October 29, 2022

Fred Bruning, 1858-1940 [RG0826.AM]


RG0826.AM:  Fred Bruning, 1858-1940

Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska:  Businessman; politician
Size:  One folder


Born March 15, 1858 at St. Joseph, Missouri, Fred Bruning was the son of Henry and Margaret Bruning.  The Bruning family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1861.  In 1872 Fred went to work for the German language newspaper, Der Beobachter am Missouri (The Observer on the Missouri).  From 1873-1876 he worked for several local Omaha groceries and a druggist.  In the fall of 1876 he moved west to Camp Canby (Red Cloud Agency) where he went to work for the post trader.

In 1878 he took over a Pony Express/stage route near Fort Custer, Montana.  In 1879 he moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and went to work for the Quarter Master at Camp Carlin.  From 1880-1881 Fred hired out for pack train service and traveled to Utah where the Army was planning to establish Fort Duchesne.  He returned to Wyoming for a time and then in 1883 moved back to Omaha and established a grocery business.

He was involved in politics, serving as a delegate to the congressional convention in Lincoln where they nominated William Jennings Bryan.  In 1904 Bruning was elected County Commissioner for Douglas County.  He was Chairman of the Board on the County Commission when they started building the new/current Douglas County Courthouse.  Fred Bruning remained in Omaha until his death in 1940.


This collection consists of two copies of an account by Fred Bruning titled “Winter of 1876-1877 at Camp Canby,” and a handwritten autobiography. He writes of life working in fort trading posts in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah from 1876-1883, including one year at the Red Cloud Indian Agency. He returned to Omaha, Nebraska, where he writes of being in business, as well as being a Douglas County, Nebraska, Commissioner.



  1. Letter from Fred Bruning to the Nebraska State Historical Society, 1936 (and transcription)
  2. Autobiography by Fred Bruning
  3. Winter of 1876-1877 at Camp Canby by Fred Bruning

Subject headings:

Bruning family
Bruning, Fred, 1858-1940
Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925
Camp Canby (Nebraska) — History
Cavalry — Nebraska
Cavalry — Wyoming
County officials and employees — Nebraska — Douglas County
Douglas County (Nebraska) — History
Forts and fortifications — Nebraska
Forts and fortifications — West (U.S.)
Forts and fortifications — Wyoming
Frontier & pioneer life
Grocery stores
Indians of North America
McKinney, John Augustine, 1846-1876
Military life
Omaha (Nebraska) — History
Red Cloud Agency (Nebraska) — History
Red Cloud Indian Agency (Nebraska)
Retail trade — Nebraska — Omaha
Trading posts
United States. Army. Cavalry, 4th
Wyoming — History

Revised TMM         01-16-2016

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