Welcome to Untold History of Southeast Nebraska! Here you will find stories, photos and resources on Southeast Nebraska History! It started as a Facebook page and now it’s expanding to a web site. We’re just moving in but stop in and take a look around.
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Photo: Wilber Czech Capital – Historical Marker – Jan Uruba – 2013 – Creative Commons/Wikipedia
CZECH DAYS are just around the corner! Enjoy our footage of the 2021 Wilber-Clatonia Czech Days Alumni Band!
In 1987, President Ronald Regan signed a decree declaring Wilber, Nebraska in Saline County as the Czech Capital of the United States. Every year thousands of people from all over the world and Southeast Nebraska come to Wilber to brave the hot summer days and enjoy beer and kolaches! (There are other great foods as well but you can’t go to Czech days without having those most famous staples!)
The little town of Wilber anxiously awaits for thousands of people to fill the streets enjoying kolaches, beer, music, friendship and a great celebration of Czech History in Southeast Nebraska.
This will get you in the mood for a beer and a Kolache for sure!
Read more about the Wilber Czech Days at the link below:
From Wikipedia: John Henry Kagi, (March 15, 1835 – October 17, 1859), was an American attorney, abolitionist, and second in command to John Brown in Brown’s failed raid on Harper’s Ferry. He bore the title of “Secretary of War” in Brown’s “provisional government.” At age 24, Kagi was killed during the raid. He had previously been active in fighting on the abolitionist side in 1856 in “Bleeding Kansas“. He was an excellent debater and speaker. In 1855, Kagi traveled west and stayed at the cabin of his sister Barbara Kagy Mayhew and her husband Allen in Nebraska City which is more famously known as the Mayhew Cabin.
The Battle for Freedom:
A new book has been published by Cathleen M. Van Winkle, President of the Board of the the Mayhew Foundation, called “The Battle for Freedom: The Life and Times of John Henry Kagi“. This book is available in digital format on Kindle through Amazon. Click the book cover image or the link above or below to access this book.
Book Description Excerpt: With fierce determination, this honorable, driven, and educated man toiled for years for the abolitionist cause. So driven was he that he showed little to no care for his personal needs or safety. For his beliefs, he was beaten, persecuted, shot, jailed, and hunted. Yet he persevered despite the pain and risks. When others conspired to silence him, Kagi continued to act as a loud, ardent voice for justice, freedom, equality, and freedom of the press. It was for the noble cause of abolition of slavery that he sacrificed his life during John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, an event that sparked the Civil War.
The Mayhew Cabin is the only Underground Railroad site in Nebraska officially recognized by the National Park Service and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Unfortunately, several years of a constant barrage of flooding of rain water and sewer backup from Nebraska City’s sewer system has damaged the cabin so much that it has been closed. The following news videos document the problems that the Mayhew Foundation has faced in their efforts to save the Cabin Museum.
KFOR Lincoln Live Podcast – INTERVIEWS – February 2022
To read a detailed and well written history of the unfortunate fate of the Mayhew Cabin visit this link: Mayhew Cabin Flooding. Visit the Mayhew Cabin museum web site https://mayhewcabin.org to learn more or to donate to rebuild the museum at this link: Mayhew Cabin. We’ll keep our eye on this story and hopefully we can send some positive action towards this Untold History of Southeast Nebraska.
Welcome to Untold History of Southeast Nebraska! Here you will find stories, photos and resources on Southeast Nebraska History! It started as a Facebook page and now it’s expanding to a web site. We’re just moving in but stop in and take a look around. Subscribe on the home page for updates and new posts!
We were lucky enough to visit the Gage County Fair in Beatrice in 2021 on Saturday when the Center Sicily School House – District #23 was open to visitors.
The Center Sicily School – District #23 was used from 1886-1958 in South Gage County. It was donated to the Gage County Ag Society in 1967 and resides on the Gage County Fairgrounds in Beatrice where it is cared for by the Beatrice Area Retired Teachers Association. Visit it on Saturday during the Gage County Fair Week!
The history of the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln is a bit unique. It began as a Lincoln neighborhood trash dump and the citizens of Lincoln worked to turn it into a beautiful garden oasis in 1930. You may have driven past it many times but I really encourage you to go on a nice day and take a walk. Mornings are really nice and peaceful there! A great place to stop when you have out of town company for great photos!
Watch the Gardens go from Spring to Fall in this terrific Time Lapse Video – 2021 Lincoln Sunken Gardens
For More History:
HOW DO THEY DO IT!? Interviews on Backyard Farmer with lots of great old photos and the behind the scenes secrets of the Sunken Gardens!
“Clara Colby: The International Suffragist” by John Holliday explores the life and work of Clara Colby, first librarian of Beatrice and Southeast Nebraska Suffragist of the Turn of the Century. (2019) *Available for Kindle
“Votes for Women: The 19th Amendment in Nebraska” by David L Bristow and University of Nebraska Press features articles from the Nebraska History magazine as the Women in Nebraska push for the passage of the 19th Amendment between 1855 and 1920. (2019)
A new book was published in 2020 about our Southeast Nebraska Suffragette, Clara Colby. Clara Colby was also the first librarian of Beatrice. The book, “Clara Colby: The International Suffragist” was written by John Holliday who discovered Clara Colby in his family tree.
A new book was published in March, 2020 about our Southeast Nebraska Suffragette, Clara Bewick Colby. Clara Colby was an early Nebraska pioneer settler moving to Beatrice from Wisconsin in 1871. She was the first librarian of Beatrice establishing the first free public library in 1873. She was a contributing columnist to the Beatrice Express Newspaper where she wrote a column “Woman’s Work” and she began publishing her newspaper, The Women’s Tribune in Beatrice in 1883. She became a major player in the United States Suffrage Movement of the turn of the 19th Century. She served in the Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association from 1885-1898 and the Federal Suffrage Committee in 1898.
The new book, “Clara Colby: The International Suffragist” was written by John Holliday who discovered Clara Colby in his family tree. In the following “The Success InSight PodCast” John Holliday is interviewed by Howard Fox about the life of Clara Colby, his research and his writing of the book.
Homestead National Historic Park, Beatrice, Nebraska
The Palmer-Epard Cabin was built by George W. Palmer in 1867. It was moved to the Homestead National Monument in 1950. Since that time it has been moved two additional times on the Park. Click the links below to learn more.
Cotner College existed in the Bethany Heights suburb of Lincoln from 1890 – 1933. The original land (about 300 acres) for the school was offered for free by local business owners hoping to bring in a population of residents thereby increasing value in adjoining land in Bethany Heights.
Image: Nelson Bros. Shoe and Calmelet Jewelry Stores – Nebraska City – c. 1906 – Peasley and White Photo
“Nebraska City: The Most Beautiful City of Nebraska: as it is today in story and pictures” was published in 1906 by the Morton Printing Company in Nebraska City.
It contains some brief early histories and many wonderful old photographs by Peasley and White photographers. You can preview the book here or use the links below to download other file versions of the book for free.
The Minnesota Institute of Art offers these Cyanotype photographs taken by Agnes Winterbottom in Rulo, Nebraska around 1900. This set includes 23 images which have been added to the video gallery below.
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Photo: Kehlbeck Farmstead – Cass County – National Register of Historic Places – Ammodramus Photo – 2012 – Creative Commons (featured in the Bulletin)
The U. S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service in conjunction with the National Register of Historic Places published this Bulletin in 1991 for people researching historic places and buildings for applications to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is great starting point if you are doing any kind of research for this purpose.
You can view and download the bulletin for free here below as PDF file (16 pages) or other formats.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act was the seed of division over the subject of slavery in the United States. Congress began to wrestle with the laws of slavery in newly opened territories with Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska caught in the middle.
The Homestead Act of 1862 has been called one of the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. Signed into law in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln after the secession of southern states, this Act turned over vast amounts of the public domain to private citizens.
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