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would have been the earlier in development, and instead of Bellevue being a suburb of Omaha, Omaha might have been an almost unknown village, known only as a market place for the agricultural products of Douglas County.
In quiet contrast to this unseemly strife which intruded even into the presence of the dead, were the preparations for the removal of the remains of the late Governor to his Carolina home. On the 19th of October, the day following Burt's decease, Father Hamilton conducted services at the Otoe and Omaha Mission, Secretary Cuming and Chief Justice Ferguson participating. It is related that the exercises, though simple, were touching, some of the wondering Indians who came in curiosity departing in tears. The Legislature, on assembling in the following January, unanimously adopted as their own the expressive and sympathetic words of the Acting Governor at the opening of the session. The loss was deplored, and the grave in a far off state the legislature declared was another tie to unite communities widely severed, which would revert to Burt's memory with mutual pride, and to his death with sympathetic sorrow.
For removal to South Carolina, the remains of the Governor were entrusted to an escort composed of his son, Armistead, James Doyle, Mr. Symmes, and W. R Jones, old Pendleton friends; Colonel Howard of New York, and Mr. Green of Ohio. For a considerable distance the melancholy train retraced the route taken by Burt in pressing on to his death in Nebraska. The party slowly moved by St. Joseph, St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Harrisburg, and Baltimore, to Washington.
A year before, when Burt was in Washington as Third Auditor, one of the clerks in the office met a sudden death in the Potomac. Although directly contrary to the regulations, Burt closed the department, and requested all therein employed to join him in showing respect to the dead by attending the funeral in a body. And now the clerks from whom Burt had parted but little over a month before, showed their appreciation of the man who had the moral courage, unhampered by federal red-tape, to give his associates in authority a lesson in humanity. By order of the Commissioner of Public Lands, the remains of the Governor had been placed in the rotunda of the Capitol, and there all the clerks of the Third Auditor's office gathered to honor their former chief. A committee of clerks and Treasury officials escorted the remains to the steamer waiting on the Potomac, and formally surrendered the coffin to the escort which had accompanied it from Nebraska. President Pierce received the members of the party at the Executive Mansion, and spoke feelingly of his old friend. On arriving at Columbia, the Capital of Burt's native state, the remains were placed in state in the Council Chamber where he had for years sat as a legislator and a member of constitutional conventions. At Anderson, a county seat where he had formerly practiced law, a committee appointed by the citizens met the party, and escorted them directly to Pendleton, where in the presence of a large concourse of sorrowing friends, with Masonic honors, he was interred in the church-yard of St. Paul's church. A simple stone marks his resting place, and around it stretch the mountains he loved so well. There amid the scenes of his early struggles and triumphs, he lies ready for the final awakening. Hastings, Neb., Jan., 1894.
REMINISCENCES OF EARLY DAYS.
B. J. JOHNSON.
Away back in the 40's, a very enterprising man by the name of Jones built a three story brick hotel in Independence, Missouri, where I was born and lived to manhood, and painted an Indian on horseback chasing a buffalo, and encircling this the words “NEBRASKA House." This was the sign for the new hotel, and caused much comment even in that far western country, with its close proximity to the Nebraska country, being about ten miles east of what was known in that day as the “Great Indian Country,” stretching away to the Pacific Ocean, and also denominated by Fremont as the “Great American Desert."
This was the first time I ever heard of Nebraska (Shallow Water). But the lump of leaven was in the meal, and then like to-day was slowly, but none the less surely doing its work. Civilization was on the march. In 1848, John Marsh an humble mechanic with whom I was acquainted, with a bosom full of enterprise, built a saw mill on the American fork of the Sacramento River in California, for Major Sutter. While digging a race to convey the water to the wheel he discovered gold in immense quantities, which set all America agoing with a quickened pulse; and as Marsh had lived in our country, as well as Mike McClelland, the Potters and others, all reliable men, when they wrote back to their old friends in Jackson Coạnțy, telling marvelous stories as to the richness of the mines, and the consequent tremendous impulse to business, every body it seemed, by the Spring of 1849, was preparing to cross the “Great Desert Plains" to reach
the "Land of Gold.” And so I, with hundreds of others, started. Boys, middle aged, and old men, all dreaming of fortunes to be made, and ready to brave any danger and privation that might cross our path. Thousands came to Independence, which was known as the great outfitting depot, from North, East, and South, and by the first of March, the country around seemed to be full of people, and thousands more coming, all eager to buy wagons, oxen, mules and so forth, but were compelled to lie over till grass would grow, for only ten miles from there, they would launch out into the open sea of prairie, where as yet no mark of civilization had been made; but blessings in this poor mixed world never come without their counterpart. The cholera broke out in great violence some time in April, first among the strangers, and then the natives. This caused many to buy corn at a dollar per bushel to feed on the road, and before the first of May thousands were on the road.
The writer did not start until the 15th of May, with the little train of eight wagons, drawn by four yoke of oxen each with about thirty men and sixteen riding horses, with clothing for two years, and provision for at least one. Wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, friends and some sweethearts too, gathered around the little train one bright morning in May to take the parting hand, and invoke the Divine blessing. With some, too, it was the last time those warm hands ever came together, and lips said that strange sweet word farewell. When the word was given, and the train pulled out, eyes looking each way through the tears that ran like rain over many faces, we realized something of the dangers that lay along our pathway.
We found a road bigger and plainer than any we had ever traveled before, and marked every few miles with the little new made mounds, and the tent waiting for some one to breathe his last, and very soon too we realized we were in an enemy's land. The Indians seemed bewil
dered at the thought of so many “pale faces” all going in one direction,—“Westward,”—and whereto and what for, and when we made them understand, as best we could, our destination and mission, they wanted to know if the old ranch was broken up, and were there any more left, and such like inquiries; but like human nature everywhere, they soon indicated a desire to profit by it, either by trading or stealing, and it did not seem to make much difference which.
Tobacco, sugar and whisky appeared to cover about all their wants. Bread and bacon they would not be bothered with. They cared but little for oxen or horses as they had an abundance of the fattest, fleetest and slickest little horses I had ever seen. As for cattle they had a world of buffalo which made the finest beef.
On the divide between the Blue and Platte rivers I have seen the earth almost black with them, and up the Platte to the Mountains, interspersed with droves of Antelope, and wolves by the thousand. Truly nature had made rich provision for these rude sons of the Plains or “Desert,” as we persisted in calling it, for to me it looked the very picture of a desert. The little short, curly, stunted grass, that felt like a velvet carpet under one's feet where thick enough, was so short even in June, and so dry and parched, that many turned their faces homeward, rather than risk their fate to the short grass and more savage Indians, which we were told inhabited the higher and more mountainous country. While the great crowd surged along, determined to drive their stock, as far as they could travel, and then take a few pounds of bread and their guns and walk through, killing their game from day to day, we soon learned that this stunted grass had a wonderful richness, and strength about it which we were all strangers to. Thin and short as it was, we found that our stock were absolutely improving on what we expected them to starve on.
But what a desolate waste was the country lying between the Missouri River and Fort Kearney! I can never forget when I came in sight of the