Our Historical Markers across Nebraska highlight fascinating moments and places in our state’s past.
Today, we’re focusing on a marker that tells the story of Bancroft through the lens of its most famous resident, John Neihardt.
2416-2466 Rd S, Bancroft, Cuming County, Nebraska
View this marker’s location 42.003105, -96.56346
Note: the word Indian is used instead of Native American as it was the norm at the time.
Bancroft was the home of John G. Neihardt between 1900 and 1920. Here he wrote all of his short stories and lyric poetry including A Bundle of Myrrh, The Splendid Wayfaring, and the Guest and began his epic poem A Cycle of the West which brought him high critical acclaim. Born in Illinois January 8, 1881, Neihardt lived in Kansas and Missouri before settling in Wayne, Nebraska in 1892. He began writing poetry at the age of twelve, worked his way through Nebraska Normal College at Wayne and taught school. In Bancroft he worked for an Indian trader and edited the Bancroft Blade. In 1921 he was appointed Poet Laureate of Nebraska by Legislative Act. Many Omaha Indians in the Bancroft vicinity helped the poet gain his profound understanding and compassion for their race. Among them were Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte and her sister Susette (Bright Eyes), daughters of Joseph La Flesche (Iron Eyes) last recognized chief of the Omaha. Susette, an eloquent and attractive speaker, was famous for her tireless and effective work in behalf of her people. She is buried beside her father and mother in the Bancroft cemetery.