Pioneer Country

Friday Photography: Happy Birthday, America, from Nebraska!

July 4th Eagle & Balloon

Even our national symbol is blown up …

July 4th Rider Collage

I love a parade!

July 4th Two Flags Collage

Flags from yesterday and today …

July 4th In God We Trust Edited

Our national motto …

July 4th Capital

Reminders of our government …

July 4th Kids on Capital Steps

A beautiful day to enjoy the Nebraska Capital!

 

July 4th Fireworks Collage

Have a safe and happy 4th of  July!  A BIG THANK YOU to those who serve our country and who have made freedom possible!  God bless America!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Independence Day Across Nebraska

File:Fireworks 4.jpg

Image from Wikimedia Commons

I had hoped to get this posted earlier today because many events have been underway, at least in this area, for quite awhile.  Yet since there are a few more hours left until dark and the real shows are beginning, I decided it was still worth the post.  Obviously I will not manage to catch every town.  But here are some of the larger celebrations happening across Nebraska today, tomorrow and the rest of this week-end!

Frontier Trails

Grand Island: Fonner Park Fireworks at Dusk on July 4th

Hastings: 4th of July Concert with “The Rumbles” (possibly fireworks to follow?)

Kearney Fireworks: Thursday July 3rd 10 pm

Fort Kearny Stampede Day (July 4th Day)

Lewis and Clark

Columbus: Red, White & KaBoom on Thursday July 3rd

Norfolk (Saturday the 5th at 10 pm)

Metro

Fremont: Thursday Night

Lincoln: Uncle Sam Jam: Thursday July 3rd

Lincoln Red, White and Zoo (Friday All Day)

Two Other Lincoln Events on the 4th of July:

Celebrate America! — 9:30 a.m., kids’ parade and marching band; 10-11 a.m., patriotic program; 11-11:30 a.m., old-fashioned family games; 11:30 a.m.-noon, hot dog lunch, Cripple Creek Park, Pine Lake Road between 40th and 56th streets, north on Beaver Creek Lane; the park is on the corner of Fir Hollow and Beaver Creek Lane. Everyone welcome.

Fourth of July storytime — 11 a.m., SouthPointe Barnes & Noble Booksellers. “Corduroy’s 4th of July” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Omaha: Link to “Family Fun in Omaha” for all the area events!

Panhandle

Alliance: Laing Lake Lunatic Boat Races

Gering Fireworks (Thursday Night)

Scotts Bluff Area VIewing (Watch area fireworks from the Bluff – no actual fireworks permitted on site)

Pioneer Country

Beatrice: Homestead National Monument: Campire Series (July 4th evening events)

Nebraska City: Events on Friday and Saturday

York: July 3rd Fireworks

Prairie Lakes

Maxwell: Maranatha Bible Camp (Dinner, concert & fireworks: $)

North Platte Fireworks on July 4th- 8 p.m.?

Ogallala Fireworks: July 4th at Dusk

Sandhills:

Ainsworth Fourth of July (Celebration all day including races & evening fireworks)

Know of any other great events happening to celebrate the 4th of July?  Please post them on my “Odyssey Through Nebraska” Facebook Page!

Happy Birthday, United States of America!

 

 

 

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Blogiversary to Me: One Year of Odyssey Through Nebraska

Blow up the balloons!  Throw the confetti!  Drape the streamers!”Odyssey Through Nebraska” is exactly one year old today.

When I started this blog last July, I had no idea how much this would change my life and also the lives of my family.   While there have been a few bumps in the road, overall I have definitely enjoyed the journey.  Thank you for being a part of this path with me!

Four in a Jeep

Don’t you just love the various expressions on my kids’ faces?  Kind of sums up the year for me: happy, confused, delirious and tired.  Guess you can assign who is who! 🙂

I plan to make this month a true BloGIVErsary.  That is right: I have been working on lining up some great giveaways.   While most bloggers manage to feature several prizes in a row, I have decided to space mine out a bit.  Each Tuesday in July, I will be announcing what prize my readers are eligible to win!  I am so excited – giving away prizes is so fun!  Especially when you have such great sponsors!  Later on today, I will announce my first one, so please stay tuned!

 

Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills, Where to Begin | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Stopping Modern Day Slavery in Nebraska

Writing about the Underground Railroad on this blog last week was so much easier.  Partly because I want to stick my head in the sand and pretend that nothing so horrible as enslaving others is still going on today.  While the shackled may no longer be working the cotton, many are still forced into a lifestyle that is NOT of their own choosing.  This is even true in Nebraska.  (Thanks, Jen, for forcing me to recognize this fact even though I still really want to pretend that it does not exist!)

Sex Trafficking Haunts Nebraska Events

This compelling article from NET tells a story that I do not really want to read.  As the two game elimination series happens at the College World Series tonight, for me it is all about a great baseball game.  For others, it is not.  Big profile events perpetuate crime opportunities.   Even small towns can still hide evil.

File:Springview, Nebraska street signs.JPG

Image from Wikimedia Commons

On my Sacred Line blog this morning, I wrote a bit about my own personal reflections and what I hope to do about this issue.  Being only one small voice, I now want to point out organizations that are working so hard in our community to stop the horrific spread of modern day slavery.  How we can make the biggest impact is by coming alongside others who are already aware of exactly what is going on and are taking the stops to stop the injustice.  (A big thank you to Colleen for letting me know of several more groups that are making a difference!)

I’ve Got a Name This is the best site to learn about how this issue is impacting the Nebraska area.  They have resources to help you get informed and then ways that you can get involved in fighting this issue that does affect us here at home.

Tiny Hands International (Headquartered in Lincoln – they fight slavery here and across the world)

Restore Innocence (While this group may be located in Colorado, they do provide support to victims in Nebraska)

Innocence Lost: Ending Child Prostitution (FBI site) – their office out of Omaha is working directly on cases that may happen in Nebraska

Nebraska University Students Against Modern-Day Slavery (NUSAMS)

“Freedom Change” (A smaller group of students also trying to make a difference)

International Justice Mission on Facebook an international organization that is making a difference around the world!

Love 146 While this organization is based out of Connecticut, I appreciate the work and education that they seem to be providing here and around the world.  The below quote by their founder is the reason why I wrote this uncomfortable blog post and is why this issue is so important!

“Child trafficking isn’t just a cause full of mind-numbing stats.  It’s about somebody’s son or daughter.”  Rob Morris, Love 146 co-founder and president.

 

Categories: Causes Across Nebraska, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Nebraska Path to Understanding the Underground Railroad

Discovering that the small Mayhew Cabin is not actually in its original location (due to a highway being built) was surprising.  Learning that the current “cave” tunnel was not even in existence during the time of the Underground Railroad was almost disheartening.  I almost wondered why one would even visit this site that is shrouded in mystery as many of the details of its part in the Underground Railroad cannot be confirmed.  Until I heard footsteps …

Mayhew Cabin Cave

Underneath the original Mayhew Cabin through the cellar door you can climb into a cave.  One that has been reinforced for safety and connected with a long winding tunnel to allow you to exit.  I was sitting there waiting for my children to come back.  My oldest had come down and offered to find the others.  He started by looking through the cabin.  Once I heard him walking around above me, the need for this place made me sense.  While I knew who was above me, I was instantly filled with an unexplainable fear.

Mayhew Cabin looking up from the cave

The vent may have not been there originally, but it did add to the realism of the experience.

My imagination took me to a place in time over 150 years previously.  Being down in the cave, I suddenly realized what being a fugitive must have felt like.  To hear the heavy thud of footfalls above that might mean discovery.  Was the person friend or foe?  One providing safety or capture that would lead to death or an even worse fate?  Having to hide to preserve your very life and the life of your children must have been incredibly frightening.

My children seemed to “get” slavery for the first time.  They pretended to hide from me the slave owner.  As we were the only visitors at the time, this worked, and thankfully they let me in on this game eventually.  This cabin, cave and tunnel helped history come to life for my family!

Mayhew Cabin children in tunnel

As you walk along through the damp and drafty tunnel, rooms have been chiseled out giving you an additional feel for what a fugitive would have experienced.

Mayhew Cabin tunnel room

Beside the tunnel, the interior of the museum also gave us glimpses of slavery life.  Including a black curtain closet with a plank ceiling where you could pretend to hide from the slave owners.   While I was talking to the museum docent, my boys managed to silently hide there before I finally found them!  They also have a wagon showing a “slave” escaping in a wagon.

Mayhew Cabin slave wagon

Can you see the “person” hiding?

They also have shackles that you can try on to experience the misery of not being free.  Do you like my son’s attempt at a mournful expression?

Mayhew Cabin Slave

While perhaps this is not the largest or most polished of the recreated Underground Railroad Stations, at the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown’s Cave they do an excellent job at helping to bring history to life, especially for children.  In addition, you can watch a short video, filmed by a Mayhew descendant, about the history of the cabin.

Mayhew Cabin movie

To learn more or to schedule a tour, please visit the Mayhew Cabin website.  Note: this is one of the many fine places to visit in Nebraska City.  To learn more about other Underground Railroad significant locations across the United States, please visit the Network to Freedom website.

Categories: Family Outings, Nebraska History, People Behind the Place, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Underground Railroad in Nebraska

Upon examining slavery in Nebraska, one would naturally conclude that this issue did not have an impact.  After all, the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves happened on January 1, 1863.  The Civil War officially ended in April 1865.  Nebraska became a state March 1, 1867.  With statehood not even happening until after the slavery issue had been resolved (at least on paper although possibly not in practice), what difference did slavery really make in the 37th state?  More than one would realize.  Especially when you factor in that Nebraska had been an official territory since 1854.

Dividing the land was directly determined by slavery arguments.  Hoping for possible political  and personal gain and to end the perpetual debating, Senator Stephen Douglas proposed that territories being annexed into the United States should determine their slave status.  Thus the Kansas-Nebraska Act was formed.  Pro-slavery citizens and Abolitionists  descended upon the territories, resulting in  heated arguments and a new nickname, “Bloody Kansas.”  These new sections of land were cause for debate for everything from railroad routes (free soil or slave land) to immigration of citizens from Eastern states.  This so-called compromise had further pushed a divided nation toward war.  You can read more about all of this on the excellent site, Civil War on the Western Front, where I did compile much of this information that I could no longer personally remember from my own study of U.S. History and from my tour that is mentioned below!

How does all of this specifically affect Nebraska?  Well, being further south, most Kansas adapted the bent toward slavery.  Except for on the fringes, much of Nebraska was against slavery.  A few of these Nebraska territory settlers had brought along slaves.  Of the 15 slaves found in Nebraska during the 1860 census, ten of them lived in Nebraska City.  To be involved with fighting against slavery, one had to be a bit discreet.  After all, Southern sympathizers were obviously a part of the community.  Why was far off Nebraska Territory even a part of this issue?  Fifteen slaves is not exactly very many.  Yet the Underground Railroad did come this far West because of the neighboring state of Missouri.

Mayhew Cabin Lane Trail map

In 1820, the state of Missouri had entered the Union as a slave state, with Maine being free.  Due to their Southern and Northern locations. this made sense.  When thinking about the need for slaves, often only cotton states come to mind.  Yet at the time of the 1854 Compromise, Missouri had had 24 years of welcoming slave owners.

The Nebraska Territory shared a part of its Southeast border with Missouri.  An escaping slave could follow the Missouri River up past the Nebraska towns of Little Nemaha and Camp Creek.  Once arriving at Nebraska City, the fugitive could cross into the free state of Iowa, then gradually head to Chicago and blend in there a bit easier before fleeing to Canada.  Exactly how many slaves used this route is impossible to determine.  Observing the map, one can see that this escape route must have been used by groups of Underground Railroad passengers.

While the math may initially not add up, slavery did affect Nebraska.  I am grateful to Bill and to the Mayhew Cabin for enlightening me on this issue.  If you click on the link, you can learn more about this location’s part in the fight against slavery.  Even better, please go visit the Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska City in person.  The admission cost is low, and the self-guided tour will impact even little visitors.  All four of my children LOVED exploring the site!  In fact, I plan on writing my next post about the impact this visit had on our own personal understanding of the Underground Railroad.

 

 

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Stopping Slavery in Nebraska: Nebraska City and the Mayhew Cabin

Mayhew Cabin Exterior

Built with stacked logs, the snug cabin is certainly not much to look at.

Mayhew Cabin Collage

Looking at the interior, comfortably housing one person almost seems like a stretch, much less the four people who stayed here.  After relocating from Ohio, the Mayhew family called this log cabin near the Missouri River home.

Nebraska City, part of then Nebraska Territory, was just starting to grow. Because of being located near Missouri,  the town had one feature that set them apart from the other area locations.  Slaves.  Ten of them were noted on the census.  This did not set well with Mrs. Mayhew.  Or especially with her brother, John Kagi, who dwelt with them for several months.

About this time, Kagi became a companion of John Brown.  You may recognize him as the one who eventually led a raid Harper’s Ferry to make a statement against slavery.  This event was a precursor that helped to catapult our nation into a Civil War.   Before all this, Kagi was an active abolitionist and was doing what he could to help end slavery, including using his sister’s cabin as at least a temporary Underground Railroad Station.  This is where his association with Brown causes history to be a bit fuzzy.

Some newspaper clippings tell of Brown visiting this site himself.  Others imply that only Kagi was acting as the Underground Railroad Conductor.   The name game does come into play here, and possibly the wrong man was given the credit.  Rather than being called Kagi cave in honor of the man who definitely found himself at home there, the more notorious man gets the name of the cave.  Was Brown ever even in Nebraska?  No one is completely sure.  Why?  Being involved with the Underground Railroad was not exactly something a person would announce at the town square.  Even after the Civil War, Southern Sympathizers were still around and many just wanted to move past the heartache.  Either way, proof does exist that a group of at least one dozen slaves passed through the cabin at one point, at least long enough to eat breakfast.

Mayhew Cabin John Brown's Cave Monument

The exact details of what all happened are definitely sketchy.  Yet I still feel that my knowledge of the underground railroad increased by visiting the Mayhew Cabin and John Brown’s Cave.  Understanding the impact that Nebraska had on this network is also interesting.  Tomorrow I plan on telling a bit more about this place, and the lessons that I learned.

Why is this timing of this post significant?  I mentioned in my post yesterday that June 19th happens to be an important holiday.  Especially for the ancestors of slaves in this country.  Juneteenth is the celebration of the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas.  This celebration of freedom has caught on and spread to other states.  Including Nebraska who hosted one event in Omaha earlier this week and will have celebrations in Lincoln and in Nebraska City tomorrow.  The latter is the place where I will “take you” again tomorrow, exploring anew the part that Nebraska played in the Underground Railroad.

 

Categories: Annual Events, Causes Across Nebraska, Nebraska History, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arbor Day In Nebraska

Just in case you missed it, the holiday that Nebraskans can be most proud of is today.  Why?  Because Arbor Day originated in Nebraska.  (Maybe next year I will write a “Flashback Friday” on that!)  Many festivities are planned across the state.  I missed a few today (sorry – I had originally looked it up in the wrong place!), but there are enough activities taking place the rest of the week-end to still keep you plenty busy!

Nebraska City

Arbor Day Festival  How could I start at any another town besides the place that it all originated?  Nebraska City has activities planned all week-end including a fun run, bake sale, flea market and even a parade.  If you hurry, you can catch the two hour carnival tonight.

Omaha

Lauritzen Gardens  TREEmendous Arbor Day Celebration

Tomorrow morning from 9 to 12, you can take a hike and also learn more about trees.  Early arriver?  The first one hundred groups will receive a free seedling!

Know of any other Arbor Day events?  Please comment below or on my Facebook page.  Of course, you can celebrate wherever you go!  The forecast is good – get out and enjoy! 🙂  I can”t resist ending with a song I remember hearing whenever it was Arbor Day time.

P.S. This also happens to be the Nebraska Science Festival week-end!  Even more activities are happening around the Eastern part of Nebraska, and I will write about them tomorrow morning!

 

 

 

Categories: Annual Events, Metro, Nebraska History, Organizations across Nebraska, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Monday: Shakespeare in Nebraska!

Somehow the Bard and (Ne)Braska just do not seem to go together very well.  But there are some actors in the Good Life state that would like to change that.  Since this week happens to be Shakespeare’s birthday, what a better time to find out more?

File:William Shakespeare Chandos Portrait.jpg

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

I stumbled upon the Nebraska Shakespeare Company when I was flipping channels a few months back.  NET Public Television featured this outstanding theater company as part of their “Nebraska Stories” program.  If you have 10-15 minutes, the program is worth watching.  I love how they are bringing Old English to Nebraska.

Nebraska Stories: Shakespeare Wild West Episode Excerpt

Since Wednesday is considered to be Shakespeare’s birthday – his 450th one to be precise- what a great day to throw a party!  Celebrations will be happening across the “Globe” (:-) ), along with Talk Like Shakespeare Day.    If you can attempt to sound like you are a Shakespearean actor, you may qualify for free food and prizes.  I will post any places I come across on my Facebook page in the next day or two.  There also happens to be a sonnet contest!      Talk Like Shakespeare is a national site where you can find out even more.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” (The Man Himself)

Categories: Annual Events, Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Nebraska Stories

Tomorrow night is the premiere of yet another Nebraska Stories show on Nebraska Public Television (NET).  This episode seems to be a packed one!  I have to admit that due to a busy week, I have not been able to watch this edition yet.  But I hope to watch tomorrow night at 9:00.  (Well, basically tonight since it happens to be almost midnight 🙂 )Click here for a preview of all that you will be able to see Sunday night, including the return of our Nebraska Olympian, a topic I blogged about in February!

Nebraska Stories Episodes

Air Dates: Premieres Sunday, April 6, at 9 p.m. CT on NET1. This episode of “Nebraska Stories” will repeat several times during April on NET1 including Tuesday, April 8, at 6 p.m. CT; Friday, April 11, at 7 p.m. CT; Tuesday, April 15, at 10:30 p.m. CT; Friday, April 18, at 7 p.m. CT; and Tuesday, April 22, at 11 p.m. CT. It will also air on NET2 World on Saturday, April12, at 1:30 p.m. CT and Sunday, April 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

 

Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Metro, Pioneer Country, Region or City | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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