A FULL ACCOUNT OF ITS GROWTH FROM AN UNINHABITED TERRITORY
TO A WEALTHY AND IMPORTANT STATE;
OF ITS EARLY SETTLEMENTS; ITS RAPID INCREASE IN POPULATION,
AND THE MARVELLOUS DEVELOPMENT OF ITS GREAT NATURAL RESOURCES. ALSO AN EXTENDED DESCRIPTION OF ITS
COUNTIES, CITIES, TOWN AND VILLAGES,
THEIR ADVANTAGES, INDUSTRIES, MANUFACTURES AND COMMERCE; BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, PORTRAITS OF PROMINENT MEN AND EARLY SETTLERS; VIEWS OF RESIDENCES AND BUSINESS BLOCKS, CITIES AND TOWNS.
THE WESTERN HISTORICAL COMPANY,
A. T. ANDREAS, Proprietor.
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Last updated: December 15, 1999
HISTORY, as written now, comprises something more than that of times not far remote. The definition of the word, according to the acknowledged authorities, quite imperfectly defines the scope of an American history of to-day.
History is defined as: "(1)--An account of facts, particularly of the facts respecting Nations or States; (2)--Narration--verbal relation of facts or events; (3)--Knowledge of facts or events; (4)--An account of things that exist; (5)--An account of the origin, life, and action of an individual person."
With the widespread dissemination of intelligence; the marvelous increase in printed records of transpiring events in newspapers and periodical publications; the quick development and growth of States, within the memory of the oldest settlers, history has come to mean more than the lexicographers define. It has come to be more than the weaving of traditions into a pleasing story, with no living witnesses to question or dispute its truth; it has now the additional zest which comes from compiling a record of events so nearly contemporaneous as to be subject to the hot and merciless criticism of the still living survivors, whose lives make the page. Such history is largely supplied in the biographies of those who have lived or still live in the commonwealth historically described. Carlyle and Macaulay, two of the ablest historical writers in the English tongue, have, in similar phrase, said: "True history is biography; without a history of persons, there could be no history of things or events."
We have undertaken, for the first time in the annals of literature, to cover the entire domain of history, and to publish a history of a Commonwealth, embracing its full scope as to time and detail, beginning in remote tradition, and tracing through recorded history the course of events, and the lives of persons even down to the present time, where they become so surrounded and intermingled with the lives of persons still living as to be valuable only as a faithful chronicle of the times and the recorded testimony of "living witnesses," subject as they are to all the inaccuracies coming from imperfect remembrance, prejudice, and a thousand other frailties and weaknesses of human nature.
The History of Nebraska, as now published, would have been heretofore deemed impossible. Never before has a work of like magnitude been undertaken and performed. It combines the labor of more than a single life, and has required the investment of more capital than was ever before risked in a single literary enterprise of its kind in this country.
It is not to be expected that a work of such magnitude can be published so free from errors as to be above or beyond just criticism. If just, it will take cognizance of the vast amount of conscientious labor bestowed upon the work, while pointing out such errors, if any there be, as have unavoidably crept into it, despite the care given to its preparation. Such criticism would detract nothing from its merits, and on its merits alone it is confidently given to the citizens of Nebraska, as the most elaborate and perfect history of a State ever written.
The work of writing the county sketches has been assigned to many different writers, all under specific instructions to search for the truth and to record nothing as fact on the uncorroborated testimony of any one man. Their copy, after being put in print, has in all instances been sent to some prominent citizens of the county for revision. The biographies have all been submitted to the persons most interested in their accuracy, and the responsibility for any errors appearing in them, from a neglect on the part of those to whom they were sent, to revise and return the same, can in no wise rest with the publishers.
The General History of the State has been compiled with great care, by competent writers, having access to the archives and records of the State, many of those engaged on the work being residents of unquestioned professional reputation and ability. It contains much concerning the early History, never before published, and is of itself an exhaustive history of the State. Supplemented with the County histories and the Biographies, and making due allowance for errors, typographical and otherwise, unavoidable in a work of such magnitude, we present the History of Nebraska, with a full consciousness of having fulfilled to the utmost the promises made in our Prospectus, and with the hope that the citizens of the State will accord to us the meed of approval which our immense labor, great risk, and honest endeavor would seem to merit.