State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails






Day When Cruel Sioux Harassed the Pioneer

Episodes that Marked the Daily Life of Settlers Along the Platte in the Middle Sixties – Personal Recollections of One of Them Recounted for Readers of The Bee

Today is Pioneers’ Memorial Day

By act of legislature, as follows:

An act to establish a day to be known as Pioneers’ Memorial Day for suitable recognition to the departed pioneers of the state of Nebraska.

“Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Nebraska:

“Section 1. That the second Sunday in June in each year shall be known as Pioneers’ Memorial Day and the same shall b e set apart for holding suitable exercises in the schools and churches of the state, and when possible in the cemeteries and over the graves of departed pioneers in recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed as pioneers in the settlement of this great state, and that the present inhabitants and future generations many not forget the spirit and the achievements of the men and women who settle these plains and prairies and established the institutions which we now enjoy.

“Approved Aprtil 19, 1913.

“Laws of Nebraska, 1913, p. 523, chap. 171”

Reverend Byron Beall and his wife have lived in Nebraska longer than half a century, have seen the state develop from a savage wilderness to a glorious empire, and now, in the sunset of life, look back with deep sincerity of feeling to the stirring incidents that marked the days when Indian hordes roamed at will over the plains of the Platte River Country, carrying terror to the settlers by their ruthless outrages.

Some of these events are here recounted by Mr. Beall as a sort of greeting to the Pioneers of Nebraska on This Pioneer Memorial Day.

I have wondered if I might not assist in this good work as a pioneer, by giving a chap0ter of experiences with the Indians, of say about fifty years ago.

At that time, 1860, we lived at the mouth of the Wood River in Hall County.

The Deadly Arrow

A pathetic incident happened. About twenty five miles southwest of us the Sioux attacked George Martin’s ranch, shot two little boys of Martin’s, Nat and Robert, who were riding a big fine stallion, trying to get away from the Indians, pinning them together, they fell off the horse and were passed by. They both recovered.

Then came the terrible massacre at Plum Creek of an emigrant train; then the big stampede of the settlers beginning at Boyd’s ranch. About that time, an old man whose name was Storey, a blacksmith, who lived near James Boyd on Wood River, was killed while over north, away hunting buffalo. The man had a little time before bought a load of hay of my father. Soon a band of Indians came into Boyd’s ranch from the north, about eight, and were taken in charge by a little band of soldiers stationed there, who at once set out for Fort Kearney with them. They camped on an island of the Platte and next day returned and reported that the Indians escaped, but afterward admitted that they killed the. This was base treachery, the Indians were often wronged.

In the year of 1863, three of us were over to the Loup River hunting and tapping, when at night a war party of Sioux, with a bunch of stolen horses, passed by close to our camp and traps set for wolves. We trailed them for a time and then, being particular about the kind of people we associated with, packed up and went home, twenty five miles away. We found the whole county in an uproar. We were supposed to be killed. The Pawnees, who had lost the horses, were out in great force after the Sioux.

Omaha Daily Bee
June 14, 1914