Forgotten Omaha - Pioneers 1853 to 1867
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Published on: 10/27/13, 12:21 AM Pacific Standard Time
In 1853 William D. Brown operated the Lone Tree Ferry to shuttle California Gold Rush prospectors and Oregon Trail settlers across the river between Kanesville, Iowa and the Nebraska Territory.
While the city was young, there were no formal police or sheriff, or at least one with any significant authority. Compensating for the absence of the law, many early Omaha pioneers formed a claim club to create and enforce a legal system to their advantage.
The Omaha Claim Club took authority over many areas of the new city, generally focused on land-related issues. In the 1860s, ten years after the city's formation, early citizens also created the Old Settlers' Association to record the early history of the settlement.
Aside from Omaha, other early settlements and towns in the area include Fontenelle's Post founded in 1806; Fort Lisa founded 1806; Culter's Park, founded 1846; Bellevue, settled in 1804 and founded 1853; East Omaha, founded sometime in the 1850's; and Saratoga, founded 1857. The town of Florence was platted by James C. Mitchell in 1854 and founded in 1855.
The first minister in Omaha was Moses F. Shinn, a Methodist Episcopal Church leader from Council Bluffs. Most of Omaha's early pioneers, including Nebraska Territory politicians, soldiers from Fort Omaha and the early African-American community, were buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in North Omaha. Starting in 1887 Douglas County officials started recording the burials of poor people and people without a known identity in Potter's Field.
Located in far North Omaha, today Potter's Field is maintained by Forest Lawn Cemetery, which is located nearby. There is speculation that Mormon pioneers were buried there in the 1850s, as well.
The Nebraska State Capitol was moved from Omaha in 1867.
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Document Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Omaha,_Nebraska
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