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duties of Schoolmaster for the youth of both sexes of the Ottoe and Missouri tribes of Indians diligently and faithfully, and to transmit, previous to the 20th of October of each year during the period he shall be so employed, a detailed report of the number of pupils under his instruction, their ages, sexes, studies and progress, accompanied by an account, with vouchers for the expenditure of the moneys received by him from the government.
"Second-And that the said John Dougherty of the first part, for and in behalf of the United States, guarantees to the said Moses Merrill, of the second part, as a full compensation for his services the sum of $500 pr annum, commencing this day and date, to be paid quarter yearly, or as funds may be on hand for that purpose, by one of the military disbursing agents of the Department, with the St. Louis Superintendency, on the certificate. as requested of the agent or sub-agent, setting forth the due performance of the first article of this agreement. It is mutually agreed upon, that the right is reserved to the agent to dismiss the party of the first part for disobedience of orders, intemperance, or lack of diligence in the discharge of his duties, and that the party shall have no claim to compensation after the period of such dismissal.
"In testimony whereof the parts have hereunto affixed their hands and seals the day and year first above written.
"JOHN DOUGHERTY, Agent. [SEAL.] "MOSES MERRILL.
"H. DOUGHERTY, Witness." The above agreement was probably made for a three-fold purpose: First, with a view of assisting the missionary in a pecuniary manner; second, of giving him governmental authority and support; and third, to benefit the Indians in an educational point of view. The interest of Nebraska in educational matters was displayed even at this early day, and has been fully kept alive to the present.
That this place was quite a favorite place of resort and of residence with the Indians is clearly demonstrated, both by traditions current among the Omahas, Pawnees, Otoes, and others
even to this day, and also by the evidences of warfare, burial, etc., which surround us on every hand. In excavations made for cellars and other purposes the bones of those aboriginal settlers and trinkets of various kinds that were buried with them are often found. The highest points of the bluffs and of the surrounding hills were selected by the Indians as burial places for their dead. One of the highest of these points is one which in all the past years has been known as "Elk Hill." At the top of this hill, about two hundred and twenty feet above the level of the Missouri river, in the year 1846 was buried "Big Elk," a prominent chief of the Omahas, since which the hill has always been known as "Elk Hill.” A few years since the Presbyterians built a college on this hill and are trying to change the name to "College Hill." The Omahas, for years after the white settlement here, came yearly to visit the spot where lay the mortal remains of their loved chief. On their behalf and in the name of the pioneers and founders of Bellevue, I here enter a solemn protest against the change in name of that ancient landmark. The grave of Logan Fontanelle, another of their loved and honored chiefs, is in the northern part of the village, as is also their former council chamber—a large excavation in the bluffs, with an entrance which has undoubtedly been filled up, as it cannot, or at least has not so far, been found by the whites who have sought it.
In the southern part of the village there exist to this day traces of what might be termed a fortification or breastwork—a ridge of earth, evidently thrown up for purposes of offense and defense. This ridge is very regular in shape, excepting on the east side, where it follows the conformation of the bluffs. Its outlines are of an oval character-longer from north to south, or, owing to the conformation of the bluffs, they may probably be more correctly described as two ovals joined. The distance around the outside is about 1,250 feet, its longest diameter about 490 feet, or dividing the figure into the two ovals the long diameter of each would be about 350 feet. On the land side, or rather the side farthest from the bluffs, are two wings or bastions, one each at what might be termed the northwest and southwest points of
the oval. On the farm of the Hon. B. R. Stouffer, and about one hundred rods southwest of this earthwork, at a time prior to the settlement of this region by the whites, was fought a battle between the Osage tribe and the Omahas. About two years since, Mr. Stouffer, in excavating for cellar, drains, etc., for a new house which he was erecting, unearthed quite a number of skeletons, which had evidently been thrown into a trench or gully and covered with earth. About fifty or sixty were so unearthed—the exact number could not be definitely determined-with evidences of a great many others being left unmolested. A short distance from this spot was found the remains of a lone Indian who evidently had received more decent interment, as the skeleton was in a sitting posture, surrounded by numerous trinkets. Among these trinkets was a flat piece of cedar wood, about three inches wide, eight inches long, three-eighths to one-half inch thick, and in a good state of preservation, with a piece of glass attached thereto, or lying on it in such a manner as to indicate that it had been so attached. There is a legend that the tribe long years ago, on leaving the hunting grounds they formerly occupied, cut down a cedar tree which had been held by them as sacred, separated it into pieces, and distributed these among the members of the tribe. May not the piece here brought to light have been a part of that tree?
In those early days, no doubt, many amusing incidents transpired, a record of which would make very interesting reading at the present day, but no trace of them can be found save in the memories of the actors in the scenes, and they are fast passing away. It is often said that society is now fast becoming graded, and that the grade depends on the quantity of the bank stock owned. Comparisons are made between the then and the now of social equality, with the scale turning much in favor of the then. This is to a great extent true, yet caste did sometimes creep into the society of those days. The writer has in his mind's eye a hotel in Bellevue of that ancient time, where travelers and quite a number of citizens sat down on either side of a long table three times a day to satisfy the wants of the inner man. The current
report was that at the head of the table the sugar was quite white, about like the highest grade of Oxnard's celebrated beet extract, but that at the other end of the table its whiteness had disappeared. It may be pertinent here to remark that the same set of boarders always occupied the upper end of the table. Among the early settlers it was not considered an unpardonable sin for a man to indulge in the use of ardent spirits. I do not believe, however, that the use was indulged in so universally and to such an extent as it is at the present day. The ardent used was not always of the combative kind. Wit and wine were often compounded and sometimes confounded. In the fall of 1859 a gentleman at the west end of Sarpy county was elected a justice of the peace, and, as there were none in that vicinity who could administer to him the oath of office, he walked to Bellevue-a distance of twenty-four miles-to have that oath administered to him by the county clerk. That functionary was about this time suffering from an overdose of ague antidote, and lay on his bed "hors de combat." The would-be "Squire" was inexorable, and, after walking twenty-four miles, would not suffer the sun to set ere he was made a full-fledged "Joostice av the Pace." He was finally ushered into the presence "av hizzoner," the clerk, where the following dialogue ensued: "Justice: "Are yez Misther Bangs?" Clerk: "You bet I am." J.: "My name is William J. Fogarty. Oi've been elected Joostice av the Pace av Farest City precinct, an' Oi've come all the way in to be qualified." C. (rising on his elbow and gazing for a moment): "I k-ken swar you in, b-but all h-ll c-couldn't qualify ye."
In the fall of 1855-56, there appeared in Bellevue a suave and polished gentleman named Kirby, from the "hub of the universe." He was on an exploring expedition through this western country, looking for a location to start a $40,000 store. Bellevue suited him, as did also several of its citizens, who generously donated of their means (as loans, as a matter of course) to tide him over until his "ship came in." C. D. Kellar was to be his confidential clerk, Bangs was to hold some important position, and every
thing was progressing finely, until finally the bubble burst, and our expectant citizens became wiser if not better men.
A court-martial was held, the culprit was adjudged guilty of obtaining money under false pretenses, and condemned to receive forty stripes, but the sentence was afterwards commuted to banishment to Iowa.
The old log cabins of that day have given way, if not to marble palaces, to commodious brick and frame buildings, where our citizens live comfortably, but probably not more happily than did those pioneers in their cabins of log, plastered with mud. The worthy president of this society doubtless remembers his 16x18, one-room log mansion, with its much smaller bedroom addition. The outward appearance of these rooms was about on a par with that of the other pioneers, but when we glance into the bedroom I am afraid our ideas of exact equality will end; for there we behold it papered with buffalo robes, purchased for the occupant by Peter A. Sarpy and Stephen Decatur at $2 apiece from the Indians. There was no protective tariff on buffalo hides in Nebraska at that day, or our honored president would probably have bought them himself without the aid of middle men. Probably, while reposing in that comfortable log bedroom, visions of a comfortable cabinet position may have unfolded themselves to his gaze, or it may be that these were reserved for that time, on New Year's day, 1856, when in his shirt sleeves, down near the mouth of Papillion creek, he sat wondering "why people came west, whether others would come in sufficient numbers to form a village, city, county, and a state," and amid these cogitations starting homeward, leaving a valuable and highly prized gun behind to take care of itself. But Wau-mush-pa-Shinga took care of the gun and returned it to its owner, who, whether these visions then confronted him or not, has since attained that position and is now filling it with honor to himself and the state he represents.
The establishment of government agency and works connected therewith, of a missionary station, postoffice, etc., has been told by others, whose papers form a part of the records of this so