State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails





The Major Day Military Papers 



A recent letter from Carson City, Nevada, reads in part as follows:

I have found among the papers belonging to my father, the late Major Hannibal Day, U. S. A., certain papers relating to the early history of the then territory of Nebraska. I am forwarding them to you.


                                                                                                                           S. H. DAY



The documents transmitted with the letter are four in number, two printed and two in manuscript. They are briefly described as follows :

1. Map of Wagon Road from Platte river to Omaha Reserve, Dakota City and Runningwater. George L. Sites, Supt., 1858.


This map contains names and locations of the following places no longer found on the map of Nebraska: Excelsior, Iron Bluffs, Saunte, Saline, Fairview, Eldorado, Fanner City, Golden Gate, Cuming City, Central Bluffs, Omadi, Logan, Wacapana, Secret Grove.

2. Map of Fort Ridgely and South Pass Road. This road ran from Fort Ridgely in Minnesota southwest across the Dakota region to a point near the junction of the White river with the Missouri. Presumably it was to be extended up the White river toward the South Pass where the Oregon Trail crossed the Rocky Mountains. 1858.

3. (Manuscript) Pen and Ink sketch map showing road between Fort Laramie and Fort Randall traveled by the 2nd Infantry and 4th Artillery in the years 1859-60. This original military map is a most valuable document.

It shows the road, the camping places, the chief topographic features of the route used in the early marches across the then nearly unknown Niobrara region. The route crossed the North Platte on a ferry near Fort Laramie, angled northeast by Rawhide creek to the Niobrara near Agate Springs, followed the Niobrara to a point south of the present town of Cody in Cherry County, then crossed to the lakes near the head of Minnechadusa Creek, thence northeast to the head of the Keya Paha and down that stream and its divide to Fort Randall.


The total distance as measured was 365 1/4 miles. Twenty camps are marked on the route. This was one of the routes (approximate) advocated for the Pacific railroad at that time.



4. Manuscript. Military journal of the march of battalion of 2nd Infantry from Fort Laramie to Fort Randall under command of Major H. Day ? May 15 ? June 3, 1860.


This record contains notes of the journey, each day's march, incidents, weather, Indians, characteristics of the country, with pen and ink pictures of some points.


The manuscript map and journal show at least three things hitherto unknown to the editor:

    a. Eden Springs was the early military name for the famous Boiling Springs about eight miles southwest of Cody, Nebraska.

    b. The map shows Minnechadusa Creek flowing northeast into the Keya Paha river instead of into the Niobrara below Valentine.

    c. Military names of creeks along the route have changed in later years. Bead Root Creek is now Bear Creek. Marrow Bone Creek is now probably Spring Creek. There are several other similar cases. Antelope Creek is named and placed where it is today.


    It is the fortune of the editor to have homesteaded in 1887 in the country crossed by this military march and to have ridden horseback over the entire region.


    He confesses to regret that the early and appropriate name of Eden Springs did not stick to the remarkable body of clear water which bursts from the foot of the high sand bluff on the Niobrara, where is now Boiling Springs Ranch.


    After a hard trip over hot sand hills the beautiful wooded flat with its extraordinary springs throwing up columns of clear water is quite enough to earn the title of Eden from the traveler.





From Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days, 1921
Published by Nebraska State Historical Society, 1921

Transcribed and Submitted by K. Torp