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RG4572.AM:  Henry Clay McMaken, 1840-1912

Reminiscences:  Undated

Plattsmouth, Cass County, Neb.:  Farmer, Soldier, Freighter, Businessman

Size:  Three items


Henry Clay McMaken, son of Joseph H. and Catherine (Bacon) McMaken, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on January 21, 1840. After a brief stay in Burlington, Iowa, McMaken arrived in Plattsmouth, Nebraska on May 22, 1857. After farming for a couple of years, McMaken became a freighter, first trading with the Pawnee along the Loup River. During 1860-1861, he made three freighting trips to Pike’s Peak.

Henry C. McMaken and Kate Mannering were married on September 12, 1862 and shortly after, on November 1, 1862, he enlisted in the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry and was assigned to Co. H. He participated in the Battle of White Stone Hill against the Sioux in 1863 before being discharged on December 8th of that year.

After his military service, McMaken engaged in farming. From 1870 until about 1875, he worked in western Nebraska as part of a government surveying party. From 1877-1882, he freighted from Sidney, Nebraska into the Black Hills. During this time he also worked the McMaken mica mine in South Dakota. In 1884 McMaken began H. C. McMaken and Sons of Plattsmouth, dealers in cement, coal, and ice, while also operating a transfer company. He was active in the business, civic, and social affairs of Plattsmouth until his death on January 17, 1912.


This collection consists of three reminiscences by Henry C. McMaken, in typescript form. Entitled, “A Primitive Christian,” “Early Troubles With the Pawnees in Cass County,” and “Frontier Justice,” these manuscripts relate to McMaken’s experiences as an early settler in Cass County and as a freighter on the plains during the years 1858-1860.



  1. “A Primitive Christian”

  2. “Early Troubles With the Pawnees in Cass County”

  3. “Frontier Justice”


Subject headings:

Cass County (Neb.) — History

Freight and freightage

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska — Cass County

Indians of North America — Nebraska

McMaken, Henry Clay, 1840-1912

Pawnee Indians

Plattsmouth (Neb.) — History

Religious services


AIP/ksa   07-1991

11-06-2009   Revised TMM/tmm