State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails




The Omahas


    The portion of Nebraska formerly known as Blackbird County, now

    called the Omaha Reservation, on the Missouri River.  It extended westward from the Missouri about 36 miles; northward 18 miles, and covered 310,000 acres.  


    "For election, judicial and revenue purposes", in 1879 divided up among Burt, Cuming and Dakota Counties.


    It was named Blackbird in honor of the Omaha chief, Blackbird, who was buried in the Blackbird Hills.


    In 1804, the Omahas had found their way from the great lakes westward across the Missouri, and settled near the mouth of the Niobrara.  They numbered about 600.


    To escape their enemy the Sioux, moved to the Blackbird Hills.  They lived along the Missouri, north of the Platte, their main villages were at Bellevue and Saling's Grove.


    By terms of the Treaty of 1854, they were to receive, in consideration of having given up all claim to other territory, and making the reservation their permanent home, the reservation itself plus monetary annuities.


    Each single man and head of families had certificates from the government entitling him to a certain portion of land with houses already built.  The Omahas did not want to change their way of life.


    In 1873, a new agent, Mr. Gillingham, was appointed to the reservation.  In collaboration with Henry Fontenelle, brother to a former Omahas Chief, Logan Fontenelle; came up with the idea of using the annual annuities monies to buy wagons, harness, etc.  He told the Omahas every one who will go to work on his farm, and promise that he will stay there and make a living in that way, shall have a wagon, a set of harness, a plow, and everything else necessary to cultivate his land and care for his crops.  He must not sell them, or leave his farm of he forfeits all.  In three weeks of the implementation of the plan, every Omaha was out of the village, on his farm and working the land.  There were no returns to village life, and all were making progress in farming.  In 1880, they raised 20,000 bushels of wheat---plenty for their own needs and more to sell.


    In 1855, when the Omahas came to the reservation they numbered a little over 800.  At the present time (1881), they have increased to over eleven hundred.  They are divided into about 200 families, each family living on a farm.  They own, in addition to their ponies, which were not issued to them by the government as a part of their annuities, about 225 wagons, 225 plows, and 250 cultivators, as individual properties.  As a tribe, they own 24 combined mowers and reapers, six mowers, 50 breaking plows and two threshing machines.  In 1881, they raised 1700 acres of wheat, 1300 acres of corn,

    25 acres of oats and 200 acres of potatoes.




List of Agents at the Omaha Reservation


George Hepner - appointed 1854


John Robertson - 1856


William Wilson - 1858


W. E. Moore - 1859


George B. Graff - 1860


O. H. Irish - 1861


R. W. Furnas - 1863


William Callon - 1866


Edward Painter - 1869


T. T. Gillingham - 1873


Jacob Vore - 1876


Howard White - 1878


Col. Arthur Edwards - 1880


Dr. G. W. Wilkinson - 1881