Fort Niobrara

In 1883 the Nebraska Mutual Aid Colony of Bradford, Pennsylvania, was organized to found a settlement in Nebraska. The Fulton family of Bradford were members of the colony, but when the location finally chosen was in Brown County (then far from any railroad), the elder Fultons had second thoughts. Their daughter, Frances Sims Fulton, decided to visit the site of the colony herself and report back to her parents. This journey resulted in a travelogue entitled To and Through Nebraska, which was published in 1884 by the Nebraska State Journal Company. The book not only covers Fulton’s visit to the colony site, but also records her extensive travels throughout Nebraska. One place Miss Fulton stopped was Fort Niobrara:

“I had fancied I would see a fort such as they had in ‘ye olden times’–a block house with loop-holes to shoot through at the Indians. But instead I found Fort Niobrara more like a pleasant little village of nicely built houses, most of them of adobie brick, and arranged on three sides of a square. The officers’ homes [are] on the south side, all cottage houses, but large, handsomely built, and commodious. On the east are public buildings, chapel, library, lecture room, hall for balls and entertainments, etc. Along the north are the soldiers’ buildings; eating, sleeping, and reading rooms; also separate drinking and billiard rooms for the officers and privates.

“The drinking and playing of the privates, at least, are under restrictions; nothing but beer is allowed them, and betting is punished. On this side is the armory, store-houses of government goods, a general store, tailor, harness, and various shops. At the rear of the buildings are the stables–one for the gray and another for the sorrel horses, about one hundred of each, and also about seventy-five mules.

“The square is nicely trimmed and laid out in walks and planted in small trees, as it is but four years since the post, as it is more properly termed, was established. It all looked very pleasant, and I asked the driver if, as a rule, the soldiers enjoyed the life. He answered that it was a very monotonous life, as it is seldom they are called out to duty, and they are only wishing the Indians would give them a chance at a skirmish.”

Neither Frances Fulton or her parents finally settled in Nebraska. On May 16, 1884, Frances married Rev. Frank Herbert of Lincoln and the couple moved to South Dakota.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

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   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 ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.