In 1865 the riverboat hit a snag in the Missouri River and sank on the way to goldfields in Montana. Its hull discovered in a Nebraska cornfield gave up over 200,000 artifacts.
It would be a risky trip for the two young mothers, each of them bringing along two young children. On a beautiful Spring morning, the first of April, 1865, Caroline Millard and Mary Atchison boarded the steamboat Bertrand at the docks at Omaha, Nebraska.
They created towns and became the center of Western life, enabling wheat, cattle, and minerals to flow out of the West
Half a century after engines touched pilot to pilot at Promontory, Utah, to complete the first transcontinental railroad, the imprint of the Iron Road was nearly everywhere in the American West. Some enthusiastic real estate promoters and railway officials even claimed that the railroads invented the West—or at least the national image of the West.
In one of Willa Cather’s earliest novels, the heroine has been reflecting on the settlers who had come to Nebraska a generation earlier and on the great changes that have taken place in the intervening years.
What it was like for the first travelers
Pioneer farmers had neither wood nor brick to build with, but there sure was plenty of good earth
“My father was one of the early homesteaders in Red Willow County, Nebraska. His homestead was located a few miles north of the Kansas line on high, flat divide land. … If he looked toward Kansas, what did he see? He saw nothing but sod.
Minnesota’s Sioux uprising began with senseless murder on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Before it ended, the smell of death was everywhere