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boundary-natural or artificial-prevent the union of all our
energies, in building up an eminent, honored and thriving
State. May you be prospered in all your laudable aims, and
after performing the high duty of legislating for a patriotic
and confiding people, return in health to the comforts and
friendships of your respective homes.

Within three months from the date of this official document, its author had passed from earth, and at the meeting of the next legislature, Governor Richardson said: "The Territory has lost one of her brightest intellects, one whose genius and attainments had inspired his many friends with high hopes and marked out for him a brilliant and useful future. T. B. Cuming, Secretary of the Territory, has been called away forever."

The legislature having referred this message to a committee, the following report was made by its chairman, Hon. R. W. Furnas, subsequently governor:

Thomas B. Cuming was appointed secretary of the Terri-
tory of Nebraska by Franklin Pierce, President of the United
States, upon the organization of the Territory, and entering
at once upon the discharge of the duties of his office, he
arrived here in the month of September, 1854.
By the
untimely decease of Governor Burt, he succeeded to the
supreme executive and became ex-officio Governor of Ne-
braska. How ably he filled that office, those living can
testify. In the organization of the first legislature, sur-
rounded as he was by conflicting elements, threatened by
fierce contending factions, standing in imminent danger of
personal violence, he wavered not once in his fealty to the
general government, nor in his fidelity to the trust reposed
in him. Throughout the whole duration of those trouble-
some times he pursued a policy, the sagacity of which was
proved by its success, and the wisdom of which is evidenced
by the present prosperous position of the Territory which
he governed. Upon the resignation of Governor Izard, he
again assumed the executive office and from that time till
near his death maintained it. He has been identified with
the Territory ever since its organization, as one of its
highest officers. He died with the mantle of authority still
about him, in the land which he had chosen for his own;
in the country which he had ruled so well. He was buried
with his honors fresh upon him; from the halls where he was

Council Journal, 5th session. 15. 2 Council Journal, 5th session, 30-31.

wont to tread among a people that delighted to do him
reverence. He was followed to his grave by those who were
his friends, and the soil for which he had lived and labored
received his remains. His requiem was tolled by the silence
of those who knew what they had lost, and if you seek his
monument look around you.' Besides being for a long time
the first executive officer of the Territory, he was in many
respects the first man of Nebraska. And hereafter when
the roll of the great men of the Territory is called, and
the name of Thomas B. Cuming is pronounced the first upon
the list, let the answer be as it was with the surviving com-
rades of La Tour, D'Auverne, first grenadier of the army
of France, "Died on the field of honor." The closing moments
of an existence, checkered as his has been by worldly con-
tests, cannot but attract attention. His life was no holiday;
but almost every moment of it had been passed in the busy
thoroughfares of the world, and when finally prostrated by
disease, the closing acts of his public life were characterized
with the same energy and decision which made his character
what it was. Your committee have in this hurried manner
discharged the duty imposed upon them. They are con-
scious of their inability to present a report for your con-
sideration commensurate with their estimation of the man,
and their appreciation of Thomas B. Cuming as an executive
officer. Your committee would close their report by express-
ing their earnest hope that here in the shadow of the
Capitol, about whose arches the spirit of the deceased may
linger; that here the memory of those sectional disputes
among which the latter part of his life was unavoidably
passed, will cause this legislature to avoid them, and unite
for the furtherance of such measures as shall be for the
good of the whole country.

Never was the pathway of a young politician beset with greater perplexities and temptations than those surrounding the first temporary executive of the Territory of Nebraska. To be unexpectedly called upon to assume the duties of another, and expected to evolve a government from a state of elementary chaos, in the absence of precedents, would have required all that age, experience and human sagacity could have furnished. While it became his duty to designate the place for the assembling of the first session of the legislature, the final question of Capitol location was left to the representatives of the people; but inasmuch as the place of the first meeting would have the

prestige of an incipient Capitol, his decision was sought in the spirit of desperation. What there was of settlement, was divided by the Platte River into North and South, while in the two antagonistic sections, three rival towns in each were ready to destroy their local competitors to gain a permanent advantage. These were Bellevue, Omaha and Florence to the north, and Plattsmouth, Nebraska City and Brownville to the south.

Bellevue, having been the place where the first governor landed and died, and whence his acting successor issued the first official proclamation, and possessing the most beautiful location, had many reasons to anticipate becoming the permanent seat of government.

When, therefore, Mr. Cuming, having ordered the taking of a census, in 1854, and the election of members of a legislature and of a delegate to Congress, appointed the assembling of the first session for Omaha, the clans were mustered for war. In the absence of courts to issue the quo warranto or mandamus, appeal was occasionally made to the knife and revolver, and under mental conditions affected by the use of money or whiskey. Accordingly, in 1858, when the location question was again revived, and Secretary Cuming was once more acting-governor, after Governor Izard's resignation, a majority of the legislature removed to Florence, eight miles up the river, and called upon him for the records in possession of the minority at Omaha.

Before a solution of this complication was secured Gov. Richardson of Illinois arrived and, assuming control, released the young official once more to his original duty of secretary of the Territory, which place he filled until early in the spring of 1858, when he was stricken by death, in his 28th year.


Feb. 20, 1855 to Oct. 25, 1857.

In the illustrated history of Nebraska, a writer quoting from the Omaha Herald, proceeds as follows: "Mark W. Izard, who came into the Territory as United States marshal, was appointed successor to Governor Burt, and the ball was given in honor of his excellency." It might be here parenthetically stated that when the governor was to read his inaugural message he arranged it so that a negro was to announce his approach to the legislative chamber, by saying, "Mr. Speaker, the Governor is now approaching"; but forgetting his text he electrified the assembled wisdom with, "Mr. Speaker, de Gub'ner hab done come." The following is from the Herald:

Izard was a stately character physically; mentally, rather weak, and felt a lively sense of the dignity with which the appointment clothed him. He had never known such an honor before, and it bore upon him heavily. To the few persons who then constituted the population of the city, the governor was careful to intimate a desire to have his gubernatorial advent suitably celebrated. The factious and wary Cuming suggested the idea of giving Izard an executive ball. The larger of the two rooms, which then constituted the building, was the theatre of a scene perhaps the most ludicrous that was ever witnessed in the history of public receptions. The room had a single coat of what was called plastering, composed of a frozen mixture of mud and ice, and a very thin coating at that. The floor was rough and unplaned, and not altogether safe for those who preferred the upright position. It had been energetically scrubbed for the occasion. The night being dreadfully cold and the heating apparatus failing to warm the room, the water froze upon the floor and could not be melted by any then known process. Rough cottonwood boards on either side of the room were substituted for chairs. The hour of seven having arrived, the grand company began to assemble. Long before the appointed hour his Arkansas excellency appeared in the dancing hall. He and Jim Orton and "the band" of Council Bluffs reached the scene about the same moment.

The governor was very polite to Jim, and Jim was just "tight”
enough to be correspondingly polite to the governor, while
Izard was the guest of nine ladies, who were all that could
be mustered, even for a state occasion in Omaha. They were
Mrs. G. L. Miller, Mrs. T. B. Cuming, Mrs. Fenner Ferguson,
Mrs. J. Sterling Morton, Mrs. C. B. Smith, Mrs. Fleming
Davidson, Mrs. A. J. Hanscom, Mrs. A. D. Jones, and Mrs.
S. E. Rogers. Two of the ladies could not dance, and their
places were supplied by the same number of gentlemen.
The governor had a son by the name of James. He was his
excellency's private secretary, and wishing to present a high
example of style, he came in at a late hour escorting Mrs.
Davidson. His bearing was fearfully stately and dignified.
He wore a white vest and white kids, as any gentleman
would do, but these were in rather discordant contrast
with the surroundings. Paddock, Poppleton, Cuming, Smith,
Morton, Ferguson, Goodwill, Clancy, Folsom, and Dr. Miller,
besides a large assembly of legislators, attended. Jim Orton
was the solitary fiddler, occupying a corner of the room.
The dance was opened and it was a gay and festive occasion.
During the dance several accidents happened. One lady,
now well known in Omaha, fell flat; others did likewise.
The supper came off about midnight, and consisted of coffee
with brown sugar, but no milk, sandwiches of a peculiar
size, very thick, and made up of a singular mixture of bread
of radical complexion, and bacon. The menu was supple-
mented with dried apple pie, and there being no tables in
those days, was passed around. The governor having long
lived in a hot climate, stood around shivering with the cold,
but bore himself with amiable fortitude, buoyed up with
the honors thus showered upon him, and at the proper time,
under a deep sense of his own consequence, made a speech
returning thanks for the high honor done him.

On the 20th day of February, 1855, the successor of Governor Burt having arrived, Secretary Cuming introduced him to the legislature in a most complimentary speech, which was replied to in a manner indicating that "honors were easy," and eulogiums at par.

MR. CUMING: We congratulate you and ourselves, Sir, that
the blessing of prosperity and harmony, and the glory of
great hopes for the future are lighting up your path, which
the vigorous arm of popular sovereignty has carved out
and upon which we have entered.
We feel assured,
Sir, that a glorious destiny will result from that manifesta-


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