Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Nebraska as a Territory
Produced by Ted and Carole Miller.

Part 1:

Traders and Missionaries | The Mormon Exodus | The Gold Hunters
Nebraska as Seen in 1856 | Erection of Nebraska

Part 2:

Text of the Organic Act | Organization of the Territory
Arrival and Death of Gov. Burt

Part 3:

Acting Governor Cuming | Location of the Capital
The Machinery in Motion | The First Legislature

Part 4:

Election of Delegate | Mr. Clark's Prophecy | Gov. M. W. Izard
First Formal Census | The Second Legislature | First School Report
The Third Session | Attempted Removal of the Capital
Repeal of the Criminal Code | The Fourth Session

Part 5:

The Florence Secession | The Fifth Session
The Death of Secretary Cuming | Gov. S. W. Black | The Sixth Session

Part 6:

Attempt to Create a State | Gov. Alvin Saunders
The Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Sessions
The Enabling Act

Part 7:
Constitution of 1866 | Senator Gere's Sketch
Part 8:

Vote on the Constitution | President Johnson's Veto
Formal Admission of the State | The State Legislature
Official Roster of the Territory | Judiciary

Part 4


   On the 23d of November, a proclamation was issued ordering a general election for delegate to Congress and legislators. The election was held December 12. On the 20th of that month, another proclamation was sent out, convening the first Territorial Legislature at Omaha, on the 16th of January, 1855.

   In the early documents, "Bellevue" was frequently spelled "Belleview."

   The first election held in the Territory took place, as already stated, on the 12th of December, 1854. The vote for delegate to Congress was as follows:

                        |Napoleon| Hadley|  Bird  |Joseph|  Abner   |    
    DISTRICTS.          |    B.  |   D.  |    B.  |Dyson.|    W.    |Giddings.
                        |Gidding.|Johnson|Chapman.|      |Hollister.|        
Douglas County          |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Omaha City Precinct.  |  . . . |   198 |     5  | . . .| . . . . .|     6 
--Belleview Precinct.   |     66 | . . . |     2  |   20 | . . . . .| . . . . 
Cass County             |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Kanosha Precinct.     |     39 |     2 |    12  |    2 | . . . . .| . . . . 
--Mastin's Precinct.    |     72 |     1 |     1  |    1 | . . . . .| . . . . 
Richardson County.      |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Level's.              |     24 | . . . |     4  | . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
--Bobst Precinct.       |  . . . | . . . |    10  | . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
Burt County.            |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Tekamah.              |  . . . |    24 |    12  | . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
--Blackbird Precinct.   |  . . . |    21 | . . . .| . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
Pierce County.          |        |       |        |      |          |         
-Nebraska City Precinct.|    132 |     7 |    49  | . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
Forney County           |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Brownsville Precinct  |     28 | . . . |    14  | . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
Dodge County            |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Fontenelle Precinct.  |  . . . | . . . | . . . .| . . .|      14  | . . . . 
Washington County       |        |       |        |      |          |         
--Florence County.      |     16 |    13 |     5  | . . .| . . . . .| . . . . 
       Total . . . . . .|    377 |   266 |   114  |   23 |      14  |     6   

   A special election was held at Nebraska City, December 21, 1854, necessitated by a tie vote between Charles H. Cowles and Hiram P. Downs, for Councilman. The result of this election was Cowles, 73; Downs, 70.

   The entire official roster of counties, showing the number of commissions issued by Acting Gov. Cuming up to January 1, 1855, is appended:

   Richardson County--Christian Bobst, Judge of Probate; John M. Purket, Justice of the Peace; Robert T. Archer, Sheriff; Robert Turner, Constable; Neil J. Sharp, Clerk; J. W. Roberts, Lieutenant Colonel Second Regiment Nebraska Volunteers.

   Forney County--Albert J. Benedict, Judge of Probate; John Fitzgerald, Justice of the Peace; Thomas B. Edwards, Sheriff; Henry W. Lake, Clerk; Stephen H. Sloan, Constable.

   Pierce County--Miles W. Brown, Judge of Probate; W. W. Herst, Justice of the Peace; Thomas Donahoo, Sheriff; Alanby Lemmon, Constable; Kennett McLennan, Clerk; John B. Boulware, appointed Colonel of the Second Regiment, but resigned.

   Cass County--Abraham Towner, Judge of Probate; William Davis, Clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Sheriff; Levi S. Todd, Justice of the Peace; Martin Keplinger, Constable; M. Mickelwait, Major Second Regiment.

   Washington County--Thomas J. Allen, Sheriff; George W. Neville, Clerk; Stephen Cass, Judge of Probate.

   Burt County--John Glover, Judge of Probate; E. P. Stout, Clerk: Timothy O. Hall, Sheriff.

   Dodge County--Christian Siecer, William Kline (officers not stated in the official register).

   Thus, with the close of 1854, the year of her birth, the Territory of Nebraska was formally set in operation as a political entity in the great sisterhood of States and Territories.


   On the 16th of February, the Council Committee on Corporations, M. H. Clark, Chairman, reported favorably relative to the chartering of the "Platte Valley & Pacific Railroad Company," a line proposed by some one of the Missouri River towns in Nebraska along the valley of the great stream toward the West (pp. 65, 68, Council 1855, journal).

   The report expressed firm belief in the practicability of the project, cited many cogent arguments, and concluded as follows: "In view of the comparative small cost, to the wonderful changes that will result, your committee cannot believe the period remote when this work will be accomplished; and, with liberal encouragement to capital, which your committee are disposed to grant, it is their belief that before fifteen years have transpired, the route to India will be opened and the way across the continent will be the common way of the world." Before the year had passed in which those words were spoken, their author was dead; but, from the records of the past, an impartial hand rescues from oblivion the prophecy of M. H. Clark, of Dodge County.

   The proceedings of this session were varied by frequent presentations of resolutions censuring the Executive for some act or acts not clearly set forth by those who protested. This factious, if not factitious, opposition was carried to the verge of abolishing the Council as then composed. In the face of plausible speeches and congratulatory messages, those who had real or imagined grounds for complaint introduced a wordy preamble and high-sounding resolution into the Council, declaring that, as they, the members, were chosen on a basis of representation largely false, the whole Council should send in their resignations and permit a new body to be chosen after a formal census could be taken. This measure did not prevail. It need scarcely be said that the members did not resign; that Acting Gov. Cuming was not officially censured, and that the alleged peace and harmony in which the Territory was given local existence continued to all intents and purposes.


   February 20, it was announced to the Assembly that the successor to Gov. Burt had arrived and entered upon the discharge of his duties. A committee from the House, consisting of Messrs. Latham, Poppleton and Johnson, waited the new Governor, Hon. Mark W. Izard, of Arkansas, originally appointed United States Marshal, and welcomed him in behalf of that body. Both Houses then assembled in the Council Chamber, when Acting Gov. Cuming formally presented the new Executive to the Legislature. Gov. Izard responded in a brief speech (pp. 78, 79, Council Journal, 1855).

   Gov. Izard took the oath of office February 23, and delivered his first formal message February 27 (pp. 98, 99, Council Journal, 1855).

   The Legislature adopted the criminal code of Iowa, with necessary verbal alterations, as the code of the Territory.

   Delegate Gidding was instructed to use his influence in securing the passage of a homestead law for Nebraska similar to that of New Mexico and Oregon.

   During the session, the local machinery of government was provided for, county offices created and the nature and emoluments thereof fixed; the offices of Territorial Auditor, Treasurer and Librarian fixed and many minor matters attended to.

   Educational affairs received early recognition. The Simpson University, at Omaha; the Nebraska University, at Fontenelle and the Nebraska City Collegiate and Preparatory Institute were incorporated at this first session. The efforts of the Omaha men were crowned with success, in the matter of the seat of government. The firm fixed fact of possession, anchored by whatsoever means it may have been, withstood the rude shocks of opposing factions. Gov. Izard appointed James C. Mitchell sole commissioner to locate the capitol building. On the 17th of March 1855, Commissioner Mitchell reported to the Governor that he had, that day, selected the center of Capitol Square, in Omaha City, as the site for the edifice.

   The Territory contained many hundreds of would-be settlers, who were temporarily debarred from becoming legal citizens, and at the same time owners of the lands of their choice, because at that period the public domain was not fully in market. The survey was begun and prosecuted as speedily as possible, but not rapidly enough to afford means of gratifying the ambition of emigrants or the greed of speculators. Those men who were determined to remain and abide their time were known as "squatters," and so numerous was this element that legislation in its behalf was enacted, as a protection against the abhorred class called "claim jumpers," or men who were disposed to violate the unwritten law of the Territory. As in all new countries, where expressed laws exist did not either or were inadequate to insure equity and peace, the citizens founded clubs, and, through the action of those informal but efficient organizations, order was maintained. As this subject is fully detailed in the chapters on county settlement, it need be here stated merely that the Legislature, in 1855, by act approved March 6, passed a law relative to the claims of squatters, by which it was provided that each claimant might hold 320 acres, when a member of a club which was duly governed by established rules, a copy of which was filed with the Register of the county. The clubs were vested with legislative power for their neighborhood. The constitutionality of this act was not permitted to be discussed. The clubs were a government unto and for themselves, as many a wretched man was able to testify, after daring their wrath. From the decision of these autocratic courts there was no appeal.

   Among the noteworthy legislation of this first body was the granting of charters to so-called "town site" companies. The fever of speculation was here swaying the people in the highest degree, and numerous instances of the "creation" of towns on paper, like the "Eden" so graphically described by the pen of Charles Dickens, are to be seen in the legislative journals of the early years.

   The second election for Delegate to Congress to succeed Delegate Gidding, whose term expired March 8, 1855, was held, together with the Territorial election, November 6, 1855. Hon. Bird B. Chapman received 380 votes; H. P. Bennett, 292; scattering, 18; total vote, 690.


   The first formal census of the Territory was taken in 1855, in order that a re-adjustment of legislative representatives might be made. The reports from the existing counties showed:

Burt ................................   85
Cass ................................  712
Dakota ..............................   86
Dodge ...............................  139
Douglas .............................1,028
Nemaha ..............................  604
Otoe ................................1,188
Pawnee ..............................  142
Richardson ..........................  299
Washington ..........................  207
Total ...............................4,491

   Pierce County ceased to exist. The one now bearing that name dates from 1859. Dakota County was not accredited in the legislative proceedings with a representative.


   The second session of the Assembly convened at Omaha December 18, 1855. The changes in the Council were: John Evans, Dodge County, vice M. H. Clark, deceased; A, A. Bradford, Otoe County (newly created county); and S. M. Kirkpatrick, Cass County, vice Luke Nuckolls.

   The Council officers were: B. R. Folsom, President; E. G. McNeely, Chief Clerk; M. B. Case, Assistant Clerk; C. W. Pierce, Sergeant-at-Arms.

   The House roster was: A. D. Kirk, Richardson County; W. H. Hoover, Richardson and Nemaha jointly; Charles McDonald, Richardson and Pawnee jointly. The census gave Pawnee County a population of 142, and this, it was claimed by some, entitled it to representation. After considerable debate, Thomas R. Hare was accorded a seat; but he resigned, January 11, after it became apparent that his presence might invalidate the acts of the body, since the bill creating the Territory stipulated that the House should be composed of only twenty-six members. The remainder of the body was: W. A. Finney, L. A. Chambers, Nemaha County; James H. Decker, M. W. Riden, J. Sterling Morton, William B. Hail, J. C. Campbell, John Boulware, Otoe County; A. M. Rose, Otoe and Cass jointly; John F. Buck, William Laird, J. McF. Hagood, Cass County; George L. Miller, William Larimer, Jr., Levi Harsh, W. E. Moore, Alexander Davis, Leavitt L. Bowen, Alonzo F. Salisbury, William Clancy, Douglas County; P. C. Sullivan, Washington County; William B. Beek, Washington and Burt jointly; and Thomas Gibson, Dodge County.

   The organization of the House was perfected by the election of the following officers: P. C. Sullivan, Speaker; H. C. Anderson, Chief Clerk; I. L. Gibbs, Assistant Clerk; A. S. Bishop, Sergeant-at-Arms; E. B. Chinn, Doorkeeper.

   The Auditor's fast report was submitted, and from it is taken the first statement of the valuation of property, real and personal, in the Territory. The newer counties were not included:

Douglas .............................. $311,116 00
0toe ................................... 85,701 00
Nemaha ................................. 74,980 00
Cass ................................... 71,524 00
Richardson ............................. 26,643 00
Washington ............................. 20,397 00
Dodge .................................. 14,455 00
Burt ................................... 13,006 00
Total ................................ $617,822 00

   From Gov. Izard's second message submitted in December, 1855, it is learned that the foundation of the capitol building, at Omaha, was then completed, and that Surveyor General John Calhoun was rapidly accomplishing the governmental survey of the Territory.

   The formation of counties was a problem exciting no slight interest in the early Assemblies. The original and arbitrarily designed tracts were but temporary divisions; and speculators, as well as ambitious politicians, were deeply concerned in the arrangement of the subsequent line. Hon. A. D. Jones, of Douglas, a member of the Second Assembly, introduced a bill providing that counties in the then uninhabited regions should be organized with boundaries of twenty-four miles square, without reference to the Platte or other streams. The bill was successful. To the counties described, Mr. Jones gave the names of prominent men, using discretion in the matter of an equal distribution between the leading political parties. This division gave to Nebraska one of the most evenly arranged maps in the Union; but since that time the interest of settlers on the greater streams, affected by the serious inconvenience of fording or crossing them, have caused several changes in boundaries.

   During 1856, the Territorial road, from Omaha to Fort Kearney, was surveyed under superintendence of Capt. Dickinson, United States topographical engineer, and a portion of the bridges put under contract. The appropriation of $50,000 was fully expended on the capitol building. It was estimated that $50,000 more would be required to complete the work.

   The Auditor's report showed the value of property, real and personal, for 1856, to be:

Douglas County ...................... $1,296,160 50
Dodge County ............................ 20,784 50
Nemaha County .......................... 167,158 00
Cass County ............................. 76,374 00

   No returns were received from Otoe, Richardson, Washington, Burt, Dakota and Pawnee Counties for 1856.


   The so-called first report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction was made under date of January 5, 1857, by H. Anderson. The report covers two pages of the journal (p. 27, Journal, 1857), and is but a statement of what should be done, rather than what had been performed, in pursuance of an act entitled "Common Schools," approved January 26, 1856, which act is the origin of the public school system of the State.


   The third annual session of the Territorial Legislature began January 5, 1857. The Council was composed of the following members: Douglas County, A. F. Salisbury, George L. Miller, S. E. Rogers; L. L. Bowen for the Northern District; Southern District of Douglas, and Washington, Burt and Coming Counties jointly, James A. Allen; Otoe County, A. A. Bradford, Mills S. Reeves; Cass County, S. M. Kirkpatrick; Nemaha County, R. W. Furnas; Washington County, William Clancy; Richardson and Pawnee Counties, Charles McDonald; Dodge, Cass, Otoe, jointly, Jacob Safford; Dakota, A. W. Puett. The officers were: L. L. Bowen, President; O. F. Lake, Chief Clerk; T. H. Robertson, Assistant Clerk; Samuel A. Lewis, Sergeant-at-Arms; Patrick McDonough, Doorkeeper.

   The House was organized by the election of I. L. Gibbs, Speaker; J. H. Brown, Chief Clerk; S. M. Curran, Assistant Clerk; P. Lacomb, Sergeant-at-Arms; J. Campbell, Doorkeeper. The members were: Richardson and Pawnee, A, F. Cromwell, N. J. Sharp; Nemaha, W. A. Finney, I. C. Lawrence, S. A. Chambers; Otoe, H. P. Downs, I. D. White, H. C. Cowles, J. C. Ellis, I. L. Gibbs, W. B. Hail; Cass, W. M. Slaughter, H. C. Wolph, Broad Cole: Cass, Lancaster and Clay, jointly, J. A. Cardwell; Douglas, Southern District, S. A. Strickland, Joseph Dyson, C. T. Holloway, John Finney; Douglas, Northern District, W. E. Moore, H. Johnson, J. Steinberger, M. Murphy, R. Kimball, Jonas Seely, A. J. Hanscom, George Armstrong; Dodge and Platte, Silas E. Seeley; Washington, J. A. Stewart, William Connor, E. P. Stout; Burt, G. M. Chilcott.

   The second year of Nebraska's existence was one of great prosperity, heightened by contrast with the border ruffianism of her twin sister, Kansas. In fact, the prosperity was fictitious in an excessive degree. As indicative of the inflated condition of affairs, produced by speculation, the following quotation from Gov. Izard's annual message of 1857 is worthy of a place in this record: "We can boast of a population of more than 15,000 intelligent, orderly and energetic citizens [the census of 1856 shows 10,716 population.--ED.], who may challenge comparison with those of any State or Territory in the Union, of flourishing towns and prosperous cities, with their handsome church edifices, well regulated schools and busy streets; of our broad and beautiful prairies, being thickly dotted with comfortable farm-houses and well-cultivated fields, yielding their rich treasures to the hand of peaceful industry. The appreciation of property has far exceeded the expectations of the most sanguine. Business lots upon streets where the wild grass still flourishes are readily commanding from $500 to $3,000 each; lands adjacent to our more prosperons towns sell readily at from $50 to $400 per acre; credit is almost unknown in our business circles; no citizen oppressed for debt nor crippled in his energies by the hand of penury or want; but all, encouraged by the success of the past, look forward to the future with eager hopes and bright anticipations."

   When fictitious values are made the subject of official congratulation, it is time to "look forward to" a period of corresponding depression. But the reaction in "prosperity" born of unsound ideas was destined to be postponed yet many months. The infection was deep-seated, and only heroic treatment could eradicate the poisonous germ The Governor observed that the "good times" prevailed at a moment when bankruptcy stared the East full in the face, and boastfully asked: "In contemplating what we have already done, and the circumstances under which it has been accomplished, I am led to inquire what we may not expect in the future." These pages are able to reply to that.


   In January, 1857, the antagonism to Omaha assumed a most aggressive character, and an attempt was made to remove the capital of the Territory from that city. On the 6th, Jacob Safford, Councilman from the Counties of Dodge, Cass and Otoe jointly, introduced a resolution calling for a select committee of three to "consider the expediency of removing the capital." Mr. Safford, as Chairman of that committee, reported, on the 8th, in substance, that the selection of Omaha by Acting Gov. Cuming had not been impartial; that at that time but one place (Bellevue) was worthy of the name "village;" that, had Gov. Burt lived, the site of Bellevue would undobtedly have been chosen; that the rapid growth of population called for the designation of a point farther west; and that public policy suggested the wisdom of choosing another and more permanent location before the expenditure incident to the erection of additional public buildings had been incurred.

   This report was favorably entertained, and the bill passed both Houses. On the 19th of January, Gov. Izard returned the bill unsigned, accompanied by a message describing the views which led up to the veto opinion. He said that, so far as he knew, the question of a removal had not been considered by any county in the Territory, or the measure made one of public action by popular vote; that, geographically, Omaha was, and would continue to be, central and convenient for years to come; that a costly edifice had been erected at Omaha, and policy dictated its use as a Territorial building; that the bill named the selection of "Douglas, in Lancaster County," as the proposed site of the capital; that the city of Douglas existed only in the brains of ambitious fortune-hunters and on neatly-printed paper; that there was even a fight within a fight, and that two rival factions had severally planned a town of "Douglas," neither of which really existed, and either of which would, if designated, involve the projectors in litigation from the other "Douglas" "citizens;" that numerous legal reasons were apparent in justification of his course; and, on the whole, that the move was one of shrewd practice by sundry opponents of Omaha. Hence, the veto. The Legislature postponed a reconsideration of the bill, from week to week, until it could be quietly dropped. And so ended the first attempt to locate the capital in Lancaster County.


   On page 137 of the session laws of the Territory appears "An act to repeal certain acts of the Territorial Assembly of Nebraska, passed at the first session of the said Territorial Assembly," and by its provisions the act adopting certain parts of the criminal code of Iowa, approved March 16, 1855, and an act relative to criminal laws, approved March 15, 1855, were accordingly repealed, thus leaving the new Territory without a criminal code. The extraordinary piece of legislation was introduced by Allen A. Bradford, Council Bill, No. 69, January 22, 1857. The bill was passed through both Houses, but was vetoed by Gov. Izard. It was again considered and passed over the veto; in the Council by a vote of 12 to 1, Dr. George L. Miller, of Omaha, alone opposing it, and, in the House, by a vote of 24 to 2, H. Johnson and W. E. Moore, of Douglas County, being the opponents thereto. As the result of this act was one of the causes cited by Gov. Richardson as necessitating a called session, after the secession of a majority of the Legislature, in the capital fight, described farther on, it is well to refer to the subject here. From the beginning of the second year of the Territory, the Executive called attention to the evils produced by hasty and undignified legislation. The bodies of "grave and reverend seigniors," which should have been objects of respect and confidence, were neither grave nor reverend in all their proceedings, and too frequently personal or sectional ends were obtained at the expense of public dignity and welfare. Perhaps this was no more the case in Nebraska than in most new Territories, where shrewd men congregated on business or political prosperity intent; but the fact of a general shortcoming cannot be pleaded in extenuation of deeds which were not for the people's good. While it can be truthfully said that no subsequent Legislative Assemblies in this State have surpassed the first three or four in intellectual character and parliamentary proficiency, and that the men first seeking Nebraska, in official or would-be official capacities, were among the brightest known to her annals, still the fact remains incontrovertible that the early days of the Territory were not always adorned with the wise and orderly proceedings which men in their later days love to scan. As in the callow days of youth, "wild oats" are sown without heed of the harvest, and with the passive approval of older heads, so in the history of such phenomenal States as Nebraska do we find a parallel seed-time; and, if the antics of whilom legislators or jurists sometimes "return to plague the inventors," they should possess souls with patience and endure the affliction, conscious of the inexorable laws of nature--" as ye sow, so shall ye reap."

   The repeal of the criminal code of 1855 is an illustration in point. It appears that a man was charged with causing the death of a follow-man near Nebraska City. The trouble between these persons grew out of a disputed land claim. It is alleged that the Councilman most active in pushing the repeal of the code was engaged as counsel for the defendant. The repeal of the code was resorted to, it is intimated to the writer, as an heroic treatment of a desperate case. But the counsel for the people effected the arrest of the alleged homicide, and, in spite of the repeal, secured his conviction and sentence to the full limit of the law--ten years' confinement. The case was subsequently taken to the Supreme Court, which held that the prisoner must be discharged, because of the defect in the laws of the Territory. Civil suit was brought by the persevering counsel, in the name of the heirs of the deceased against certain parties alleged to be responsible; and this suit was also dismissed, on the ground of the repeal of the civil code! (See Nebraska Reports, p. 419.) The criminal and civil codes had been repealed. As incidental to this case of dangerous legislation, it may be here stated that the able jurist, now one of the leading Judges of Nebraska, followed the question, without personal reward, through the tedious processes of "the law's delay," until he finally achieved his end, and secured for the wife of the deceased the property about which the difficulty first arose.

   It is not the purpose of this chapter to cite this case in the full bearing upon the abstract question of personal equity, or to enter into a discussion of its merits; but to merely refer to the recorded fact of the repeal of the criminal and civil codes of a Territory, as one of the most remarkable events in the annals thereof. Whatever may have been the causes leading up to the act, it admits of no justification when viewed as a perilous expedient; and this view was taken of the case by the administration both at the time and afterward. The Territory, which esteemed the adoption of a code so necessary that almost immediate action was taken thereon by the opening session, and a special session called to accomplish it at a later date, was without a code, either criminal or civil, for several months.

   Nor was this an exceptional case in the history of the Territorial sessions. On one occasion, probably to consume the full period of time allowed by the Organic Act for a session, to secure full payment, or perhaps to interfere with and defeat objectionable legislation, a member gravely proposed and advocated the erection of a substantial wall or fence across the west side of the Territory, to serve as a wind-break! Numerous instances are related of the introduction of absurd and extravagant bills, which were argued with the most ludicrous earnestness by the brilliant but waggish members. The official journal contains record of the serious consideration of a point of order, raised by one jealous Assemblyman disputing the right of another member to drink whisky from a bottle during the session and while in his seat. This vital question received the most careful consideration, and the ruling was sustained that such procedure was out of order, but that smoking was permissible. In fact, we cannot help observing that the members never failed to perceive a humorous possibility and improve it to the fullest.

   The era of prosperity so vauntingly spoken of by Gov. Izard was heralded by an influx of "bankers" during the year 1855. The law required the establishment of this business on charters obtained from the Legislature, and that accommodating body was apparently in no wise loth to accord every facility in its power to the furtherance of these golden (?) schemes. Eight charters were granted during the sessions up to 1857. The integrity and financial ability of the men receiving these privileges alone protected the public from imposition. Great latitude was accorded the originators. A few of the parties then engaged have withstood the shocks of time and adverse fortune, but others have shown their structures to have been built upon the quick-sands of speculation. The Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Company, with banking powers, and the Bank of Nebraska were located at Omaha; the Bank of Florence at the aspiring city of Florence: the Fontenelle Bank at Bellevue; the Platte Valley Bank at Nebraska City; the Bank of De Sota at De Sota, and the Bank of Tekama at Tekama.


   The fourth session began December 8, 1857, with no change in the roll of Council members from the foregoing session. Hon. George L. Miller, of Omaha, was elected President; Washburn Safford, Chief Clerk; S. H. Elbert, Assistant Clerk; George A. Graves, Enrolling and Engrossing Clerk; John Reck, Sergeant-at-Arms; Jacob R. Cromwell, Doorkeeper.

   The House chose Hon. J. H. Decker, of Otoe, Speaker; S. M. Curran, Chief Clerk; R. A. Howard, Assistant Clerk; Albert Mathias, Sergeant at Arms, and Isaac Fisher, Doorkeeper.

   The roll of the House showed: Richardson and Pawnee, A. F. Cromwell, Wingate King; Nemaha and Johnson, A. J. Benedict, J. S. Minick, S. A. Chambers; Otoe, J. Sterling Morton, J. C. Campbell, J. G. Abbey, D. B. Robb, W. B. Hail, J. H. Decker; Cass, E. A. Donelan, T. M. Marquette, L. Sheldon; Sarpy, S. A. Strickland, C. T. Hollaway, James Davidson, Amos Gates; Douglas, George Armstrong, J. Steinberger, George Clayes, J. S. Stewart, M. Murphy, A. J. Poppleton, W. R. Thrall, J. W. Paddock; Washington, J. A. Stewart, P. C. Sullivan, P. G. Cooper; Burt and Cuming, William B. Beck; Dakota and Cedar, W. G. Crawford, E. C. Jones; Dodge and Platte, J. M. Taggart.

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