Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

State Societies
Produced by Gary Martens and Connie Snyder.

Part 1:

State Board of Agriculture | State Horticultural Society
State Historical Society

Part 2:

State Medical Society | State Bar Association
State Board of Fish Commissioners | The Nebraska Press Association

Part 2


   Pursuant to a call made by the Omaha Medical Society, a number of delegates from the profession in the various counties of the State met at the rooms of Dr. James H. Peabody, in Omaha, on May 11, 1868, for the purpose of taking some action toward a State organization. After time being taken for due consideration of the objects and needs of such a society, and for the drafting of a constitution, permanent organization was effected at a second meeting, held in Omaha, June 24, 1868, it being determined that such an institution "organized and conducted so as to give frequent, united and emphatic expression to the views and aims of the medical profession in this State must at all times have a beneficial influence and supply more efficient means than have hitherto been available here for cultivating and advancing medical knowledge, for elevating the standard of medical education, for promoting the usefulness, honor and interests of the medical profession, for enlightening and directing public opinion in regard to the duties, responsibilities and the requirements of medical men; for exciting and encouraging emulation and concert of action in the profession, and for facilitating and fostering friendly intercourse between those who are engaged in it."

   The members of the society were, by the constitution, divided into three classes--delegates, members by invitation and permanent members. The annual meetings were set for the first Tuesday in June in each year. Standing committees were established and a code of ethics adopted, this constitution being signed by the following persons as charter members: G. C. Monell, M. D., H. P. Mathewson, M. D., James H. Peabody, M. D., J. C. Denise, M. D., S. D. Mercer, M. D., of Douglas County; R. R. Livingston, M.. D., of Cass County; D. Whitinger, M. D., N. B. Larsh, M. D., of Otoe County, and J. P. Andrews, M. D., and August Roeder, M. D., of Washington County. The convention, having adopted the constitution and by-laws, formally resolved itself into a "State Medical Society" and proceeded to the election of officers, with the following result: President, Gilbert C. Monell; First Vice President, Robert R. Livingston; Second Vice President, Napoleon B. Larsh; Corresponding Secretary, J. C. Denise; Permanent Secretary, S. D. Mercer; Treasurer, Daniel Whitinger.

   The first annual convention was held at Nebraska City, June 1 and 2, 1869, interesting reports being made by the sections on surgery, anatomy and physiology and materia medica. James H. Peabody was elected as President; N. B. Larsh, First Vice President; F. Renner, Second Vice President; D. W. Hershey, Treasurer, no change being made in the Secretaries. At the second anniversary, also at Omaha, June 7 and 8, 1870, changes were again made, placing N. B. Larsh in the chair, John Black and L. H. Robbins, as Vice Presidents, and H. P. Mathewson, as Treasurer, upon this occasion. Resolutions of the highest respect were passed upon the personal and professional character of August Roeder, deceased.

   The third session, held at Lincoln in June, 1871, placed in office: R. R. Livingston, President; A. Bowen and V. H. Coffman, Vice Presidents; George Tilden, Corresponding Secretary. The fourth, at Plattsmouth, June, 1872, promoted A. Bowen to the Presidency, making other changes as follows: William McClelland and L. J. Abbott, Vice Presidents, and V. H. Coffman, Corresponding Secretary. In addition to the usual reports and discussions, an address of some length on "The Medical Profession," was delivered by the retiring President.

   On June 3 and 4, 1873, the society convened for the fifth time at Nebraska City, H. P. Mathewson being chosen as President for the ensuing year; D. W. Hershey and F. G. Fuller, Vice Presidents; R. R Livingston, Corresponding Secretary; James H. Peabody, Treasurer.

   At the sixth session, at Omaha, June 2 and 3, 1874, John Black was elected President; William English and Harvey Link, Vice Presidents; F. G. Fuller, Permanent Secretary. At the seventh anniversary, held at Plattsmouth, June 1 and 2, 1875, the election placed in office L. H. Robbins, President; E. Van Buren and George Tilden, Vice Presidents, and A. Bowen, Treasurer.

   For some reason, the eighth annual session was not held until September 26 and 27,1876, Lincoln being the place of meeting. On this occasion, J. P. Peck was elected President; A. Woolsey and H. D. Gilbert, Vice Presidents, and L. H. Robbins, Treasurer, it being always understood that the offices not mentioned were retained by their former incumbents.

   The ninth session was held at Omaha, the tenth at Fremont and the eleventh at Nebraska City, in June of 1877, 1878 and 1879 respectively. At the first of these meetings, L. J. Abbott was elected President; E. M. Whitten and Harvey Link, Vice Presidents. In 1878, E. M. Whitten was promoted to the Presidency; Alexander Bear and M. W. Stone, chosen Vice Presidents; A. S. v. Mansfelde, Recording Secretary; R. C. Moore, Treasurer. In 1879, Harvey Link was elected President, F. G. Fuller succeeding Alexander Bear, as First Vice President.

   The twelfth regular convention was held at Kearney, on June 1 and 2, 1880. Resolutions of respect were passed upon the deaths of Dr. William E. Donelan and Enos Lowe, both of whom were prominently identified with the early settlement of Nebraska, and also upon that of Dr. D. H. O'Linn, a younger practitioner and one of the finest surgeons in the State. Changes were made by election as follows: President, S. D. Mercer; Vice Presidents, W. M. Knapp and F. B. Reed.

   The thirteenth annual meeting, at Norfolk, June 7 and 8,1881, placed in office M. W. Stone, of Wahoo, President; A. H. Sowers, of Hastings, First Vice President; A. H. Jackson, of Cincinnati, Second Vice President, re-electing A. S. v. Mansfelde, of Ashland, Recording Secretary; R. R. Livingston, of Plattsmouth, Corresponding Secretary, and R. C. Moore, of Omaha, Treasurer, these constituting the board for 1881 and 1882. The society has, from time to time, issued full aid valuable reports of its proceedings, accomplishing, as far as possible, that which it aimed to do upon its institution--elevating the standard of medical education and promoting the usefulness, honor and interests of the medical profession.


   The Nebraska State Bar Association was organized January 6, 1876. The object of the organization is best stated by quoting Article 11 of the constitution:

   The association is established to maintain a high standard of professional integrity among the members of the Nebraska Bar, to cultivate social intercourse and courtesy among them; to encourage a thorough and liberal legal education, and to assist in the improvement of the law and the due administration of justice to all classes of society without distinction.

   The constitution provided for its incorporation under the laws of the State, appointing the President to take the necessary steps in the matter. Its property is exempt from any individual rights. Any member of a county association may become a member, and all Judges of the Supreme, District and Federal Courts of Nebraska are members by virtue of their offices and have all the privileges of membership, except voting.

   Its constitution not only provides for punishment of its members for misconduct toward the association and the administration of justice, but is a vigilance committee to look after and punish in the courts the misconduct of non-members. There are four standing committees, as follows: On Amendment of the Law, Judiciary, Grievances and Legal Education. Upon the first published lists, there are seventy-two members, but the association now numbers about 225.

   S. H. Calhoun, E. Wakeley and C. F. Manderson have successively held the position of President, while D. G. Hull has been Secretary since its organization. Annual addresses have been delivered by J. M. Woolworth, J. M. Love, A. J. Poppleton, E. Wakeley and T. M. Marquette, and Judge Isham Reavis is the orator for 1882. These addresses have been noted for their depth of thought, advanced ideas, brilliancy of diction and eloquence of delivery.


   An act of the Legislature, approved February 24, 1879, created a Board of Fish Commissioners, for the propagation and distribution of fish in the public waters of Nebraska, appointing as members of the board Hon. William L. May, Hon. H. S. Kaley and Dr. R. R. Livingston, and placing $500 per annum at their disposal. This board organized on June 21 of the same year, with W. L. May as President, and H. S. Kaley, as Secretary; communication was at once opened with the fish commissioners of other States and with the United States Commissioners, for the purpose of harvesting from their experiences the best and most economical method of carrying out the intentions of the act, and visits were made, by the members of the board, to various hatcheries in the State and elsewhere.

   Having no means for building a proper hatchery, and with the expectation of receiving 500,000 California salmon eggs, a contract was entered into by the commission, with Romine & Decker, of Sarpy County, whereby that firm was to receive and care for these eggs, delivering the young fry to the board when ready for distribution. As it happened, however, only two-fifths of the number of eggs expected was received, the result being over 190,000 young salmon, subsequently placed in the creeks and the smaller rivers of the State; these, so far as can now be ascertained, have done sufficiently well to prove that the streams of Nebraska are well adapted to their occupancy and growth.

   During the summer of 1880, the commission procured through Prof. Spencer F. Baird, United States Commissioner, an allotment of German carp, 133 of which were safely introduced into the hatchery. Early in 1881, 400,000 California salmon eggs were obtained through the Smithsonian Institute, and somewhat later an additional 1,500 German carp were brought from Washington by Commissioner B. B. Kennedy, successor to Hon. H. S. Kaley, deceased, assisted by Mr. Romine, of Romine & Decker, only five of the fish being lost in transportation; 90 per cent of these salmon were successfully hatched and distributed among the streams of the State, about equally north and south of the Platte River. The German carp, together with those previously procured, have been retained at the hatcheries for breeding purposes, the product to be distributed in due season. Of the carp, the board unite in saying that it is perhaps the best fish for the waters of Nebraska, being able to exist and even thrive in waters too muddy and befouled for any other fish to live in, and being remarkably hardy and prolific, requiring little care or protection.

   In 1881, the Legislature made a special appropriation of $3,800, with which to purchase a suitable site and to erect a hatchery, excavate ponds and build a dwelling-house for the superintendent, an additional appropriation of $3,600 being made for the payment of salaries and the purchase of spawn, fry, and for incidental expenses, the total being very nearly what the board asked for and sufficient to enable it to proceed rapidly and independently in the work which it has begun.


   An organization was effected on December 6,1859, of what is known as the Editors' and Publishers' Association of Nebraska Territory. The first meeting was held at the Herndon House, Omaha, the following persons being present: Thomas Morton and M. W. Reynolds, of the Nebraska City News; R. W. Furnas, of the Brownville Advertiser; T. H. Robertson, of the Omaha Nebraskian; E. Giles, of the Plattsmouth Sentinel; Burbank & Jamison, of the Falls City Broad Axe; E. D. Webster, of the Omaha Republican, and ex-editors H. D. Johnson, J. W. Pattison and S. Belden. On this occasion, M. W. Reynolds was elected President; R. W. Furnas, Vice President; M. H. Clark, Secretary. Among the resolutions adopted at this meeting is one "That a public journal is an impersonality, and should be so treated on all occasions; and that in our intercourse with each other, we will neither use offensive personalities nor encourage them in others; but that we will at all times discourage their use as ungentlemanly and degrading to the profession of journalism"--a resolution, the spirit of which was better observed, possibly, in the early days, than it is at the present time. With the election of George A. Hensdale and Hon. J. Sterling Morton to honorary membership, the meeting adjourned.

   No further record of this association is to be found, and no further reunions held until September 14, 1864, when the members of an "Editorial Convention" assembled at Nebraska City, the object, as expressed in the call, being to adopt uniform rates of advertising. T. H. Robertson, of the Nebraskian, was elected President; W. H. H. Waters, of the Nebraska City Press, Secretary; and a committee to prepare a schedule of prices, appointed, consisting of Sturgis, of the Bellevue Times; Taylor, of the Nebraska Republican, and Giles, of the Cass County Sentinel. The rates, as adopted, secured publishers $2.50 for weekly subscriptions, $1 per month for daily subscriptions, $5 per year for tri-weekly subscriptions. Legal and transient advertisements to be inserted at the rate of $1.50 per square for first insertion, $1 for each subsequent insertion, and the price of all job work advanced 50 per cent.

   In January, 1873, a preliminary meeting of "the Nebraska Press Association" was held at the Capitol Building, in Lincoln, at which Maj. Caffrey officiated as Chairman, and J. A. MacMurphy as Secretary. With the appointment of committees the meeting adjourned until February 27, 1873, on this occasion adopting a constitution and by-laws. As instructive of the changes that have taken place so rapidly in Nebraska journalism, a list of those attending the February meeting is appended. William Caffrey, Brownville Advertiser; C. H. Gere, State Journal; F. M. MacDonagh, Nebraska Watchman (Plattsmouth); F. Renner, Staats Zeitung (Nebraska City); W. H. H. Waters, Nebraska City Chronicle; Charles Little, Saline County Post; F. H. La Munyon, North Platte Enterprise; W. A. Brown, Nebraska City Press; John A. MacMurphy, Nebraska Herald; C. C. Rawlins and P. E. Beardsley, Lincoln Leader; J. M. Van Arman, representing State Journal; E. Rosewater, Omaha Bee; St. A. D. Balcombe, Omaha Republican; George A. Randall, Lincoln Statesman; T. Coleman, Beatrice Express; W. C. Cloyd, Seward Atlas; E. W. Deere, Saunders County Republican; C. F. Bayha, Dakota City Mail; B. M. Brake, correspondent Omaha Herald; L. E, Cropsey, correspondent Inter Ocean and Omaha Republican. Honorary members, Silas A. Strickland, W. A. Gwyer, R. W. Furnas.

   No meeting was held in 1874. The next meeting of the Association being in the Senate Chamber, at Lincoln, January 24, 1875. C. H. Gere in the chair. An election of officers was held, resulting in Web. Eaton assuming the Presidency; T. Wolfe, the Vice Presidency; and John A. MacMurphy, the Secretaryship, In August, 1875, the Association took an excursion to Atchison, Topeka, Kansas City, St. Joseph and Omaha. In his report for this year, Secretary MacMurphy makes a few remarks, which, as showing the character of the men and the work of the press generally, are here incorporated.

   "This was our first excursion out of the State. It was a very pleasant one. We think the editorial fraternity and the State are better for it. We became acquainted with each other, and made many lasting personal friendships, which do much to soften the asperities of future newspaper battles. We are proud of our young editors of the West. They are a fine body of men, noticeably young men. We found many of them college-bred men. We found more honest, hard-working, regular-bred printers, who have worked their way up from the case, who saved their earnings, and soberly and manfully have set themselves to work on their own account, and each and every day their education will become deeper and truer, and more lenient, we hope. There is no business more honored, or of more value to the human race. May they all strive to place the Newspaper on a higher and a broader plane, giving it its true place, as a great moral engine, for the elevation of their kind, and the teaching of true theories of civilization."

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   "May we all pull together for our common welfare, until the newspaper owner is not considered a mere packhorse for the aspiring politician, the grasping office-holder, or the grudging speculator and man of money to ride to power, plunder, fame or wealth upon.

   "Nor yet should the patriot and statesman be willing to mount to honor and fame over our broad shoulders and willing hearts, while we are left to do the fighting at home, bearing the cursing, heading the quarrels and getting ready for another battle--all without money and price, adequate to our support or equivalent to the brains, labor and time expended. In proportion to our employment, we are harder worked and poorer paid than any class of men in the United States, Methodist itinerants excepted, and they fare about as well considering they seldom have any cash capital at stake, while we often have. These things should not be."

   The Association from this time on increased in membership and importance, taking up and discussing at different times, all of the bearings of the foreign advertising business, so that much better rates were secured by those prepared to follow the suggestions made.

   In 1877, the Association, as such, visited Salt Lake, publishing "on the wing" aboard of the cars, a little paper called the Quill-Driver, it being the second paper ever printed under the same circumstances, so far as known. The parting editorial is as follows:

   "We have had a 2,000 mile journey, threaded the wonderful cañons, climbed the lofty crags, slid down the gloomy mining shafts, angled in the sparkling brooks, viewed the little salt sea, plucked the bright flowers, tasted the sulphur springs, been drenched with the mountain rain, snowballed one another, danced in Zion, been preached at by a snowy-bearded prophet, tete-a-teted with Tom Thumb, Brigham Young, Frank Leslie, and the copper-colored Shoshone; and now for the beautiful green prairies of Nebraska."

   At this time, J. C. McBride was President, and J. A. MacMurphy Secretary. The different views of so large a body of men on the Mormon question produced quite a discussion upon their return to editorial work, and influenced public opinion in Nebraska to no small extent.

   The election of officers for 1878 resulted in the choice of J. A. MacMurphy, President; A. L. Wigton, Vice President; Fred. Nye, Secretary; Thomas Wolfe, Treasurer.

   In July of that year an excursion to the Wisconsin lakes was indulged in, by way of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. The participants, in the words of the report, "coming home happy, hopeful, hearty and sober, with the same empty pockets with which we started, and hearing the 'devil' yelling for copy."

   In 1879, the officers were: Thomas Wolfe, President; A. D. Williams, Vice President; H. M. Wells, Secretary; J. C. McBride, Treasurer. An excursion was taken to St. Louis during the summer.

   In 1880, Charles H. Gere was President; M. A. Brown, Vice President; H. M. Wells, Secretary; G. B. Moore, Treasurer. In 1881, the offices were filled in the same order as above, by M. A. Brown, E. M. Correll, A. E. Cody and George B. Moore. In May of this year, the excursionists visited Chicago.

   At the regular annual meeting, held at Lincoln February 22 and 23, 1882, Hon. E. M. Correll, of the Hebron Journal and Woman's Journal, was elected President; A. L. Wigton, of the Hastings Gazette, Vice President; O. M. Druse, of the Nebraska Farmer, Secretary; G. B. Moore, of the Nemaha Granger, Treasurer; M. A. Brown, of the Beatrice Express, Orator; J. A. MacMurphy, of the Nebraska Herald, Poet.

   The Association is prosperous and growing in power and influence yearly. Its membership is representative of all sections of the State, and its tendency the creation of personal good will and harmony.

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