Apr 27, 2017 - Sale 2444

Sale 2444 - Lot 216

Price Realized: $ 375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
"THE OTOES HAVE LOST NEARLY ALL THERE HORSES, AND THERE CORN IS ALL GONE" (NEBRASKA.) Bennett, Gideon. Letter on starving Indians and buffalo robe production, also offering a bribe to the legislature. Autograph Letter Signed to Mr. Robertson. One page, 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches, docketed on verso; minor wear, a bit of early tape on verso. Leman, NE, 3 February 1857

Additional Details

Gideon Bennett (circa 1822-1864) came to Nebraska in 1854. He operated a ferry on the Missouri River, then went to frontier Gage County as an interpreter and Indian trader near what is now Liberty, NE. He was apparently writing to Theodore Henry Robertson (1824-1874), an influential politician and newspaper publisher. This letter is dated from Leman Township, which was incorporated by the Nebraska legislature just eight days after this letter was written. Here Bennett asks his correspondent to "get a bill through this winter to locate the county seat of Gage Co. at Leman," adding that "the corner lots are all reserved for the members of the legislators." This brazen bribe did not have its desired effect, as Leman never became a county seat, and was apparently renamed or absorbed into another town within a year. Bennett also hopes for a ferry charter "across Big Blue at or near the Otoe village."
Most notably, Bennett also reports on the problems facing the local Otoe Indians: "The Otoes have lost nearly all there horses, and there corn is all gone, and they have not provision enough to last them two months. They want your father to do all he can to have there payment come as early as possible in the spring. It has been so cold that the Indians could not dress the buffalo robe. They say they will dress it as soon as it is warm enough & leave it with me."