The Omaha Daily Bee was certainly the largest and most influential Nebraska newspaper to include "Bee" in its name. Its longtime editor, Edward Rosewater (1841-1906), in 1870 entered the newspaper business and founded the Omaha Daily Tribune. Later the same year, however, he retired from the paper and was elected to the Nebraska Legislature, where he sponsored a bill providing for the creation of an Omaha school board, a measure which was to be submitted to the voters of Omaha.
"Our work is done," wrote Harrison Johnson (1822-1885) as he concluded his History of Nebraska, published in 1880. "The volume is completed, and only awaits the Introduction.
Nebraska in the early 1890s suffered from protracted drought, and farm prices fell to new lows. Conditions were so unfavorable that immigration, which had more than doubled the state's population in the 1880s, almost ceased. Nebraska's population only increased by seven thousand persons between 1890 and 1900. Some became so discouraged that they sold or gave up their property and left the state.
Arbor Day began inauspiciously as one of a number of efforts to encourage the planting of trees in barren Nebraska. The State Board of Agriculture had offered a prize of $50 for the best and largest grove of timber planted in 1870, and $25 for the second best and largest.
Can you imagine living in a sod house—not as a pioneer, but as a modern person? Some people do, and some e pioneer-era soddies survive as modern dwellings.
A recently occupied and well preserved sod house. Photo courtesy by Diane Laffin.