Alvin Saunders

Image of Nebraska's first capitol

First Nebraska State Capitol, constructed in Lincoln from 1867 to 1868. NSHS RG1234-1 On March 1, 1867, President Andrew Johnson reluctantly signed the proclamation declaring Nebraska’s statehood. The signing ended the life of a territory which thirteen years earlier had been organized amid controversy.

First Saunders County Courthouse, built at Ashland in 1870. NSHS RG1121.PH8-28 (above).

President Abraham Lincoln was shot on the evening of April 14 one hundred and forty-five years ago. He died early in the morning on the following day. Among the items found on his desk after his untimely demise was the certificate proclaiming Alvin Saunders territorial governor for Nebraska. The document, on exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln, may be evidence of one of the last pieces of business the doomed president transacted. Just less than two years later, Nebraska would become a state, and its new capitol would be named in honor of the slain president.

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