Map from PBS. Others plus History and
Stories of Nebraska, Nebr history on Univ of Ks
Nebraska - hard living on the Pioneer
Plains.The Nebraska Territory,
well before its 1854 statehood, encompassed what is now Nebraska and also North
and South Dakota. Even before that, this hard land in the northern plains was
simply part of what was called the "Great American Desert" that
encompassed Kansas, Nebraska, and everything north and west to the foot of the
Much of Nebraska's history is the story of the
tough, stong-willed pioneer farmer. Most of the first houses were built out of
sod because there were few trees. Sod houses were made of mixture of mud and
prairie plants. The big pioneer migration of homesteaders was in the 1860s when
much of the territory was granted free land for the taking. The government
sought to settle the vast prairie after it was ceded by various Indian tribes.
Nebraska's name comes from the Oto Indian word, "nebrathka, meaning 'flat water"
and it was the name for the Platte River. Towns are far apart, the vast land is
mostly large farms and ranches today.
For most but the Nebraska pioneers, this
territory was one to pass through. Both the Mormon and Oregon Trails passed
across this vast state near the prominent Platte River which windes from west to
east to south of Omaha, the state's largest city known for its vast stock yards
and other agribusiness. Belleview was the state's first settlement, founded
Immigrant Nathan Maddox
traced to Ohio, WestVa, Indiana, and Nebraska Nathan
Maddox was born about 1742 in England. He died after 1828 in Oiss,
Franklin County in western Virginia.
Some members of this family moved
westward to Ohio and Indiana and changed the spelling; they are well
researched, and presented on a colorful, historical website. Follow link to
Bryon Maddox's Nathan Maddox
|Falls City, Nebraska Maddoxes |
William Maddox, a Civil War
scout from Missouri is featured in a 1936 Nebraska newspaper article. The
feature was the result of a Maddox reunion in Otoe County where four Maddox
generations had been representated.
William Maddox was called the "First Permanent White Settler" in
southeastern Nebraska. According to the story, Maddox served as a Civil War
scout (pictured on the left and then later, on the right, below) as a
Quantrill Raider. This Maddox was not the only one serving
with the controversial and infamous Quantrill; another was similarly featured by
After the war, Maddox settled in
Falls City, NE to be in the general mercantile business. He was also a county
sheriff and member of the first territorial legislature which met in Omaha.
According to the paper, Maddox was made a member of the bar in 1871 and the
family had a large frame home in Fall City. Maddox retired from the hardware
buness in about 1890, the article said. He traded with friendly Indians who
could be seen quite frequently around Falls City, according to the article, and
he died January 10, 1918.
Included in the Maddox union
of 1936 here his children, among them Miss May Maddox of Falls City, Mrs. Anna
Cruns Genna, Mrs. Zillah Dietrick, Donihan, and Oscar H. Maddox of Missoula,
MT. Mention was made of their mother, who died in 1928, ten years after her
husband, and who lived in the Maddox homestead for fortyeight