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territory into southern Kansas. Two other Indian regiments were afterwards organized by him, and as commander of these Indians he successfully fought several engagements of some importance along the border.
At the request of Governor Saunders he resigned his Indian commission and, returning to Nebraska, aided in organizing the second regiment of Nebraska cavalry in which he enlisted as a private. He was soon promoted to captain. He served efficiently in General Sully's campaign against the Sioux Indians in Dakota and took a leading and decisive part in the battle of Whitestone Hill, Dakota, September 3, 1863.
At the close of the Rebellion he was, by the governor, commissioned colonel of this regiment. After the close of his term of service with the 2d Nebraska cavalry he became United States Indian agent for the Omaha Indians as well as postmaster for the same, which post he held for nearly four years, and until political differences with President Johnson terminated his services. He now returned to his Brownville farm to follow his favorite pursuits as horticulturist and promoter of scientific farming. In 1868 he was a delegate to the national convention that first nominated General Grant for President.
From January 13, 1873, to January 11, 1875, he served as governor of the state of Nebraska, and as such was ex-officio member of the board of regents of the University of Nebraska, to which latter position he was elected by the people in 1875 under the new constitution adopted that year.
In 1856, and within a few months after his arrival in Nebraska, he was elected to the council of the third legislative assembly, and also served as a member in its fourth, fifth, and sixth sessions and in the eighth session in 1861 as its secretary. As a member of the legislative assembly he drafted and introduced what became the first common school law of the territory, also the law creating what became the state board of agriculture—thus promoting the two great interests to which his life was chiefly devoted-agriculture and education. He was for many years president of the State Board of Agriculture and for very many years and up to his death its secretary. He died, therefore, as he had always wished to die—in the harness. He was also president of the State Horticultural Society, president of the Nebraska State Soldiers' Union, vice-president of the American Pomological Association, presided over the first State Educational Convention held in Nebraska; was president of the Trans-Missouri Irrigation Convention held at Denver, Colorado, 1873; was alternate United States commissioner to the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876; United States commissioner to the Cotton Centennial at New Orleans in 1881–85; member of the Executive Council and special commissioner of the United States to the American Exposition at London in 1886; one of the United States commissioners at large of the World's Fair at Chicago in 1893; president of Nebraska Territorial Pioneers; first president of this Society, and remained president thereof for five years, and on the death of Mr. Morton again became its president, retiring from that position one year ago. For six years he was president of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions.
In the great civic societies he was no less active. lle assisted in the organization of the grand lodge of Masons of Nebraska and successively held nearly all of the offices therein. At various times he held high office in all of the organizations of that fraternity. He participated in the organization of the grand lodge of Odd Fellows and held the highest office therein and was its representative to the national convention of that order. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of America.
In politics he was an old line whig until the organization of the Republican party, when he enlisted under its banner. While a strong partisan, he was yet tolerant of the opinions of others and was proud to number among his intimate and life-long friends many of his political opponents.
He affiliated with the Methodist church before moving west, but, on coming to Nebraska, he united with the Presbyterians, with whom he worshipped up to the time of his death.
While residing at Cincinnati he was, on October 29, 1845, married to Miss Mary E. McComas, who shared his fortunes until her death at Brownville, April 1, 1897. There were born to them eight children, of whom five are still living. On December 25, 1899, he was married to Mrs. Susanna E. Jamison, who still survives him, residing at Lincoln.
This active and remarkable life of a little more than eightyone years came to a fitting and peaceful close at Lincoln, June 1, 1905. On Sunday, June 3, a special train carried his remains and hundreds of sorrowing friends to the very spot where, forty-nine years before, he had stepped from the steamer, all aglow with hope and ambition to aid in the conquest of a wilderness.
The struggle was now over and the battle won. The brave heart that had counted the moments of this long and busy life was silent forever. His remains were borne up the steep slope of the hills that had known him so long, and were laid to rest among the evergreens of Walnut Grove Cemetery, overlooking the great river whose waters had so kindly borne him to our shores. Over his ashes were performed the solemn and impressive burial ceremonies of the Masonic Order—the great civic society which he so well exemplified and which he had served so long and so well. A large part of his life had been devoted to the service of the public in official positions to which no salary was attached. To him service for others was a service of love, and the sense of duty well performed was a sufficient compensation.
It is vain to speculate what might have been the life of one had the environment been other than it was. Furnas been born to ease and luxury, had he held a diploma from a great seat of learning, had he inherited a great fortune, we might not now be commemorating his life and achievements. Certain it is that the strong physical constitution brought with him from the farm and the sterling in
tegrity inherited from his Quaker parents stood him in good stead in the great work that lay before him. Adverse winds that would have brought others to earth seemed only to raise him the higher. Defeat could not crush nor disappointment sour him. While he had a strong, well-balanced mind, yet his remarkable career can not be explained on the theory of great intellectual superiority.
The keynote of his character and the secret of his success was his faithfulness and his kindliness of spirit. Without seeking preferment, he diligently and faithfully performed every duty which the partiality of his fellows imposed upon him. His gentleness of spirit and kindness of heart often led to his being chosen over others equally able and equally competent. To the very close of life he remained young in spirit and buoyant in temperament. He believed in the great possibilities of the future. He never sighed for the good old times of the long ago. To him every decade was better than its predecessor.
On his eighty-first birthday, while in a local hospital, receiving treatment for his fatal malady, he said to me that his chief wish to live longer sprang from his desire to see the great inventions, discoveries, and improvements that the future was sure to bring. He said that if it be true that the dead can see the living he should enjoy looking over the battlements of Heaven and witnessing the further progress. on Earth.
He came to our shores when our civilization was new and our enterprises young. No other single life is so intimately interwoven with the beginnings of so many things that have made us a great state. Our civilization has now become so complex and our enterprises so varied that it would be quite impossible that any one man, however capable and active, should, within the next half century, exert more than a fraction of the influence upon our development that he exerted in the half century just closed. No one else seems to have touched our life, industrial, economic, civic, political, and religious, at so many points as did he; and he never touched ex
cept to elevate. If I were asked to what single individual this state owes the greatest debt of gratitude for its marvelous growth and development I would be but expressing the concensus of opinion of those best qualified to judge when I answer, Robert Wilkinson Furnas.
HIBBARD HOUSTON SHEDD.
BY GEORGE C. SHEDD.
The name which Mr. Shedd bore is Scottish and was rooted in Scotland as early as 1400, continuing there and afterwards in America in a tenacious, though not numerous, succession down to the present time.
The original stock was humble—the name indicates as much—but it worked up to knighthood some time about 1500. The rise was a doubtful honor, and not one to boast of, perhaps due rather to the comeliness of a lass than to conspicuousness of a man, for the bar sinister ran across the new coat-of-arms.
To one of this early race, at least, adventure appealed. This was Daniel, and he came out to America in 1610, twenty years after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, and settled at Braintree, Massachusetts. In accordance with the spirit of the time he was probably a sober, dry, hard-praying Puritan, with little use for witches and a long head for a bargain. As I say, his name was Daniel, and there was a quantity of Samuels, Jonathans, and Ezekials, Ruths, Rachels, and Rebeccas to follow. The family developed a strong bent for the pulpit and mission field, and they were not the last to espouse the cause of liberty. Plenty of them were in the Revolution, and one Captain Abel Shedd, grandfather of the subject of the present sketch, commanded an American vessel in that war, and served his country at least to the extent of capturing a British sloop off the New England coast; with several men and two barrels of rum. Whether the incident or any of its possible consequences made an impression on the Captain's