publications

The Fool’s Graveyard

Most of us can’t resist engaging in one form of foolishness or another. Contrary to common

sense, doctors’ advice, and mothers’ naggings, we eat too much, exercise too little, drive too

fast, refuse to wear our seat belts and don’t floss our teeth. The same sort of willful disregard of

prudent behavior was prevalent at the turn of the century, with sometimes fatal results, as this

item from the Valentine Democrat attests:



“Take a walk through any of the cemeteries of the country, and you will almost believe that the

fools are slowly passing away. You pass the last resting place of the man who blew down the

gun to see if it was loaded. A little further down the hillside is buried the man who tried to see

how close he could pass in front of a moving train. In strolling about you pass the modest

monument of the hired girl that started a fire with kerosene and the grass-covered mound of

what remains of the boy that pulled the gentle mule’s tail.



“The tall shaft of the man who blew out the gas overshadows the boy who jumped from the

train to save a ten rods walk. Side by side lie the ethereal creature who always kept her corset

laced to the last hole and the intellectual idiot who rode a bicycle nine miles in ten minutes.



“Here reposes the doctor who took a dose of his own medicine, and just over there with the top

of a shoe box driven down by his head lies the old fool that married a young wife. Right over

yonder, in the northwest corner, the gentle breezes sigh through the weeping willows that bend

over the lowly bed where lies the fellow who told his mother-in-law that she lied.



“Down there in the potter’s field with his feet sticking out to the cold blasts of winter and the

blistering rays of the summer sun is stretched the earthly remains of the misguided regulator

who tried to lick the editor. The broken bones of the man who would not pay for his paper are

piled up in a corner of the fence.



“Over by the gate reposes the boy who went swimming on Sunday, and the old woman that kept

baking powder side by side with strychnine in the cupboard. These with others are quietly

waiting for Gabriel to blow his great awakening trumpet.”



 


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 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 ...
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.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

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

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.
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.