Maps of Nebraska and a little History

Francis Burt, a Democrat from South Carolina was the first governor of Nebraska.

He and the other first officers of Nebraska were appointed by President Franklin Pierce and were paid by the United States. The long journey from his home, part of it by stage and steamboat, brought him to Nebraska City, but he had become ill. He was then taken by wagon to Bellevue, where he arrived October 7, 1854. He grew worse and died on October 18th. The Secretary of State, Thos. B. Cuming of Michigan, became acting governor. Bellevue was the oldest town in Nebraska. It was, in fact, the only town. Here was the old fur trading post and the Indian agent in charge of the Nebraska Indians. Here the first Christian missionaries came and built the only mission house then in Nebraska . It was expected that Bellevue would be the capital of Nebraska. Eight miles above Bellevue, in the woods fronting the Missouri river, men from Council Bluffs, Iowa, had started a town which they named Omaha. There they built a two-story brick building, which they offered to give for a Capitol. Acting-governor Cuming called the first legislature to meet there on January 16, 1855. The first Nebraska Legislature had been elected by the settlers. It had a Council of thirteen members and a House of Representatives of twenty-six members. The Platte River cut the scattered settlements of early Nebraska into two parts. Twenty-one members came from the North Platte Region and eighteen from the South Platte Region. By the count of the first census there were nearly twice as many settlers in the South Platte Region as in the North Platte Region. The fight between the North and South sections began at the first session of the Legislature and continued through the years. There was much for the first Legislature to do. First, there was a contest for permanent location of the capital, which Omaha won. A body of laws was needed to govern the territory. The Legislature met this need by taking a book of Iowa laws and enacting them for Nebraska . In this way most of the Iowa law was made Nebraska law. The eastern end of the country between the Niobrara River and Kansas was divided into counties by the Governor and the Legislature. All the rest of the great territory was an undivided wilderness. Laws were passed for making roads and ferries. Public roads were made sixty-six feet wide. A law was passed prohibiting anyone from selling or giving away liquor. Whisky had made much trouble with the Indians in Nebraska while it was still the Indian country, and in 1834, the United States had forbidden the sale of whiskey in Nebraska. The first settlers of Nebraska were not satisfied with the land laws. The United States law allowed a man to take 160 acres of land and after living on it for six months, buy it by paying the United States $1.25 per acre. The settlers said that the first pioneers should have 320 acres instead of 160 acres. In order to hold this land, “Claim Clubs” were organized. Each man in a “Claim Club” promised to defend every other member in holding his 320 acres. When the later settlers began to arrive, they were warned that they would be driven off by force if they tried to settle on the land held by members of the “Claim Clubs.” The first Legislature passed a law giving each member of a “Claim Club” 320 acres. This was contrary to United States law and was, therefore, illegal. For several years there were quarrels and wars between the “Claim Clubs” and the later settlers. In the end, the “Claim Clubs” disbanded.

The second governor of Nebraska , Mark W. Izard, Democrat, of Arkansas, arrived at Omaha on February 20, 1855.





























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