Daniel Gantt, 1814-1878 [RG3267.AM]


RG3267.AM:  Daniel Gantt, 1814-1878

Papers:  1830-1979, n.d.

Nebraska City, Otoe County, Neb.:  Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice

Size:  2 boxes; 1.0 cu.ft.


Daniel Gantt was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, on June 29, 1814, the son of Joseph and Mary Lobaugh Gantt. He received his early education in the public schools of Perry County, and later taught school in several nearby communities. Gantt was involved in various other occupations, including some surveying work, until he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1843. In 1842 Gantt married Miss Agnes Fulton of Perry County, and the couple remained in Pennsylvania until 1857. In May of that year they arrived in Nebraska Territory where they settled at Saratoga, Douglas County. On October 15, 1857, Agnes Gantt died of lung-fever and Daniel returned to Pennsylvania for the winter. The following spring he returned to Nebraska with his second wife, Harriet Cooper Gantt whom he had married in Pittsburgh.

After returning to Nebraska, Gantt became active in the political affairs of the Territory. Although unsuccessful in his initial campaign for the legislature, he was elected City Treasurer of Omaha in 1861. In the election of 1863, Gantt won a seat in the Territorial House of Representatives, where he served until the conclusion of the Legislative session. On May 10, 1864, President Lincoln appointed Gantt U.S. District Attorney for Nebraska Territory, a post he held for three years. In 1868 he moved to Nebraska City, Nebraska, where he re-established his private legal practice and in the summer of 1872, he was elected an Associate Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court. This position also included the duties of District Judge for the 1st Judicial District when the Supreme Court was not in session. In 1875 a new state Constitution relieved Supreme Court Judges of this latter duty, and Gantt remained on the bench of Nebraska’s high court. At the beginning of the January term of 1878, Gantt became Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, holding this position for five months until his death on May 28, 1878, at the age of 64.

Gantt was a member of the Presbyterian Church. He was affiliated with the Odd Fellows Lodge of Nebraska City and was active in the State organizations. He was survived by his wife, Harriet, and four children: Amos, T. Fulton, Mrs. Lena Chalfant, and Mrs. Mary Rorebeck.


This collection consists of manuscript material arranged in four series: 1) Daniel Gantt, 2) T. Fulton Gantt, 3) Amos E. Gantt and 4) Gantt-Chalfant-Crouch and Associated Families.

The correspondence and journal of Series 1 relate mainly to personal and family matters. The journal, kept by Daniel Gantt, is primarily an autobiographical record of significant events in his life, and also includes family genealogy, along with clippings and testimonials issued on the occasion of his death in 1878. The remainder of Series 1 consists of materials relating to Daniel Gantt’s career as U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Territory and Associate Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Series 2 contains material relating to Daniel Gantt’s son, T. Fulton Gantt. The diary, kept by T. Fulton Gantt, relates primarily to his work as a machinist and engineer with the Union pacific Railroad Company, at Omaha, and North Platte, Nebraska, 1865-1868. Also included in the diary are various financial records, apparently of Daniel Gantt. The bulk of Series 2 consists of the manuscript of T. Fulton Gantt’s book, Breaking the Chains: A Story of the Present Industrial Struggle, and associated materials. Also included in Series 2 are various speeches made by T. Fulton Gantt, and an issue of the Western Nebraskian, of which T. Fulton Gantt was the publisher for several years.

Series 3 consists of a bound volume of handwritten Otoe County District Court records compiled by Amos E. Gantt (son of Daniel Gantt).

Series 4 consists of one folder containing correspondence and a few other documents relating to members of the Gantt, Chalfant, and Crouch families.

Note:  See the Nebraska History index for various citations relating to Daniel Gantt and T. Fulton Gantt. See the NSHS Library Catalog for the book, The Knights in fiction : two labor novels of the 1880s edited by Mary C. Grimes [813.4 K71i]. See also the books, Gaunt-Gantt Family [929 G272o] and Chalfant-Shoemaker family history [929 C436o] by Mary Chalfant Ormsbee. Forty-four images of various members of the Gantt, Chalfant and Crouch families have also been added to the photo collections.


Series 1 – Daniel Gantt

Box 1


    1. Correspondence, 1858-1878

    1. Journal, 1830-1878

    1. Record/reference book, ca. 1860s-1870s

    1. Loose materials removed from Record/reference book

    1. Manuscript, “James DeCourey alias Josiah Boggs”

    1. Certificate appointing Daniel Gantt as U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Territory, 1864, May 10 (copy only – see the Nebraska History Museum collections for original)

      Internal Revenue license, 1865-1866

      Deed of Trust, Robert Smiley to Daniel Gantt, Aug. 20, 1858

    1. Lists of books owned by Daniel Gantt

    1. Biographical information

Series 2 – T. Fulton Gantt

    1. Correspondence, 1883-1896

    1. Diary, 1865-1868

    1. Manuscript, “Breaking the Chains: A Story of the Present Industrial Struggle,” pp. 1-119

Box 2


    1. Manuscript, “Breaking the Chains: A Story of the Present Industrial Struggle,” pp. 120-end

    1. “Breaking the Chains: A Story of the Present Industrial Struggle,” newspaper edition

    1. “Breaking the Chains: A Story of the Present Industrial Struggle,” copyright certificate

    1. Speeches, articles, etc.

    1. Western Nebraskian, North Platte, Nebraska, 1874, Dec. 18 (see OB003)

Series 3 – Amos E. Gantt

    1. “Forms of Pleadings,” Otoe County District Court

    1. Misc. loose items removed from “Forms of Pleadings”

Series 4 – Gantt-Chalfant-Crouch and Associated Families

    1. Misc. correspondence, etc., ca. 1860-1979


Subject headings:

Chalfant family

Crouch family

Gantt, Amos E.

Gantt, Daniel, 1814-1878

Gantt, T. Fulton, 1849-1897

Gantt family

Labor movement — Fiction

Politics and government — Nebraska

Working class — Fiction

Union Pacific Railroad Company (Omaha, Neb.)


JEP/pp   11-01-1969

Revised DDS/cr   11-18-1970

Revised KFK   04-14-2003

Revised TMM   11-28-2007

Encoded TMM   04-06-2010

Revised TMM   01-13-2014

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