President Andrew Johnson signed the act making Nebraska a state on March 1, 1867. This set off a fierce struggle over the location of the new state's Capitol. Since 1854, those residents living south of the Platte River had complained of lack of representation when Nebraska’s territorial capitol building had been located in Omaha.
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1914) was born in Scott County, Iowa, in 1846 and grew up on the prairie. When his father died in 1857, his mother moved to Kansas where Cody worked for a wagon-freight company as a mounted messenger and wrangler. In 1859, he tried his luck as a prospector in the Pikes Peak gold rush, and the next year, joined the Pony Express.
William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) was born in Illinois in 1860. His father, Silas L. Bryan, was a prominent and respected lawyer, who represented his district for eight years in the Illinois State Senate.
Wilella “Willa” Sibert Cather (1873-1947) was born in 1873 in the Back Creek Valley of Virginia. She was the oldest of seven children--four boys and three girls. She was taught at home and given classical authors to read.
The Morrill Act, also known as the Land Grant Act, was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. This act, named after its sponsor, Vermont congressman Justin Smith Morrill, gave each state thirty-thousand acres of public land for each Senator and Representative it had in congress. These numbers were based on the census of 1860.
Standing Bear, Ma-chu-nah-zha in the language of his people, was born in 1829 in the valley near the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers. He inherited the role of clan chief from his father. The Bear clan, one of nine bands of the Ponca led by head chief, White Eagle, oversaw the social life of the tribe, as well as ceremonies and rituals. He was known for his strength of character and his eloquent speaking abilities.
Oglala Sioux Chief Red Cloud (1821 - 1909) ranks historically in the top tier among the greatest Native American leaders. He was a courageous warrior, supreme military strategist, eloquent spokesman, and masterful statesmen in protecting his peoples’ rights and homelands.
Susette La Flesche Tibbles (1854-1903) was born in Bellevue in 1854, the year the Omaha gave up their Nebraska hunting grounds and agreed to move to a northeastern Nebraska reservation. She was the oldest daughter of Joseph La Flesche, the last recognized chief of the Omaha Tribe. Joseph was known as “Iron Eyes.”