PROJECT EDITORS

Yvonne Dalluge
Kathleen Jacobitz
Marcia Borcher
Sandi Corbitt-Sears
Dick Taylor


William Brown Raper

My Great Grandfather with two brothers came from England and settled in Virginia in the early 1770's, where my grandfather Thomas Raper was born in March 1778.  His died when he (my grandfather) was only a small boy.  Soon after his father's death he was taken to North Carolina where he was raised to manhood by an aunt, without the privilege of any schooling whatever.

My grandmother, whose maiden name was Bray (Elizabeth) was born on the 30th day of July, the month in which the Declaration of Independence was signed (1776), in North Carolina.  My grandfather and grandmother were married in 1800.  To this union were born 11 children, one dying in infancy -- the other 8 boys and 2 girls lived much beyond the average life, and raised most of them large families; the names of the sons were John, Berry, Jesse, Andrew, Thomas, Wesley, Shelly and William.  The names of the girls: Sarah, who became the wife to Thomas Snoddy, and Effie who became the wife of James Freeman.

After the birth of the third son Jim (Jesse), the family moved from North Carolina to what was known as the wilderness of Kentucky, one horse and cart being sufficient to convey the family with their earthly effects to the new home in Kentucky, where my father Andrew was born, January 1808.  Have heard my grandfather tell that when he and grandmother were married they had neither knives, forks, spoons or tableware of any kind -- that he hewed out some wooden plates, made a kind of wood knife for himself and generously gave grandmother his pocket knife to eat with, their only cooking utensil being a spider (skillet).

In 1816 he moved from Kentucky to Indiana.  In this move he had two horses with old fashioned linch pin wagon.  The running gears of the old wagon were kept on the farm until I was almost grown.  The family arrived on Richland Creek in Green County, Indiana where he took up land and lived until the day of his death, March, 1868.

The family landed as above on the 21st day of April, 1816.  That night snow fell and, the next day he tracked a deer in the snow and killed it, so the family had venison for dinner that day.  My grandmother died on the same old farm at the age of nearly 98 years.  The whole family of boys and girls has passed away leaving only a few of their grandchildren to remember their grandparents, uncles and aunts.  Most of their grandchildren have also gone to their reward.

I have already said my grandfather had no education -- did not know one letter from another, probably had but little idea of the value even of a limited education.  Soon after settling in Indiana a circumstance happened to him which seemed a hardship, but eventually proved of value to his family of boys and girls.  A man came round peddling fanning mills, selling them on twelve months time for $40.00.  My grandfather told him he could not possibly raise all the money in the 12 months, but if he would make it two years, $20 each, he would give his notes for that -- which was agreed to and the two notes signed.  At the end of the year another man presented the notes both due at the same time.  He had saved up the $20 to pay for the first note.  The man said he would sue him unless he paid it all, and to raise the other $20 was the hardest job he had ever undertaken, but he raised it.  Then he said that no man should ever take the advantage of one of his boys because he could not read, so he set himself to give his children the best that was obtainable in the schools of that day and most all of them obtained a liberal education.

I know nothing of the ancestors of my mother's father, Joseph Christy, only that he was born in North Carolina where he was married to my grandmother, Ann Brown, in the year 1807.  He moved with his family and settled in an early day near Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana.  To that union were born five daughters and two sons.  Eliza (my mother Elizabeth "Christy" Raper) Nancy, Sarah A., Martha (Patsy) and Margaret J. (Peggy).  Nancy became the wife of George W. Butler, Sarah married William Freeman, Patsy became the wife of William Reynard (Romosel) and Peggy the wife of Micojob Freeman Jr.  Andrew and William B. married sisters, Lucinda and Melissa Brown, all of whom raised large families, but comparatively few of their descendants are yet living.  My mother's grandfather William Brown, for whom I was named, came from Ireland in the 1770's and took part in the Revolutionary struggle for Independence and after the war settled in North Carolina and there married.  The name of my great grand father, if I ever knew I have forgotten.  To them were born 4 daughters and two sons; Ann (my grandmother Christy), Sarah who married William Neil, Eliza became the wife of James Hannah, and Martha who was married to Micojob Freeman Jr.  {Editors note: There were two different Micojob (Micajah) Freemen}  The sons, James and William B., married sisters, Elizabeth and Mary Hannah.

My grandfather Joseph Christy was born in the year 1779 and died in Oct., 1852, being 75 years old, was at the time of his death spry as most men of 50 years, cause of death being, while cutting broom corn in the field half a mile from his house bending the corn down and cutting towards him accidently struck the sharp point of the knife into the main artery of the thigh and bled to death before reaching the house.

I was born Oct. 29, 1832, near the present site of the city of Linton, Green County, Indiana.  My father, Andrew Raper, was born in Hardin County, Ky; and in the year 1808 my mother, Eliza Christy, was born in North Carolina in 1809 both coming to Indiana when quite young, settling near Bloomington.  They married in 1827.  To them were born 16 children, five of the number dying in infancy; a sister Mary, dying in her 18th year.  The other married and reared families, 89 children having been born among the sons and daughters.

When I was about five years old, my father with his family moved near Evansville, Ind., where he had contract on the canal, and where I first attended school to learn my A B C's.  I was very slow of learning as I have been ever since.  The letter T bothered me and when I was called to recite after the first two or three times and fell down on the difficult letter.  Mr. Kipp the teacher, as I would start down the alphabet reciting, would wet his knife on his boot and just before I reached the difficult letter would take hold of my ear and place his knife on the ear and as I thought ready to remove the member from my head.  Scared? I could not think of anything.  More than once I was placed on what was known as the "dunce block," to be laughed at by the more precocious youths.  I tell this not for the purpose of showing my youthful stupidity, but to show the manner of discipline and teaching in those days for I was not the only one who was treated in like manner.  Wonder how long a teacher would hold his position as a teacher in any part of the United States, who would resort to such methods today.

Later on when I was about 7 years old, my father with the family moved to a small town called Lockport where I next attended school, a man by the name of Wells being teacher.  There were joists across the room overhead, but no floor.  These joists supported a large bundle of switches as a warning to the pupils to be good, and which were frequently used, I thought in advance of any overt act.  I remember on one occasion a class of three, on that day I was at the head of the class.  The first word in the lesson was "dynasty."  I handed him my book.  The teacher pronounced the word, and I spelled it "dinasty."  Next! And the next boy spelled it just as I had, and the next boy the same way.  The teacher reached up and took down one of his many switches and to each of us administered a sound threshing, at least it occurred to me to be sound.  From that day to this I have known how to spell dynasty.  That was not the only time, however, that I felt the not very gentle rod of correction applied by the teacher, in fact it was used frequently and on many occasions.

Soon after this when I was 8 years old my father moved near the village of White Hall but still in Green County.  Soon after that a young man was grubbing out a pawpaw patch.  By his request I stayed with him two or three days.  I would climb the pawpaw bush and when the roots were loosened I would ride down gently.  I thought it good sport.  Then I went to a clearing where my older brother was cutting down trees.  I climbed a bushy sapling and he cut it down with me in the branches.  Then I climbed a maple sapling about 20 feet to the first branches, and told him to cut it down with me fully 20 feet high.  He protested but I insisted and down I came.  Strange that did not kill me, though all the injury I sustained was a dislocated left elbow.

Soon after this I was taken with what the doctors called white or bone swelling in my left knee.  I suffered most intensely for some months before having it lanced, then was on crutches for two years.  When ten years old, crippled as I was, I attended my next term of school, a man by the name of Bray, a cousin of mine, being teacher.  Toward the close of the term, though being too small and weakly to assist, I enjoyed seeing the older boys engage in "turning the teacher out," barring him out of the school house until he would agree to treat.  Mr. Bray was rather stubborn in this case, but the boys carried him to the creek and were ready to throw him in when he wisely surrendered and said he would treat the school the last day which was some ten days distant.  When the last day of school arrived Mr. Bray, true to his promise, brought in a two gallon jug of whiskey.  We all partook of it freely and went home as merry a lot of little fellows as you could imagine.  If there was ever a protest from any of the parents I never heard of it.

For months when first taken with the white swelling or bone swelling I suffered intense pain and for two years had running sore on my leg, many pieces of bone coming out, and after the sore healed on my limb some two years afterwards the same disease broke out on another part of my body that caused another running sore for another two years, during which time I grew but little.  In fact, I was 20 years old before I weighed a hundred pounds.  During my affliction while confined to the house I helped my mother some about the house with her work.  In fact, I became quite an expert at spinning flax, tow and wool rolls in the "little wheel."  In fact, my mother said I could beat any girl she raised along that line.  From the time I was 16 years old, small as I was, I made a full hand in the woods with an ax or in the field with the plow, with scythe and snath mowing, or with scythe and cradle in the wheat or oat field.

About one week before I was 21 years of age, my brother-in-law with his brother bought up a drove of about 200 turkeys to drive to Louisville, Kentucky, and wanted me to go work for them.  They would pay me 50 cents per day and board me.  I was anxious to go.  We were busy doing our fall plowing, so I went to a neighboring young man and hired him to plow in my place, provided Father would consent to let me go.  When I asked Father if I could go he said he could not spare me, then I told him that I had employed the young man to plow in my stead, told him that I would get 50 cents per day and that the young man would work for the same price and that I would pay him for his time.  Father replied that, "If you are so anxious to go you can do so, but I would rather have you than two of him."  Soon afterwards we started with the turkeys and the same day out rain sent in and the turkeys would want to go to roost long before night.  Rainy each day, our 4th day out we arrived in Bedford, 35 miles from home, where my brother-in-law chartered a stock car.  The turkeys all were put in and we moved in with them, with car doors locked.  The road was badly built with flat rails, I was sure we would all be killed before we would reach New Albany.  When we unloaded and found access to Louisville, it was the first time I had ever been out of the state on this 29th of October, the day I was 21 years old.

Two days later I returned home and turned over the four dollars that I had earned on the trip to the young man Ham that I had employed to take my place on the farm while I was gone.  Two weeks later I asked my father if he did not want to hire a hand on the farm.  He replied that he thought he and I could manage the farm all right.  Without making reply I went to the village, Whitehall, a mile away, and hired out to David Butler, who was then in the mercantile business in the village, to feed stock the balance of the winter, for 50 cents a day.  That was the first 50 cents I ever earned for myself.  My next work was hauling logs to Bloomington for Dr. Rawlins who owned a saw mill in Bloomington.  I drove the yoke oxen and mostly poplar logs, large four or five feet across, I loaded and unloaded all alone.  Got $1.00 a day and boarded myself, leaving me a little better than 50 cents per day.  After that for most of the summer, I worked by the day about town at whatever I could get to do.

1854 was a very dry year, very little corn or other farm products raised either in Indiana or Illinois, in fact, crops were generally short throughout the country.  In August of that year Gov. Butler was starting to Chicago with a number of horses for sale, and I having only one, but a fine horse, accompanied him, intending to sell him and pay my debts, for I was in debt some $200, my credit being good and having no idea of the value of money.  When I got to Chicago I found one hundred dollars was the best offer I could get for my horse.  I submitted the matter to Mr. Butler to whom I was indebted in the sum of $65.  I told him if he said so, I would sell the horse and pay him but, that I thought if I were down in Brown County, Ind., where I had an uncle living, I could do better with the horse than take the price offered.  I was then without money or a change of clothes.  Mr. Butler advised me to go where I thought I could do better, that he had sold his horses and was ready to start back home so he gave me $10 in money and what extra clothing he had, and I made my way to Mt. Sterling, county seat of Brown County, where I worked with a threshing machine for a couple of months.  I then hired to an old Presbyterian, Elder Maj. William Means to feed cattle during the winter at $13 per month.  In the spring I sold my horse on four months time for $200 then worked a farm during the summer for $15 per month and in the fall after collecting pay for my horse returned to Indiana and the first thing I did was to pay my debts.

Mother was quite sick when I returned.  I had before determined to return to Illinois and attend school a year, through a most liberal offer from a man living near the city, a lawyer by the name of Wheat.  I told my older brother my plans, but with the understanding that he should say nothing about it lest mother grow worse.  She did not seem to improve.  In the meantime I helped my brother sow his wheat and do other work about the farm, and while at work in the field in October David Butler came to me and offered me $200 and "washing, making and mending" if I would go to his farm for one year.  In those days that was a big price to pay for a farm hand.  I told him I would give him an answer in a week.  At the end of the week, mother's health seeming better, I gave him an affirmative answer.  I told him before commencing I must go and see Miss Butler with whom I had been corresponding while in Illinois, and who at the time was teaching school in Sullivan County.  I met her at her Uncle Thomas Mahan's, where we agreed that we would marry the coming fall, 1855.  I was to commence work on Monday the 25th of October.  On Sunday afternoon I called on Mr. Butler to know if he had any particular instruction to give me pertaining to any line of farming to be pursued.  He said to me, "I wonder if you could sell goods."  I said I thought I could.  He said, "If I thought you could I would let you stay in the store this week, as I want to send my clerk next week with a bunch of horses to Milwaukee to sell."  I said to him, "I am subject to your orders for one year commencing tomorrow morning."  He said, "Stay with me tonight."  So I went into the store the next morning by his direction and did not see the farm for many years afterward.

Miss Butler and I were married September 26, 1856 near Linton within half a mile of where each of us were born.  On the 30th day of August, 1857 our first baby Pauline Eleanor was born.

I still remained as clerk in the store in Gov. Butler's employ until April 1858, when my wife and I with our baby in company with her father and family, and Joseph Freeman a cousin of mine who drove one of the ox teams for us and who on the first day of May, 1859 married Sarah E. Butler, my wife's sister.  They were married in this, Pawnee County, four miles west and one mile north of Pawnee City moved to Pawnee City, Nebraska.  The spring and summer of 1848, was noted for the amount of precipitation and very high waters through Illinois and Iowa, causing us many tedious delays.  Many bridges were washed away so we had to ford the streams.  More than once we had to wait two or three days for the water in the streams to fall so we could ford them.  We crossed the river at Brownville, June 15, 1848 and reached Pawnee City on the evening of the 17th.

The Butler Family:

John Robinson Butler born April 6, 1814 died Feb.22, 1868 and Sarah Ann Mahan, born June 28., 1816, died Sept. 8, 1894.  My wife's father and mother were married in Sullivan County, Indiana in 1837; to them were born four daughters and five sons.  Mary Jane, the oldest of the family was born Oct. 13, 1838, died Feb. 10, 1864; Sarah Elizabeth, born Feb. 17, 1840, who became the wife of Joseph C. Freeman, she died April 20, 1870.  Cynthia Ellen born June 6, 1846, and became the wife of James H. Tucker, March 13, 1867.  Amanda Caroline born Nov. 8, 1853, and became the wife of Fred S. Hassler, Dec. 5, 1871.  Thomas Jefferson was born Feb. 1, 1844 was married to Mary Turner, March 13, 1867; William Asa born July 15, 1845 never married, died in Pawnee City Feb. 2, 1884.  James Benton born Sept. 16, 1848, died Sept.6, 1849.  David Francis, born June 6, 1850, and was married to Rebecca C. Hull, May 7, 1871.  John Mahan Butler, born Nov.27, 1856, and married Celia Patterson, Jan. 30, 1879.

On June 18, 1858, I took claim known as the Tucker farm four miles directly west of Pawnee City and my father-in-law, John B. Butler settled on the quarter section joining and immediately north of my claim.  We hastily erected a rough log cabin 10 x 12 feet covered with boards without any floor, and at once commenced breaking prairie with three yoke of oxen and cutting timber to be sawed into lumber wherewith to build our houses.

We broke 20 acres on my father-in-law's claim and ten acres on my claim.  On the 16th of July 1858, came the highest water ever known up to that time -- indeed until 1884.  The water stood almost three feet on the bottom in the timber.  Soon after, some of the families got sick, intermittent fever.  We had to drink creek water.  At one time and for some days eleven out of the thirteen in the two families were down sick, our one year old baby being one of the two spare.  Only one was able to wait on the 11 sick ones, Joseph Freeman being that one, and he was the only one that escaped the chills and fever.

We completed my father-in-law's house first, a box house and moved into it early in November.  Then I went to work on my house (log) made my own furniture and moved in between Christmas and New Year's, then worked in the timber nearly every day the balance of the winter, getting out material for a three rail fence, and by the middle of April with the assistance of Mr. Freeman, in one month I fenced 44 acres.

Because of sickness and want of school facilities my father-in-law and family determined to return to Indiana but would not consent to go unless my wife and I returned with them.  We finally consented with the understanding we would return the next year.  It was arranged that I should go ahead of the family and make arrangements for putting in a crop for Mr. Butler, which I did.

On April 24th 1849 in company with Dr. McCasland who was also on his way back to Indiana, Joseph Freeman drove us to Nemaha City, where we stayed all night.  While we were warmly clad, I think I suffered as much with cold that day on our way to Nemaha City almost any day I have spent in Nebraska.  The next morning we drove to Brownville and took passage on the boat for St. Louis, where we arrived Saturday evening following, and the next day May 1st, I arrived in Bloomington and the next day went to White Hall and, same day went into store with Mr. Butler, where I had left one year before.  The wife with her father's family having returned by wagon we set up housekeeping temporarily and on the 13th day of September, 1859, our second baby, Fannie, was born.  In October Mr. Butler and I formed a partnership and agreed to return to Nebraska and engage in the mercantile business in Pawnee.  We packed our goods and shipped by wagon, two wagons each drawn by two yoke of oxen.  It was agreed that I should come to Nebraska and start the business while Mr. Butler should remain and settle up his business in Indiana.  My wife in the mean time with our two babies went to her father's home near Linton to visit until I could come and join her there on our way to Nebraska.  When I reached her father's about the 25th of October I found our oldest child Pauline sick with what the doctors called membranous croup from which she died, and the next day was laid to rest in the cemetery one mile west of the village of Linton.  When it seemed uncertain when I could get away on account of the sickness, it was agreed that Mr. Butler should come on and open out the stock of goods and that I should remain and settle up matters in Indiana.

Those were days of state bank issue and "shinplaster" currency, and on the first day of January, 1860 we took train at Sullivan for Nebraska.  I had as I thought plenty of money to bring us through, but we were snowbound three or four days in Illinois.  We finally reached St .Joseph, Mo., on the 8th day of January, I went into the stage office to buy a couple of tickets to Oregon, Mo., I handed the agent my twenty dollar bill and told him I wanted two tickets to Oregon.  He took up his "detector" and informed me that the bank was broken.  Then I handed my ten dollar bill, and after examining it carefully, he informed me that it was counterfeit.  Next I presented one of my five dollar bills, that he likewise informed me was on a broken bank.  Then came my last five dollar bill which after a careful examination with his "currency detector" gave me two tickets with what change was due me.  We stayed at the hotel that night and in the morning when I paid my bill I had just 75 cents in change left.  Then I started out to find a liveryman to see if I could make arrangement to be sent to Pawnee.  I told the liveryman frankly that I had no money but could pay him when I got to Pawnee.  He said,"It is not very often I do a thing of that kind but I am going to risk it in this case."  The price of ten dollars for the trip was agreed on and I had to bear all the expenses.  We stopped over night with a farmer on the Four Mile in Kansas.  In the morning my bill was $1.50 so I borrowed 75 cents of the driver and paid the bill.  We arrived in Pawnee a little after the noon-hour, the 10th, in one of the most severe snow storms that I have ever witnessed in Nebraska.  We stopped with Uncle Joe Woods, who kept the only boarding house in Pawnee.  A heavy snow fell that day and night and drifted badly, so I kept the driver and team for more than a week before he could get away with safety.  Mr. Butler went back to Indiana and remained there until June, when he came back to Pawnee with his wife, having married during his stay in Indiana to Miss Lydia Story.

The summer of 1860 was very dry.  No corn to speak of was raised in the county.  In the fall we bought nearly all the stock hogs in the country.  We sold 400 head to one man and drove them to St.Joseph, Mo.  In the spring of 1861, we bought teams and farm implements and I moved to the farm west of town, Mr. Butler remaining in the store.  That year with the assistance of a hired man I succeeded in raising a fairly good crop of wheat, oats and corn.  That fall we fattened about 140 head of hogs, about two thirds of which we drove to White Cloud, Kansas, and sold them dressed for $1.50 per hundred.  The remainder were slaughtered at home.

Our first Sunday School was organized here by a man named Horace Brothers, a devout man.  After the organization was effected there being only one Hymn book, the superintendent said he would "line it out," and wanted all to sing.  Sim Wood a wag (he stuttered badly) said "I can't sing."  The superintendent told him to try.  "All right," said Mr. Wood.  When the first two lines had been given out and sung, all but Mr. Wood ceased, he was making an almost unearthly yell or noise at the top of his voice, so ridiculous that it broke up the singing.  At the close Mr. Brothers asked him why he did that.  "Why I told you I could not sing, but you would have me try," said Mr. Wood.  "Well," replied Mr. Brothers, "why did you keep on when the others stopped?"  "Well," replied Mr. Wood, in his stuttering way, "I got a goin' and couldn't stop."

Dr. A. S. Stewart taught the first school in the fall of 1861.  As is not very uncommon, some of the patrons found fault with the government of the school or something of the kind.  When the Doctor heard of the complaint he said he did not care what they said just so the big girls came.

In the fall of 1861 on the fifth day of October, "to us a son was born."  I had been having ague all fall.  I had tried several remedies.  One man told me if I would take a good big drink of whiskey when I felt the chill coming on that it would break up the ague.  Well, I took the whiskey all right as directed and I did not chill that day, but I thought the fever would kill me.  All the same, I chilled the next day.

On the fifth day of October I sent my hired man to town for a doctor, he taking the only saddle on the place.  By direction of some of the good neighbor ladies at our house at that time I was sent over the neighborhood on an errand of mercy, chilling as I was, on the roughest riding horse I was ever on the back of barebacked -- could not stand a trot, if I dared let him go that slow, and it seemed to me that every time he came down with his gallop my head would burst.  Any way that is the last ague chill I ever had -- with my experience I am ready to recommend like treatment as a sure cure for ague.

Well, as I started to say, a son was born to us and we called his name John.  I was at that time and had been a great admirer of General John C. Fremont, having voted for him in 1856 and he was looming up prominent in the war of the rebellion, that was getting under way and so I was very proud of my boy.  I had not recorded his name in the family Bible, had always called him Johnnie.  When he was five years old he said to me that he did not want to be called John Charles Fremont.  I said, "What do you want your name to be?"  He said "John Butler," that was his grandfather's name, and I said, "John Butler it is," and so recorded it.

When I came to Pawnee, I remember among the number that preceeded me Uncle Joe Woods, F. F. Liming, Rufus Abbott, the three Jordan boys, Lam, Abner and Eben, Parson Rogers, Zenas Waters, John R. Burge, William McClintock, Robert Taylor, C. W. Giddings, Samuel Taylor, Rezin Ball, Garrett Pangborn, Abraham Clayton, Davis Gallisher, Urish Sullivan, John and Joseph Fries, J. C. Peavy, J. B. Norton, Judge Fowler, John P. Sutton and Harvey Hammond.  I suppose there were others, but not one of whom I have made mention are living today while I write this in 1911.

There were just three houses in Pawnee when I came.  A small frame dwelling on the corner where the Pawnee City National Bank Building stands, a box house about where Bogle Bros. Store building stands occupied by J. B. Morton at the time, and the building the Scott Sisters now occupy stood west of the square where the stone building now stands.  (that building was occupied by F. F. Liming).

 In the fall of 1861 N. F. Hewett who had answered Lincoln's first call for 90 day volunteers, having served out his time moved to Pawnee.  He was a military hero, he talked nothing else and whenever he could get a few men together he would drill them in the manual of arms, marches, etc.  It became a kind of bore to many of the citizens.  We had a literary society that met once a week.  I came in from the farm to attend the meeting on a certain evening.  Mr. McCasland, Dr. Stewart, David Butler and I set up a job on the Military Hero, fixed up a letter purporting it to be from Governor Saunders, then Territorial Governor, to Mr.Butler saying he would appoint line and field officers and asking Mr. Butler to recommend one or more persons for the appointment (ostensibly for Militia of the Territory).

When the meeting was called to order by the President, John P. Sutton, Dr. Stewart announced that he understood that Mr. Butler had that day received a letter from the Governor, and in case Mr. Butler would consent he would like to hear it read.  Mr. Butler graciously consented to read the letter, the contents of which seemed to be of much interest, the subject for debate was laid over for one week, and we resolved ourselves into a kind of military advisory committee to consider appointments.  It would not do for all of us to favor Mr. Hewett and I was to oppose recommending him which I did with all the ability I could command.  Mr. Hewett became angry because I wanted to recommend some older resident I thought more worthy, and because I said some things Mr. Butler became (seemingly) very angry at me, and told the committee that he would recommend any man that the committee saw fit to name except Mr. Raper.  Under no consideration would he name him.  Finally when a vote was taken, over the protest of quite a number of the committee, Mr. Hewett received a majority of those present.  There was general indignation expressed over what was taken in dead earnest by all except the four persons above mentioned.  The community was pretty badly put out with Mr. Hewett who aside from making himself obnoxious along with military, he had shot and wounded Hiram Hubbard while rabbit hunting.  His commission never came, although it was expected on every mail for months, and he did not find out the hoax until the spring following.

I raised another fairly good crop but had come to the conclusion that the rebellion could not be put down unless I took some personal part.  Learning that Henry H. Atkinson with whom I had a personal acquaintance was raising a company at Brownville, and having a pride in being a Nebraska soldier but wanting to go south, I went to Brownville and talked with Mr. Atkinson, asked when the regiment was made up where it would go; (it was to be a nine months service.) He said he would go south but asked me not to say anything about it, for a goodly number thought we were going west and he could enlist more men that way.  With the understanding, then and there on the 16th of October, 1862, I wrote my name on the roll.  The company being made up, a few days later we were ordered to Omaha for Muster, which occurred on the 30th of October.  Our company "C" 2nd Nebraska Cavalry.  I was mustered as Q. M. Sergent, which position I held during the entire time of the company service which ended on the 9th day of September, 1863.  After enlisting on the 16th of October, I returned home to arrange my business so I could leave.  My wife with the two children went back to Indiana to remain with her people and my people until I should return.  While at home I traded some cattle for a beautiful two year old clay bank filley.  The man told me the filley was "mooneyed."  Well I did not know what that was until after I got her, then I found that it meant she was blind.  I started with her to rejoin my company, went by way of Tecumseh, where I stopped at a restaurant or coffee house kept by Alexander Bivins.  Mr. Bivins asked me if I would like to trade for a horse he had.  I told him to bring out his horse.  He was a nice looking horse, said he would give me the horse for the mare.  I told him I would put the saddle on his horse and see how he would ride.  I cantered around came back and asked him to give me ten dollars.  "No," he said, "just even."  I bid him good day and rode away.  In the spring when I commenced riding him, drilling and hunting in the Canyons he gave down in the shoulders, and I lost my horse.

When I got home from the service I was still in the goods business, and in the spring of 1904 we got the contract for selling goods to the Otoe Indians.  When we took out our first load of goods we got to the agency in the night, and called up the man with whom I expected to board, and Mr. Butler introduced me to him as Mr. Bivins.  After Mr. Butler and I went to bed, I said who is that man, and did he ever live in Tecumseh and when I was informed that he had lived there I said "I feel sure that he is the man I put that blind filley onto, don't tell him."  Mr. Butler and Mr. Bivins got up the next morning before I did, and walked out together.  Mr. Bivins said, "who did you say that man was that you introduced to me last night, and was he in the army? Being assured that I was he said, "he is the man I put that broken down horse onto, but don't you tell him."  When we sat down to breakfast, Mr. Bivins and I facing each other, Mr. Butler told what each of us had said to him.  Then we all had a good natured hearty laugh.

We were quartered in the State House of Omaha (now the Omaha High School building) for some days after being mustered into the service, then sent to Florence, four miles above Omaha where we remained until late in December when we were ordered to Fort Kearney, where we with a company of the same regiment arrived at Fort Kearney, on the first day of January, ‘63.  At the time we arrived at the Fort, the 10th Regulars, commanded by Col. Alexander were stationed at the Fort.  In May, our company C., commanded by Captain Theodore W. Bedford were ordered to make what was then known as "Cottonwood" but was later called Ford McPherson, where we remained until we were ordered .back to Omaha for muster out.

From very early in the service my Captain and I disagreed.  I never disliked a man more than I did my Captain, and many a time (when we were alone) in no uncertain language I told him my opinion of him.  In May I made my application to be transferred to the 82nd, Indiana Volunteers, the regiment my father was in and which was at the time in Tennessee.  I wanted to go south anyway.  Of course my application must go through first the hand of my captain, to whom I banded my request for transfer.  Every few days afterwards I would ask my captain if he had heard of the result of my application.  About two months afterward I went to his office to know if he had not heard from my application and if not, why not.  Then he very frankly informed me that he had never sent it, that he did not feel himself under any obligation to accomodate me.  I knew that he was seeking opportunity to have me court martialed.  We were alone as I thought.  Then, if I did not abuse him it was because I could not find language that would be called abuse.  Our First Lieut. James Column was quartered in a room adjoining the Captain's and there was a door between.  The 1st Lieut. told me afterward that he had his ear to the keyhole of the door that separated their two offices.  He was my friend and would not tell the Captain what he had heard me say, but said the Captain would have given money to have known that he heard it.  Last of August we were ordered to Omaha where we were mustered out of the service Sept. 9, 1863.

After being mustered out I returned home and became a candidate for County Clerk against W. E. Curtis who was then county clerk and candidate for second term.  I was beaten in the race by 18 votes.  After election I went back to Indiana for my wife and babies.  Indiana furnished her quota of soldiers who were probably as good as were furnished by any of the states, but there were many disloyal men left at home.  I first stopped a day or two with my father-in-law a mile from the village of Linton, then with a friend to visit with or call on some men with whom I was acquainted, among the number Sam Gray, with whom I chummed more or less in our young manhood days.  He then had the largest store in Linton.  I had on my soldier clothes of which I always felt proud.  He remarked "you been in the Army?"  "Yes," I said, "but didn't you go?"  "No," Sam said, "but I will be one of a hundred men that will volunteer to go to Washington and kill Abraham Lincoln."  There were ten or twelve men in the store at the time, and I was surprised that none of them offered a protest but I said, "Sam, if you will go with me to the little town where I live in Nebraska, and make use of that expression, if the citizens there don't send you to hell in 5 minutes I will pay your fare to Nebraska and back.  I added that I would not live in such a county, that if there was not loyalty enough to suppress such talk as that I would move out.  While I was talking two ladies came in and heard what I said.  In a low voice, but so I heard, one of them asked Gray who that man was.  He replied that it was a friend of his from Nebraska where he supposed they talked as they pleased.  "Well," she said, "He may talk that way in Nebraska, but he can't do it here."  Then my friend suggested that we go, which we did, and when we started home he said he was never so scared in his life, that he expected to see me shot down.  He knew all the men in the store at the time and knew that there was not a loyal man among them.  I learned the next week after my conversation with Mr. Gray, that the enrolling officer was shot down in cold blood.

I returned home in November with my wife and two children accompanied by my sister's Emma and Nancy Neill.  Her husband, Andrew N. Neill with their three boys, William, Culbertson and Andrew, together with my Aunt Nancy Butler, her two daughters, Eliza and Cynthia and her son Andrew.  The winter of 1863-64 as I remember it was the most severe I have ever witnessed in the state, the first day of January 1864 being the coldest of all the days in all the years.  A perfect blizzard was blowing all day, the air being filled with snow so that you could not see a man ten steps away if one had been on the streets.  Though being still associated with Mr. Butler in the mercantile business, I had no occasion to open the store that day.  I saw no person that day save my own family, my two sisters and my sister's family who were with us in the house.  There were snowdrifts in many of the low places more than twenty feet deep, remnants of some of these drifts remained until in May.

On the fourth of February my wife was taken sick with spinal meningitis (spotted fever) causing her death in about one week, which occurred on the 10th of February, 1864, leaving me with two orphaned children, one 4 the other 2 years old.  I hired a widow Sarah Burgs, living just west of town to keep them until June of the same year when my wife's father and family moved back from Indiana and took the children to their home.

I remained at Otoe agency selling goods until about the middle of August when the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians made a raid on the settlers and massacred a large number of citizens in the west part of the then territory of Nebraska and state of Kansas.  Our Governor called for volunteers, Territorial militia, which should be known as "First Reg. Second Brigade, Neb. Militia."  Alvin G. White and I asked for and received commissions to raise a company for that service.  The company was raised in time and we were mustered into the service, Alvin C. White as Capt., I as First Lieut., and Levi Anthony as 2nd Lieut.  We were mustered into the service September 22, and ordered west.  Captain White at the time we raised the company was preacher in charge of the M. E. Church of Pawnee and for some reason was not ready to go with the company, so I, in command of the company left for Fort Kearney the day of the muster.  After leaving Big Sandy creek in Jefferson County, all the inhabitants from there to Fort Kearney had either been killed or fled, leaving their homes.  Not a ranch or dwelling remained, except the Little Blue Ranch, 32 miles east of Fort Kearney.  Fires where many of the buildings had stood were still smouldering.  I with my company "C" were the first to pass over the road.  The company remained only a few days at Fort Kearney, when we were ordered back to a point on the Little Blue River about one mile east of the Little Blue Ranch, where we were to build stockades and guard the travel .  (Ben Holiday's coach line and others.) Soon after going into camp, on the Little Blue River, Capt. White arrived and took charge of the Company.

Captain Robert R. Livingston, Commanding the 1st Neb. V. V. Cav., and at the time Post Commander told me that he had positive assurance that the Regiment would go south the following spring, and told me that if I would volunteer and take into the regiment as many as fifteen men, that I could have a commission.  Still being anxious to go to the south, I volunteered on the 19th of November, and was assigned to "E" Co., of the 1st. Regiment, with the understanding that I should remain with my company in the militia until mustered out of the service which was done on the 6th of February, 1865 at Pawnee City.  I remained at home for some time recruiting and finally returned to the Fort with more than the number promised.  But soon after returning to the Fort, recruiting was stopped and promotions were at a standstill because of the surrender of the Confederate forces to Grant and other Generals.  In the meantime Company F had been sent to Fort McPherson further west on the Platte River.  I was put on detached service and remained at Fort Kearney until the time of my enlistment (one year) had expired, and on the 22nd of November, 1865 I was mustered out, having received a commission as 2nd Lieut. Company F from the Governor (Saunders).  I was the same day mustered as 2nd Lieut. F Company and ordered to Fort McPherson to take command of my company, which I did, relieving Capt. John P. Murphy who had been assigned from another company temporarily to command company F until the mustering in of some officer of the company.  William M. Alexander received a commission as First Lieut. about the same time that I received my commission as First Lieut., but had not been mustered in when I took command of the company.  Lieut. Alexander, as soon as I took command of the company was ordered to Omaha for muster and being mustered Dec. 8, 1865 was placed on detached service and was never with the company after I took command, until we were mustered out, which occurred on the first day of July, 1866 at Omaha.

The last days of December 1865, Col. Brown of a Kansas Regiment (the 7th I think) starting from Fort McPherson and the several companies were ordered to go into camp on the Platte River away from the Fort.  On the 1st day of January 1866 companies were "paid off" and it was thought by the officers that there would be many desertions that night.  In their predictions they were not mistaken.  We were to start out the next morning, the 2nd, and the officers remained at the fort that night.  In the evening while the officers were talking about the probable number of deserters, Col Brown asked me how many of my men would go, I replied "not a man."  He replied, "I will bet you $100 that one or more of your men will go."  I told him to put up his money.  "Oh," he said, "I don't want to take your money."  So I told him to "Put up or shut up."  So there was no bet, but of all the companies and parts of companies in camp that night mine was the only company that did not lose men by desertion, one or two companies lost more than half the men.

The command when we left camp on the second of January numbered between 700 and 800 and we traveled in a southeast direction until we came to the Republican river about 80 miles from Fort McPherson.  The next morning after arriving on the Republican River I was officer of the day, when the Colonel called me to his headquarters and asked me if I would volunteer to take my men and go to what we called "Mitchell Creek" about half way between where we were camped and the Fort, carrying dispatches back and forth and guarding the supply wagons going to and from camp to the Fort.  I said "No, I have volunteered my last time.  I am here to obey orders, but will not volunteer to do anything."  He said he did not like to send me unless I would want to go.  He said I had the only company he could trust, said if he sent "any of the other companies the damned hounds would desert."  (he was an Englishman.)  So he ordered me to take my company and go and camp at the half way station.  I only had in my company at that time about 30 men, quite a number of my men being on detached service, some in the hospital and some others incapacitated from active service.  I remained in camp there for nearly three weeks, many of my men were engaged much of the time guarding our wagon trains going each way, others bearing dispatches.  Several nights during my stay in our camp I had with me not more than 12 men.  I was finally ordered back to the Colonel's camp on the Republican river with my men, and from there the command traveled over to the Solomon river and up and down the river and across country looking for Indians.  Finding none we started on our return trip to the fort.  On our way in, we camped for three days on Mitchell Creek, less then half mile from where I had made my camp for nearly three weeks.  On the second night about midnight we were attacked by what we estimated the next morning not less than 200 Indians.  We attempted to follow them but when a mile or two from camp they scattered so the Colonel thought it no use to go farther.  They (Indians) fired a volley with guns into our camp.  No one was hurt.  There were a couple of bullet holes in the hospital tent, and many arrows were picked up in camp the next morning.  The hospital and headquarters tent were the only tent carried on the expedition.  The command returned to the fort from which we started, on the 10th day of February, having been out just 40 days, during which time we saw nothing indicating civilization or any indication that any white man had ever been at any place over which we traveled.  During the balance of the winter and spring months and up until the middle of June our headquarters were at Fort McPherson and Kearney, doing but little except that occasional scouting parties were sent out from time to time up and down the Platte River and across the country.

While at Fort Kearney the election was held to determine whether we would ask statehood, and to elect state officers at the same time, in case of an affirmative vote for statehood.  My company F, and company I were quartered close together.  Lieut. George P. Belding, Company I was quite a sporting character, would play cards most all night and sleep most of the next day.  On the morning of election I went to my company, appointed judges and clerks of election, and opened the polls.  Belding still being in bed.  The Orderly Sergeant of I Co., said he wished they could vote with us.  He said he did not know whether their Lieut., would open the poll or not, and if he did about half of their company would vote the Democratic ticket, because of the influence their Lieut. had over the men.  So I made our poll book read "Company F and Detachment Company I."  Lieut. Belding and I were quartered close together and I watched for him to stir.  About noon he got up and said "guess I had better go over and open the polls for my men to vote."  I told him his men had voted with my company.  "How did they vote?" he asked.  I told him I did not ask any of them how they would vote, not even my own men.  "Well," he said, "Guess I will go over and vote."  So he did.  When the vote was counted that evening there was just one Democratic vote, that of Lieut. Belding.  Soon afterwards we were ordered to Omaha to be mustered out.  Mine was the first company to muster out, which occurred on the first day of July 1866.

After being mustered out I came immediately home and after visiting a few days with my children who were still with their grandfather Butler.  I took a clerkship with the firm of Butler and Fowler, the firm was composed of David Butler and William F. Fowler.  Statehood had been carried and David Butler had been elected the first Governor of the to be new state.  The state was admitted March first following the election, to-wit, 1867.

For some time before leaving the army I had corresponded with Miss Elizabeth Jane Coffey; oldest daughter of Amos and Martha Neill Coffey.  The correspondence culminated in an agreement to marry, which by mutual consent was performed at the Saunders House (hotel) in St. Joseph, Mo., on the 17th day of January, 1867, by Rev. W. C. Rogers, then pastor of the First Christian Church of St. Joseph, Miss Coffey by agreement meeting me there.  She was accompanied from Indiana by Andrew B. and Cynthia Butler, youngest brother and sister of Gov. Butler, and also by my youngest brother Joseph C.  Joseph, my brother was only 16 years old at the time, having run away from home without the knowledge of his parents or any of the family.

L. L. Allen, being in St. Joseph to haul out a load of goods for Butler & Fowler, that I had bought for the firm, I got passage for the two boys with Mr. Allen, while I brought my wife and Cynthia Butler out home with my one seated Buggy, stopping first night out from St. Joseph on Wolf River and second night at Sabetha, Kansas, reaching home on the 19th in the afternoon.  Balance of the winter and until late in the spring we boarded with our beloved Brother and Sister J. B. Judd, whom to know is to love for their moral worth and their many Christian virtues and who still living in


And here it ended.  Joe Smith told me "as related by Uncle B."

Written 1911. Submitted by Emily Brown - November, 1998


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