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Nebraska State Historical Society
HON. J. STERLING MORTON, President,
Publication: THE SECRETARY, S. L. GEISTHARDT,
and S. D. Cox.
Obituaries: R. W. FURNAS, GEO. L. MILLER,
and W. H. ELLER.
Program: THE SECRETARY, J. L. WEBSTER,
and J. M. WOOLWORTH.
Library: JAY AMOS BARRETT, MRS. S. B. POUND,
and J. H. CANFIELD,
I am aware that there is considerable of the ego in this story, but I have tried to write it in the third person and failed. I am not good at that, and it requires too much explanation. In fact, the change in myself has been so great, and in every other phase of the scene so immense, that it is really another person simply looking back and putting the present man in the place of the boy of twenty. I have tried to efface my present self and go back thirty years and describe things just as they looked then,-and I hope to take you all with me for a short space of time.
In a street in New York City that was then a great thoroughfare to Brooklyn, in 1856, there was a very respectable dry goods store. The proprietor in that far away day dwelt over his store, as many others did in the heart of New York. It was there I first heard of Nebraska. Said proprietor, a relative, had been in the habit each fall of sorting up a lot of stock a little passe at home, and taking it out west to sell to the "wild and woolly,” though these people were far east of us now. That fall he went away west to St. Louis, and when he came home he was full of a wonderful man he had met there, a Dr. Thompson, and of a wonderful country still further from civilization, of which the said Thompson and a New York syndicate owned an integral part, to-wit, one half a town site, way up the Missouri river above Omaha, and in the Territory of Nebraska; and Thompson was sure and my relative was sure, that if we would only go there in the spring we would in a short space of time become very wealthy, and in the course of a few years be important and highly honored citizens of the new realm, perhaps get to be congressman or even governor-when it became a state. Nothing was talked of in the parlors above that little store that winter but Nebraska, the new, the glorious country, where to live was a pleasure, or even if we died, a joy to be buried therein. Thompson had furnished plats, maps and prices, and my friend visited the great Mogul in Wall Street, who was furnishing the money to some, and whose "Company" owned half the town site, and returned from that visit more certain than ever that Nebraska was the land to go to, and our future worldly prospects would be assured forever, and so it was. Well, to be short, a little party of New Yorkers was made up, and we were all to start in March for St. Louis and the West.
The very lots we were to have were picked out on the map and the section and number of the land we were to preempt adjoining the town site. What magic there was in that word town site! We had always supposed a site for a town, the land of a village, was owned by a great many people, a thousand, at least, and we had never even owned a lot; but this whole situation had been owned by only four people, and now the great New York Company, of which we were a part, had bought half the place and we were to be part owners of that, the