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Almost all profusely referred to the cablegram of condolence sent by England's queen. It impressed Captain Real that so much profusion, amounting to obsequiousness, ill became the dig. nity of citizens of so great a republic, or the well-known character of the dead hero. In his turn to speak he arose like the blizzard from the northwest and pointedly remarked that the bullets which stretched thousands of his comrades on many bloody battlefields were moulded by subjects of England's queen. While such remarks chilled they threw another light on the scene. Such manners are sometimes called blunt, but they are bluntly honest and bluntly instructive.
Finally, for the last few years of his life he began to be troubled severely with infirmities contracted during his army life, from which he sought relief by spending the winter seasons either in California or Florida. The last winter of his life he spent in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. There he continued to decline. On the 10th of May, 1893, he wrote me a letter that he would soon start for home, and would, on reaching Kansas City, send me a telegram to meet him at the depot when he would pass through my town.
From this letter I will quote the following words, which are worthy, like the Metonic Cycle, to be engraved in letters of gold on pillars of marble: “I am about ready to retire from the stage. I have tried to do my duty to the best of my ability, both to my God and to my country. I hope for an eternal reward. Pray for me that I may not be disappointed and that God will have mercy and compassion on me." I met him at the railway station at Tecumseh as he passed through it on his way home. On that occasion, too, he manifested his indomitable will power; for, though actually dying, he walked out of the passenger coach to meet me, spoke calmly and deliberately about the end, which, he said, was at hand. He was accompanied by his wife, ever faithful and worthy companion. He was anxious to reach his home that his children might surround his dying couch. A few days afterward, May 23d, 1893, with all the members of his family by his bedside, patiently and meekly bearing his sufferings, haying received the sacraments for the dying, he calmly breathed
his last. The funeral services, conducted under the auspices of the G. A. R., James Shield's Post No. 33, of which he had been for many years commander, were held in the Catholic church of Grafton, and his remains, preceded by the flag he had followed and upheld on so many battlefields, were borne away by his comrades and buried in the cemetery close by the village, there to await the archangel's reveille.
ITS PAST AND PRESENT.
Read before the State Historical Society, January 14, 1896, by J. Q. Goss, of
A poet once sang in simple yet touching strains that
“Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
And the beauteous land.” Simple as these lines are, they contain a truism and a principle that is fully exemplified in all the business relations, conditions, and operations of life—in the increase of population and the growth of villages, cities, states, and nations. In the matter of history, it is the little grains thereof, gathered here a little and there a little, that go to make up the sum total of nations and o peoples. The timely and constant gathering and garnering of those grains by individuals in their respective localities will, in the end, render more complete and perfect the accumulated whole. Nebraska is as yet comparatively in her infancy. The bulk of her history has yet to be written. The foundations of that history have been laid, and it devolves upon her citizens of this and succeeding generations to contribute both materials and labor toward the building and completion of a grand and glorious historical monument to, of, and for our state, that will be its pride and glory.
On the west side of the Missouri river, about ten miles above the mouth of the Platte, on a beautiful plateau, there stands a village that is not altogether unknown to history. Small though it is, it has nevertheless occupied somewhat of a prominent position in Nebraska's prehistoric times and in its early history. In fact, this unostentatious village can, with truth, say, "Before Nebraska was, I am.” What is somewhat remarkable about it is that it had a name selected for it long before it came into existence. While the stones, bricks, and timbers of which its buildings were composed were yet in the quarry, the earth, and the forest, the name by which it has since been designated and known was applied to the locality and spot on which the village is now located. In 1805 a Spaniard named Manuel Lisa, on ascending the bluff at this point and viewing the beautiful plateau on which he stood, with its background of grand sloping hills, before him the valley of the Missouri, with its turbid stream rolling onward and ever onward to the gulf, and beyond this stream and valley the picturesque bluffs of Iowa spread out like a vast panorama, was compelled by the grandeur of the scene to exclaim "Bellevue,”—a foreign term, which, when translated into our language, means “beautiful view.” This name was indelibly stamped upon these beautiful bluffs and plateau and remains there to this day.
The glowing reports of this region by the Lewis and Clarke expedition in 1804-6 as to the nature of the country, the facilities here offered for intercourse with the Indians for trading purposes, undoubtedly had its influence on the American Fur Company and induced them to establish an agency at this point and appoint agents to take care of their interests. This in its turn had its influence on the establishment of other enterprises-each tending to the final culmination in what is now our village of Bellevue. In 1823 this company built a large two-story log house on the bank of the river in which to keep its stores and for the purposes of barter with the Indians. In this year also the Omaha, Otoe, and Pawnee Indian agency was established at this point. The trading post was torn down in 1870, and now graces a barnyard about three miles from Bellevue. As an historical reminiscence it should have been preserved as one of the landmarks of "ye olden time,” but progress has no predilections for the past, civilization no sympathy with that which apparently has been contaminated with the touch of barbarism, only so far as the same may be utilized for speculative purposes. In 1848 was completed a Mission House, as it was then called,--to-day such an institution would undoubtedly be dubbed a college.
But to retrace a little, let us go back to the year 1835. In July
of that year Samuel P. Merrill was born somewhere within the limits of what is now Bellevue.* When he was about four years old his father, who was a missionary to the Indians in the vicinity, more especially to the Otoes, died, and was buried on the east side of the Missouri river, near a sawmill, probably about half way between Bellevue and Council Bluffs. This Samuel P. Merrill came from the east a few years ago for the purpose of endeavoring to find the location of his father's grave, but his efforts in that direction were futile. While at Bellevue he was the guest of the writer of this article and related many little incidents of the latter part of his early life in Nebraska, some of which were indelibly impressed on his memory. He remembered especially the period of leaving Nebraska on the steamboat and the trip to the far east to the old home of his mother. Every day of that trip seemed to open to his youthful mind scenes more bright and fascinating, and when, a day or two after arriving at the old homestead, he went to play with some of the children there, he was so enraptured that he rushed into the house exclaiming, “O, Mamma! Ain't we in heaven?"—his only planmates theretofore having been papooses. While at my house he exhibited to me a contract, which was executed in duplicate. between John Dougherty, Indian agent, on behalf of the United States, and Moses Merrill- a copy of which I here submit. It speaks for itself as to its object, date, etc.
I endeavored to procure the original for this society, but failed, as it was too highly valued and prized by the Merrill family.
COPY. “Article of agreement, made and concluded at Bellevue the 1st day of April, 1835, by and between John Dougherty, Indian agent, of the first part, and Moses Merrill of the second part, witnesseth:
“First—That said Moses Merrill of the 2nd part, for and in consideration of the covenants and agreements hereinafter stipulated, promises and agrees by these presents to perform the
*July 13, 1835. Mr. Merrill still lives at Rochester, N. Y., one of the very oldest living Nebraska-born whites.