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go down to Brownville on the Missouri river to the land office to enter some land. I took three big teams and went with them. I loaded my teams with corn and started back. I got to the Sandy, near where Alexandria now stands, where there was quite a little settlement, some six or eight families. To this place the stage coach had come down the day before and brought the news that all the men had been run out of the fields, and one man, who was breaking prairie just one mile above where the town of Oak now stands, was killed. We ranchmen all had men standing guard over the men that were plowing in the fields, so that the Indians could not get the drop on them. That was the reason the men all got out of the fields without any more of them being killed. Well, the people around Sandy were all getting ready to leave the country again and go east to the big settlements. I commenced to talk to them and told them that I was going to stay, and said to them, "Let's go out and give those Indians a good drubbing and then they will let us alone. We can whip all the Indians in the Sioux and Cheyenne nations with the advantage we have in arms." We all had heavy rifles, sixteen shooters, or Spencer rifles, seven shooters.. We counted up and we could raise fifty men and still leave two men at each ranch. I told them that I would furnish grub for the men and feed for the animals. This was on Friday morning. It would take me two days to drive home. Well, they all agreed to come to my place Saturday night so that we could start out on Sunday. On Sunday morning the coach came up and brought me the news that every ranchman and all the settlement at Sandy had left the country except at the stage stations where were a dozen soldiers as a guard. I talked with my hired men, of whom I had four, and told them that if any of them were afraid to stay to say so and I would pay them off. One of them said he would rather not stay, so I paid him off and he went down on the next coach. The other three said they would stay if I did. I wanted my wife and small children and hired girl to go to Beatrice, but my wife would not go and leave me on the Blue. I had to let part of my corn go
without tending, except the one plowing. I had to put a man at each end of the field and one man had to be at the house the most of the time. Whenever we saw an Indian or Indians we mounted our horses and made them bounce. They would always make for a large body of timber about four miles up Liberty creek. They would generally have so much the start that they would make the timber before we could overtake them. We made it hot for three of them one day. We shot the pony from under one of them just before they reached the timber, but he got up behind one of the others and got away before we could get him. If the ground had not been rough for the last quarter of a mile we would have gotten all three of them..
My farm lay between Liberty creek and the Little Blue river. The day before the 4th of July an Indian came down the south side of Liberty creek to a high piece of ground and sat on his pony watching for an hour the boys plowing and the men on guard. On the next day, the 4th of July, an Indian came and sat around on his pony the same as the day before. At the same time sixteen of them crossed Liberty creek on foot, the banks being too steep for their ponies to cross. The field was one-half a mile long and the boys were plowing up and down the creek. The northeast corner of the field ran up on to high ground so that the man on guard at that corner of the field could see all over and across to the other side of the creek. There was a draw about sixty yards from the west of the field and quite straight so that the man who was on guard could look down to the timber. He saw the Indians come out, but at first thought they were wild turkeys as they were crawling in the grass. But to be sure he jumped on his horse and ran down where the boys were just coming out at the end of the field. The Indians had crawled up the draw directly opposite where the boys would come out. When the guard reached the boys he galloped over toward the draw, and the Indians jumped up and began to shoot. By this time the boys had gotten out of the corn, and the man who was riding the plow jumped and ran
around his team, and his second shot killed an Indian, and the rest ran back into the draw and to the timber, keeping down under the bank, making their way toward the ranch. By their motion the boys thought there was another party attacking the house, so as quickly as the boys could unhitch they jumped on their horses and took down through the corn rows. The Indians saw that the boys were going to beat them, so they jumped up from behind the bank and commenced shooting again. The guard was riding a running horse and was about three rods ahead of the others, so the Indians did all their shooting at him. The boys behind said they made the dust fly about three or four feet behind him. They were not like old Davy Crockett. He allowed for the coons crawling, but the Indians did not allow for the horse running.
The buffalo were so plenty on the Little Blue river and between the Little Blue and Platte rivers that it seemed as though the whole face of the earth was covered with them. For four days several big freight trains lay in camp on the divide between the Little Blue and the Platte rivers, not daring to move, being entirely surrounded by buffalo. Had they known the nature of the animal there was not a particle of danger, for when they are in such large bodies they never stampede, as they move together and in one direction.
In the year 1860 I had a contract for putting up hay for the stage company, about four miles from Thirty-two Mile creek station where there was a large bottom of fine grass for hay. All the rest of the country was eaten up and tramped into the earth. There was a small creek that ran into the Blue river right at the upper end of this bottom, and the buffalo were just above this. I was afraid they would come down and tramp the grass into the earth, so I took five men on horses and we worked for four hours and did not move them half a mile, only just crowded them a little closer together. We worked away and cut all that bottom, and the buffalo were all that time within three or four hundred yards of us. A short time after I finished my hay a couple of men came
in from a trapping expedition on some of the creeks that ran into the Republican river, and they told me that they had seen eight head of big, fine horses on a small creek, so I took another man with me and led an extra horse with blankets, feed, and grub and started early in the morning, and when we had gotten one mile from my ranch we ran right into a body of buffalo. We rode on a trot all day, and I am certain that we rode fifty miles and never saw an acre of ground but had from twenty to fifty buffalo on it. We would just make a lane through them not more than fifty yards wide, and it would all be closed up one hundred yards behind us. When night came we went into the timber and camped. The next day we went back over another route but found it just the
In the year 1861 Ed S. Stokes, the man who killed Jim Fisk in New York, came from San Francisco on the stage. He laid over one day at my ranch to take a buffalo hunt. I had a splendid buffalo horse, and I put him on that and I hitched up a couple of pretty good horses to my carriage and we started out. We had to go but two or three miles before we came to a small herd. He wanted to kill the buffalo himself. He had two big dragoon revolvers and I had two more in the carriage and a heavy rifle. He started out after the buffalo, and I let my team go and kept pretty close to him. When he got within one hundred yards of the buffalo he commenced to shoot. I told him to let the horse go up close, but he kept back until he unloaded both his revolvers and came back to the carriage for another. I then told him to go up within twenty feet of the buffalo, but he was still afraid and went up to within about forty feet, and at the seventeenth shot he got him down, and then taking my rifle finished him. I have taken the same horse and a revolver and had three buffalo down before it was empty.
The first cabin built on the Little Blue was at Oak Grove in Nuckolls county. It was built by Majors, Russell & Waddell to leave their lame cattle when they were freighting west.
I am almost positive that my oldest son, James H. Lem
mon, Jr., was the first white child born in the territory of Nebraska. He was born the 20th day of June, 1853, in a tent on the Platte river, not over five miles from where Kearney now stands. I was on my way to California.
There was no settlement in Nebraska at the time I crossed the Missouri river about four miles below where Omaha now stands. Peter A. Sarpy had a little cabin in the bottom under the bluff one mile above where I crossed the river.
THE EARLY ANNALS OF NEBRASKA CITY.
WRITTEN IN 1873, FOR THE OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION OF OTOE COUNTY.
BY J. W. PEARMAN.1
On the 4th of May, 1853, I crossed the Missouri river at Otoe City (Gideon Bennett, ferryman), in company with R. B. Lockwood and Lafayette Duncan; we were then on our way to Plum creek with two wagonloads of groceries, for the purpose of trading with the California and Oregon immigrants on their way to the gold fields of the Pacific slope.
First, we camped on the headwaters of South Table creek,, now owned by our worthy old settler, John Hamilton, where he has a farm. We made our journey to Plum creek, sold our
1Major John W. Pearman, deceased, was a native of Hardin county, Kentucky, born March 16, 1832, son of Hugh and Nancy (Whalen) Pearman. He crossed the Missouri river into Nebraska at Nebraska City, May 10, 1854. He served as county treasurer of Otce county from 1856 to 1862. He enlisted in the 2d Nebraska Cavalry for nine months' service. and was commissioned junior major. After his term of enlistment had expired, he was appointed assistant quartermaster by President Lincoln, and sent to Virginia. After the war he was placed in charge of the quartermaster's stores at Davenport. Iowa. In 1870 he returned to Nebraska City, and engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits. Major Pearman was marrieu February 4, 1856, to Mary A. Swift, of Atchison, Missouri. Eleven children were born to them, nine of whom are living: Anna Nebraska, wife of Edward L. Sayre, Omaha; Mary, wife of C. H. Pringle, Omaha; Fred L.; Horace S.; Prudence, wife of Charles A. Dunham, South Omaha; Hugh C., Deadwood, South Dakota; Guy R.; Margaret; and Katherine, wife of L. M. Davis, South Omaha.