place check www.mouthoftheplatte.org. Information and reservations (required) at mouthoftheplatte@aol.com or 402-331-7241.

September 19: Brown Bag Lecture, "Gathering and Cooking Wild Plants of the Great Plains," by Kay Young, naturalist (retired), Pioneers Park Nature Center, Lincoln. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

October 13: Sunday at the Museum Series, photographer/artist Molly Romero exhibit and presentation on photography as an art. 2 P.M. For information contact the Neihardt Site as above.

October 15: Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, "Voyagers of Discovery: Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark," by Dr. Carl Camp. Meet as above.

October 17: Brown Bag Lecture, "Where's the Beef?" by John Carter, senior research associate, NSHS Publications Division. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

In observance of Labor Day, headquarters offices and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed Monday, September 2. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites operated by the NSHS will be open. Call for holiday hours at the Cather Site (402-746-2653) and the Neihardt Site (402-648-3388).

In observance of Columbus Day, headquarters offices, the Ford Center, the Museum of Nebraska History, and the Historic Sites operated by the NSHS will be closed Monday, October 14. For holiday hours at Cather and Neihardt call as above.

July/August 2002

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Last updated 9 October 2002

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