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RG5497.AM:  Seacrest Nebraska Settlement Collection

Papers:  1856-1891


Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


This collection consists primarily of letters related to the settlement of Nebraska in the latter half of the 1800s. The letters provide a glimpse of various individuals’ experiences and perceptions living and traveling in Nebraska during that period. They discuss a variety of topics such as overland travel, homesteading, weather conditions, daily life, military life, courtship, and Nebraska’s landscape and wildlife. Attitudes about slavery, the Civil War, and relations with Native Americans are also touched upon in some of the letters.

The papers are grouped by date. Names that are illegible or omitted are noted (?). Topics of special interest or prominence are included in parentheses.


Box 1


  1. 1856

    Letter from S. K. Miller, Long Branch, Nebraska Territory, to his brother Loren in Pennsylvania, dated June 13 (1856?) (weather, soil conditions, topography, availability of wild fruits and vegetables, etc.)

    Letter from Henry James (noted author), Omaha, Nebraska Territory, to his cousin Howard, dated December 5, 1856. (commerce, railroad, land sales, weather)

  2. 1857

    Receipt from James C. Mitchell to John Dement

    Deed, land purchased by Elisa K. Mitchell from Florence Land Company, Florence, Nebraska (see OB127)

  3. 1858

    Letter from George Salsig, Plattsmouth, Nebraska Territory

    Letter from Pink Stout, DeSoto, Nebraska Territory, to his fiancee, Maggie O’Kirk

    Letter from Butler, Omaha City, Nebraska Territory to Rebecca Briggs

  4. 1859

    Letter from Eric Washburn, Columbus, Nebraska Territory, to his wife, (overland travel and the Platte River)

    Letter from S.L. Flinn, Fort Kearney, Nebraska Territory, to his mother, father, and sister, (overland travel, landscape, and wildlife)

    Letter from A.C. Anderson, Nebraska City, Nebraska Territory, to Heath Nuckolls

  5. 1860

    Letter from Nelson Finn, Plum Creek, Nebraska Territory, to father and mother, (includes prospecting and defending claims in court)

  6. 1861

    Letter from Jonathan Edwards, Forest City, to Henry A. Breed (winter, recreation, and hunting)

    Letter from Lucy (?), Nebraska City, Nebraska Territory, to her aunt, Hannah Penniman (incidents related to slavery in the region and abolitionists in Tabor, Iowa)

    Letter from Joseph Cody to Elvira (?) Cody (feelings about Civil War)

  7. 1862

    Letter dated June 20, 1862 written by William Cavanaugh. The letter was written at Horse Creek (Scotts Bluff County) and sent to his cousin (name and location unknown). Cavanaugh was a member of a wagon train heading west, and the letter describes life on the trail, cost of provisions, dissatisfaction among members of the train, etc. Cavanaugh includes sketches of Court House Rock and Chimney Rock.

  8. 1864

    Letter from (?), Fort Platte, to David Adams (trade)

    Letter from D.G. Daily, Brownville, Nebraska Territory, to (?) (an appointment to Fort Kearney)

  9. 1866

    Letter from (?) Lewis, Julesburg, Nebraska Territory to J.E. LaMaster

  10. 1867

    Letter from F.T. Minor, Omadi, Nebraska, to George S. Minor

  11. 1869

    Letter from Mose (?), North Platte, Nebraska, to sister, Mrs. E.C. Wadhaus (?), (railroad, weather, landscape, and Native Americans)

    Letter from Charlie (?), Lancaster, Nebraska, to Olive Johnson (courtship)

  12. 1870

    Letter from J.S. Edgar, Omaha, Nebraska, to Mary Edgar (weather, daily life, and river crossing)

  13. 1871

    Letter from (?), Camp Cameron, Nebraska, to Rachel Tupper, (military life, scouting near the Republican River)

  14. 1874

    Letter from Red Dog (Shunka Lutah), Red Cloud Agency, to B.R. Cowan, Asst. Secretary of the Interior, (living on the agency)

    Letter from J.J. Saville, Red Cloud Agency, to B.R. Cowan, Asst. Secretary of the Interior (describing Red Dog)

    The Pioneer, Omaha, Nebraska, February 1874 (see OB127)

  15. c. 1870-1883

    Letter from Lou (?), Omaha, Nebraska, to Cassie Whelan (entertainment and daily life)

  16. 1886

    Letter from J.W. Walker, Gilmore, Nebraska

    Letter from Nett Stevens, Potter, Nebraska, to his mother, Mrs. S.M. Stevens (ranching, daily life, and price of beef)

  17. 1888

    Letter from (?) Hammond, Sioux, Nebraska, to her niece, Mary Mason (price of land)

  18. Oversize, Map, Boyd County, Nebraska, 1891 (see OB127)



Farm life — Nebraska

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska

Homesteading — Nebraska

Overland journeys

Settlement — Nebraska


TJR/kfk   05-27-2004

Encoded TMM   09-10-2011

Revised TMM   11-20-2013