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of the original boundary lines of the military reserve. This was of special interest to me, for around it is clustered the recollections of my first experience in government surveying in 1869 when I assisted in the original survey of the boundary lines of the reserve.
The interest in the "locus" of the old flagstaff has been increased by reason of the disputes and contests before the department at Washington and in the courts over the conditions of the survey of the reserve into sections in 1897, one of the points of the dispute being the "locus" of the flagstaff, which it was claimed was not found by the surveyor.
The whole matter in dispute was of such importance that the government was induced to send a special examiner of surveys to investigate, who spent considerable time in his search. From verbal statements of the examiner, Mr. N. B. Sweitzer, corroborated by eye witnesses, I am satisfied the original site of the staff in 1869 was found by Mr. Sweitzer.
In the middle of a field I found a marble monument, 6 inches square and extending about 8 inches above ground, erected by Mr. Sweitzer to mark the site of the flagstaff. There was no inscription on top, and I did not see any on the sides, although I did not clear away the grass for a close examination.
To obtain further information I wrote to Mr. Sweitzer requesting particular data. On the 10th inst. I received from him an answer to my request, which I make a part of this report and mark as exhibit A.
The parade ground was part of a magnificent field of corn, the owner claiming a yield of fifty bushels per acre.
During the latter part of November I visited Wauneta, Chase county, and was informed that the last great battle fought by the Pawnee and Sioux Indians took place in a canyon tributary to Frenchman creek in Hayes county. Wherever the battle was fought I suggest that its location be authentically settled and commemorated. Also the battle fought between the United States forces under command of General Harney and the Sioux Indians on the Blue Water,
more generally known as the battle of Ash Hollow in Keith county.
I also suggest the proper marking of the grave of Black Bird, chief of the Omaha Indians, which I am informed has been definitely located.
With members of the committee there has been discussed the matter of marking the intersection of the Overland trails, military roads, and the old Mormon trail, with the section lines, and in a few instances the matter has been discussed with the residents of counties through which the trails passed, with the object of obtaining the cooperation of the people of the several counties in the way of looking up the old landmarks and bearing a large portion of the expense of placing suitable markers at convenient and important locations along the different lines of travel.
Niobrara, Nebraska, January 13, 1905.
MY DEAR HARVEY-I received your letter of the 10th inst. last night.
In regard to the old flagstaff, it is so long ago and I have been on so many other pieces of work so similar that I have nearly forgotten the details in regard to it.
The "locus" of the old flagstaff was the origin of the adjacent surveys, and hence important. The position of mile post No. 1 was plain, and hence the south boundary could be started from that, but in all of these cases the origin is very important.
I ran several lines from the exterior, focusing on this origin, and they gave me locations which of course were comparatively near to where the corner should be. I then asked for information from all the old people who had seen the flagstaff in its old position. Mr. Murray, an old friend and soldier of General Carr's and father, showed me very close to where he remembered it to have stood, but was somewhat misled by the position of the old gravel walk. Mrs. Murray's
memory in regard to its position was a great help to me. I then commenced digging, beginning with my exterior locations and converging on the center. After several days' effort I finally found the hole from which the flagstaff had been taken, which could be plainly seen by the disturbed condition of the earth. Upon digging down six or seven feet and finding considerable brick or pieces of chimney made of cement, I finally found the foundation, consisting of four squared cedar logs mortised together, forming a central hole which was square for the purpose of stepping the flagstaff. Placing a vertical rod in the center of this hole I filled it with the debris taken out, and at the center produced at the ground surface I placed a large white marble shaft given me by the custodian of the near cemetery.
You are in error in regard to there being no inscription, as I carved it in myself with letters one-half inch deep, and the same was finished up by my assistants, Albert G. Hammer, of Chicago, Illinois, and my brother, Lieut. Charles McG. Sweitzer.
This old post was particularly interesting to me, for this was the place where my father, General Sweitzer, took Grand Duke Alexis of Russia on that famous buffalo hunt, he having charge of the cavalry escort; and where Buffalo Bill first made his bow to notoriety, being introduced by Ned Buntline of dime novel fame. Cody taking him out of the fort a few miles dressed à la Sioux, and Buntline, just from the East, with silk hat and broadcloth, took Cody seriously; hence his rise to fame and finance. A Bill Nye would have seen the funny side of it, but would never have seen the Wild West show.
My first report describing the corner is in Washington, and I write the above from memory, but you will find it substantially correct.
N. B. SWEITZER.
REGULAR QUARTERLY MEETING OF BOARD OF
HELD AT THE OFFICE OF THE SOCIETY IN LINCOLN, APRIL 9, 1907.
Meeting called to order at 1:45 P.M. by the President, Dr. Geo. L. Miller.
Present, Dr. Geo. L. Miller, Jas. E. North, Prof. H. W. Caldwell, S. L. Geisthardt, Robert Harvey, Henry C. Richmond, and C. S. Paine, as members of the board, and Miss Charlotte Templeton and Miss Edith Tobitt, members of the library committee, also Prof. A. E. Sheldon, Director of Field Work, and Elmer E. Blackman, Archeologist.
Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The report of the Secretary was presented, and on motion of Mr. North was ordered accepted and placed on file.
The Treasurer, Mr. Geisthardt, reported that there was approximately $200 on hand in the bank fund.
The report of the Archeologist, Mr. E. E. Blackman, was presented, and on motion of Prof. Caldwell it was accepted and placed on file.
The report of the Director of Field Work, Mr. A. E. Sheldon, was then presented, and on motion of Prof. Caldwell the report was accepted and filed.
The report of the library committee was read by Miss Charlotte Templeton, and there being no objection it was, by order of the President, accepted.
The report of the museum committee was received, accepted, and placed on file.
After some discussion on the subject of cooperating with the State Press Association, in the publication of a History of the Nebraska Press, it was moved and seconded that the board recommend to the Society, at its next annual meeting, that it cooperate with the State Press Association in the publication, under the auspices of the Society, of a volume devoted to the history of the Nebraska Press, the editorial work to be provided for by the State Press Association. Carried.
The recommendation of the Secretary that the board decline to accept the proposition of Mrs. Robt. W. Furnas, to purchase the Furnas collection of Nebraska woods, paying therefor $4,000, in four equal annual payments of $1,000 each, was, on motion of Mr. Geisthardt, concurred in.
A vote of thanks was extended to Gov. Geo. L. Sheldon for the solicited donation of a portrait of himself to hang in the Society rooms.
A vote of thanks was also extended to Mrs. E. C. Baker, of Miller, Nebraska, for the donation of 400 copies of the History of Seward county, by W. W. Cox.
The Secretary recommended the appointment of a committee of three, of which Mr. Geisthardt should be chairman, to conduct negotiations with the city of Lincoln, with the view to securing Market Square or some other acceptable site for the proposed Historical Society building. It was moved and seconded that such committee be appointed. The motion was amended by Professor Caldwell to make the committee five members, two to be selected outside of the board, one of whom should be Mr. A. E. Sheldon. In this form the motion was carried. The President appointed as such committee: S. L. Geisthardt, C. S. Paine, H. W. Caldwell, A. E. Sheldon, and T. F. A. Williams.
Upon request of the Secretary, his salary of $100 was, on motion of Mr. Geisthardt, appropriated and added to the salary of E. E. Blackman, the Secretary waiving all claim to salary from the Society for the current year.
The report of the library committee was taken up, and on motion of Mr. Geisthardt a plan proposed by the committee for the employment of a librarian, to catalogue and accession the library, was approved, and on motion of Mr. Geisthardt the Secretary was authorized to cooperate with the library committee in the selection of a librarian, and in carrying out the plans recommended by the committee, so far as the available funds of the Society would permit.
On motion of Professor Caldwell, the rules were suspended and the Secretary instructed to cast the ballot for the following named persons as members of the Society: