publications

Confederate Corn

Robert W. Furnas, in addition to service as Nebraska governor (1873-75) and as a founder of the State Historical Society (1878), was a tireless promoter of agriculture. He served on the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and as a commissioner to several world’s fairs and expositions. At the St. Louis Fair in 1881 Furnas acquired an ear of corn grown on ex-Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s Mississippi farm. Furnas planted the corn in Nebraska, where “both ear and kernel doubled in size.” He then asked J. T. Allan, superintendent of Nebraska’s exhibit at St. Louis, to send a sample of the corn to Davis. The story of the corn, and Davis’s response, was published in Nebraska newspapers, including the St. Paul Phonograph, June 19, 1885.

Beauvior, Miss., May 15, 1885 J.T. Allan: Dear Sir: Your letter of the 7th instant would have been sooner answered but for my absence from home. I was grateful and much satisfied at the receipt of the white corn grown in Nebraska from the seed off my place. The great improvement was recognized and I have some of the seed planted on the sea-coast and some sent to my former home on the Mississippi River bottom. With grateful acknowledgements to Gov. Furnas and yourself for your very kind consideration, I am respectfully and truly yours,

Jefferson Davis.

Twenty years after the end of the Civil War, a common interest in agriculture forged a brief connection between a former Union officer from Nebraska, and the leader of the great rebellion.

 

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Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
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