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upon Colonel Charles May, commander at Ft. Kearney, for aid in the shape of cavalry. As a result of this appeal Lieutenant Robertson, U. S. Army, Comd'g 2nd Dragoons, joined the command under Gen'l Thayer, which was accompanied by Gov. Black and staff, and overtaking the Indians in camp, received their surrender, the delivery up of seven of their young men, and pledges of future good conduct.

In September of the same year, 1859, Secretary Morton delivered the address at the Agricultural Fair, Nebraska City, which was incorporated with the first annual report of the state society and entered upon the legislative records. No other citizen could have given such a sketch of the first five years of territorial life; and at no other place and time could the intellectual photograph have been pictured. Without agricultural data on which to draw, the task of "brick without straw" was re-enacted; and the address comes forth to-day, from the tomb of official documents as history embalmed in sparkling garniture, We claim it as a Nebraska classic, and have only one fear of our proprietary right being disputed. This arises from the fact that the young orator emigrated from the state of Michigan, whose Professor, Moses Coit Tyler, in his history of "American Literature," declared that England had a claim to our early Pilgrim literature, inasmuch as "an Englishman undergoes no literary evolution by sitting down to write in America instead of England." We set forth in our demurrer, that the Pilgrim eloquence was couched in ancient forms, while ours revelled in the freedom and independence of impulses unchained, thoughts exuberant, and fancies born of a future of incomprehensible splendor.

In introducing him, Robert W. Furnas, president of the territorial board of agriculture, said:

Ladies and Gentlemen: I congratulate the Nebraska Territorial Board of Agriculture, and others who honor us with their presence and aid on this first effort made to hold an

Nebr. State Hist. Soc. Pub., first series, II., 194-196, 181-185; III., 279-286. At II., 194-196, may be found copies of a petition to Secretary Morton, the letter of Secretary Morton to Col. May, a reply by Lieut. William G. Gill, and a list of the officers in the expedition.

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Agricultural Fair west of the Missouri River. While it may be said of those who have ventured into this "western wild," we are a feeble folk in most respects; we are, nevertheless, enthused with “western pluck” and have “declared intentions" to carve out of this "New West" homes for ourselves as well as for those who are to come after This first effort to present "products and resources" is a striking evidence of this. That there is a promised future for agriculture in Nebraska, and that not in the "far distance" we have abiding faith.


It affords me pleasure to introduce as an orator of the day one of the earliest of pioneers; a young man who has given much thought to the future possibilities of a region known until a recent date only as the Great American Desert. He will address you from the improvised rostrumplatform, a farm wagon, placed in the shade of this native oak tree. I ask for him your careful and considerate attention.

The address of Mr. Morton was as follows:

Mr. President and Gentlemen: Called upon to address you, the farmers of Nebraska, you, whose calling I so much honor and love, I was flattered, and in a moment of selfreliant enthusiasm, I accepted the call and have undertaken the duty which it imposes.

It had been my intention at first thought to gather together accurate and reliable statistics concerning the agricultural interests and capacities of the Territory; but having made a trial at collecting data of that description, I have given it up as impracticable from the fact that no regular accounts or correct statements relative to the products and exports have been kept in any county in the Territory. Even the returns of the assessors of taxes in the various counties as sent up to the auditor of the Territory are very inaccurate and convey no well defined idea of the amount of land in cultivation, nor any information upon which a reliable estimate of the capital employed in agriculture can be based. I have, then, only my own observation, dating from November, 1854, together with a somewhat limited experience, to draw upon and can assure you that such information is far less satisfactory to me (and probably will be to you) than statistical facts and figures. But such knowledge as I have concerning the beginning and the success of farming in this territory, I · give to you with pleasure.

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The Indian title to the Omaha and Otoe lands, which comprised respectively the land lying along the Missouri River, north of the Great Platte, and that similarly situated south of the last mentioned stream, was not extinguished until late in the spring of 1854, and the Kansas-Nebraska bill did not pass the House of Representatives until the 24th of May of the same year, so that the season was too far advanced for the emigrants of that summer to put in crops, except in a very few instances, and I think it safe to say that not more than a single section of land was tilled in the whole Territory of Nebraska in 1854; in fact, the only considerable patches of corn that I remember seeing that fall were raised by the Mission of Bellevue, and by the town proprietors of Nebraska City on the town site. I remember that we commenced the winter of 1854-'55, a little colony of hopeful boarders, purchasing everything that we ate, and even feed for our horses and cattle in the neighboring states of Iowa and Missouri, and they, even, had very little to spare.

The winter was exceedingly mild and with the early spring-time came the farmers with their breaking teams and the big plows, and the sturdy hand of industry was for the first time browsing in the sunlight that gladdened the beautiful prairies of our new found homes. Yet what did they know of the rich soil of this untried land? Its productiveness was to them an unsealed book. No human test had ever demonstrated their worth, and yet the farmer turned the heavy sod and planted his corn for the first time, with an abiding faith that his labors would be rewarded, that his all that he had invested in the experiment, would be returned to him ten fold, and that his wife and little ones whose very lives were staked upon the soil and its capacities, would be fed, clothed and cared for by the generous returns of the earth. The man who builds the first house, gathers his family around the first home fireside, and plants the first seed, and risks his all upon the first crop, in a country whose lands have been forever untried, and upon which the slumbers of barrenness have rested down unnumbered centuries, must needs be and is braver and grander in his heart than he who leads an army into a battle, and moves unawed amid the emissaries of death himself.

The spring and summer of 1856 were seasons of intense anxiety to the first tillers of the soil, but the harvest sun shone propitiously and the benignant rains and the growthgiving dews were plenteous, and when the autumn came with its sere and yellow leaves the great experiment had

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