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RG0828.AM:  Nelson Buck, 1807-1869

Correspondence, etc.:  1912-1959

Pontiac, Illinois:  Surveyor

Size:  One folder


Nelson Buck worked as a professional surveyor in Pontiac, Illinois.  In 1869 Buck was appointed deputy surveyor for the newly formed state of Nebraska.  He was sent to resurvey the Nebraska-Kansas boarder in western Nebraska.  Along the Republican River in Red Willow County, the survey party encountered a band of Oglala Sioux led by Pawnee Killer.  In January of 1870 the Omaha World Herald interviewed Pawnee Killer. He described how, after a lengthy battle, the six white men were killed and scalped.  When asked about the other four men in the survey party, Pawnee Killer remarked that they must have escaped and been killed elsewhere by another party.

For a more detailed account of the Nelson Buck survey party, see “Across the Fence: Missing; Nelson Buck survey party,” by M. Timothy Nolting, The Sidney Sun-Telegraph, April 18, 2014, vol. 141, no. 77.


The collection is comprised of papers that relate to the massacre of the Nelson Buck survey party in 1869 in Red Willow and/or Furnas Counties. Relatives, Nebraska State Historical Society staff, journalists, and other interested researchers (Maria A. Cross (niece of Buck), A.M. Brooking, H.B. McGregor, George L. Berger to name a few) piece together the story through correspondence and reports written based on research or firsthand accounts. The material dates from 1912-1959. Attached to the 1959 letter written to Donald Danker by Kenneth Kauffman are two maps: “Location of First Indian Attack on Nelson Buck Party in Fall of 1869”; and “Location of Second and Third Attacks on Nelson Buck Party Fall of 1869”. There is also family history information for the Buck family from Pontiac, Illinois, and the Berger family from Cass and Red Willow Counties, Nebraska.

See the photo component [RG0828.PH] for images of the Nelson Buck historical marker.

See the Paul Davis Riley collection [RG0949.AM] for additional information on Nelson Buck.

See the U.S. Surveyor General collection [RG0510] for related information.

See the Library catalog and the Nebraska History index for published materials about Nelson Buck.


Correspondence and maps


Subject headings:

Allen, E.E.

Berger family

Berger, George L., 1848-1934

Berger, J.E.

Brooking, A.M.

Buck family

Buck, Nelson, 1807-1869

Carmody, Arthur J. “Art,” 1899-1987

Cordeal, John F.

Cross, Maria A. (Buck), 1864-1945

Danker, Donald Floyd, 1922-2005

Frontier & pioneer life

Furman, Archie C., 1864-1953

Furnas County (Nebraska) — History

Harvey, Robert, 1844-1923

Hill, G.C.

Indians of North America — Nebraska

Kauffman, Kenneth O.

Latrom, R.J.

Massacres — Nebraska

McCoy, Samuel

McGregor, H.B.

Piper, Joel Alfred, 1851-1942

Red Willow County (Nebraska) — History

Ryan, John H.

Sheldon, Addison Erwin, 1861-1943


Watkins, Albert, 1848-1923


Revised TMM         01-16-2016