October 29, 2022

Mead-Cockrell Family [RG4254.AM]


RG4254.AM: Mead-Cockrell Family

Papers: 1891-1974, n.d.
Chadron, Dawes County and Omaha, Douglas County, Neb.: Settlers
Size: 0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Elbert and Georgia (Hilbert) Mead, natives of Charlestown, West Virginia, settled in Chadron, Dawes County, Nebraska in 1886. Mr. Mead operated hardware, undertaking, and furniture businesses in Chadron until around 1910 when the family moved to Omaha. Their son Frank died at Camp Sheridan, Illinois in October 1918, a victim of the flu epidemic. Georgia Mead died in Omaha on July 30, 1932. Elbert Mead died in Omaha, probably in December of 1949. The Meads were survived by a daughter, Regina.

Georgia Mead’s sister was Regina (Hilbert) Cockrell, who married David S. Cockrell on March 17, 1884. Like the Meads, the Cockrells were natives of Charlestown, West Virginia. Apparently, the Cockrells moved to Chadron prior to the arrival of the Meads, as they homesteaded east of Chadron in 1885. David had been trained in carpentry by his father and had been in northwest Nebraska as early as 1876, helping to build the Pine Ridge Agency. He was also involved in the freighting business. Moving to the city of Chadron in 1892, Cockrell assisted in the building of the courthouse, the high school, and a local hotel. He died while working on a construction project in Lost Cabin, Wyoming, on January 19, 1901.

After David’s death, Regina supported herself by operating a novelty store from 1908 until her death on March 13, 1930. She was survived by her daughter, Ruth M. Cockrell, at that time an instructor in the public schools of Malvern, Iowa. Ruth became Dawes County, Nebraska Assistance Director in the 1930s. Ruth moved to Omaha in 1940 and lived in the Mead home while serving as head of the Travelers Aid Society. She died in Omaha in 1988.


This collection consists of one box of manuscript material arranged in two series: 1) Correspondence, 1891-1974, n.d.; and 2) Miscellany. The collection relates primarily to family news as reported in Mead family correspondence. Additional information on the Meads and related families, the Cockrells and Hilberts, is also included.

The correspondence, 1891-1974, n.d. of series 1 consists primarily of letters written among the Mead family. Of particular interest is a letter from Regina Mead to her parents in which she described the aftermath of the March 23, 1913 Omaha tornado. Frank Mead’s letters to his parents, 1918, describe his military training at Ft. Riley, Kansas and Camp Sheridan, Illinois. Other letters in the series relate to military compensation awarded after Frank Mead’s death and letters of condolence received after the death of Elbert Mead.

The miscellany of series 2 includes reminiscences about Chadron during the 1870s-1890s and the Battle of Wounded Knee, as well as a brief autobiographical sketch of Ruth Cockrell in which she describes the first graduation ceremony at Chadron State College. Certificates, programs, and legal documents are also included in this series, as well as family history items and materials on Chadron schools.

Note: See the photo component [RG4254.PH] for related images. Additional artifacts relating to the Mead-Cockrell family are held in the collections of the Nebraska History Museum. Not all items are on display. Interested researchers should contact the Museum Collections department to schedule an appointment.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1891-1974, n.d.

Box 1

  1. 1891-1903
  2. 1910-1915
  3. 1916-1917
  4. 1918
  5. 1921-1929
  6. 1931-1945
  7. 1949-1950, 1974
  8. n.d.

Series 2 – Miscellany

  1. Reminiscences about Chadron, 1870-1890 and the Battle of Wounded Knee; autobiographical sketch of Ruth Cockrell
  2. Certificates, programs, and legal documents
  3. Clippings, programs, and publications about Chadron schools (Chadron Academy, Chadron State College, Chadron High School) (See also OB008)
  4. Materials regarding family history

Subject headings:

Chadron (Neb.) — History
Cockrell family
Dawes County (Neb.) — History
Indians of North America — Wars
Mead family
Omaha (Neb.) — Tornado, 1913
Tornadoes — Nebraska — Omaha
United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Pine Ridge Agency
World War, 1914-1918
Wounded Knee Massacre, S.D., 1890

AIP/pmc 06-03-1988
PJE 07-01-1988
Encoded TMM 10-20-2010

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