NEBRASKAland November 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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NOVEMBER 2017 • NEBRASKAland 13 after locating the Red Willow townsite and their respective claims, announced their readiness to return." Townsite companies were common in Nebraska during the territorial period and the early years of statehood. Towns were often founded by groups of speculators who located sites, claimed land, and tried to convince prospective settlers to buy town lots. Such would-be cities were known as "paper towns." Some grew into actual towns, and some didn't. The now-unincorporated town of Red Willow (between present- day McCook and Indianola) became the county's first town in 1872. Kimmell continues his story: "Two of the company kept in camp by allotted duties, had no opportunity of attending to individual interests, and looked upon the proceedings as being extremely selfish and unjust, and so pronounced it in vigorous language. The usual way of eating was in regular camp style, each as he pleased, but in deference to the day, this dinner must be somewhat ceremonious. The tin plates were arranged as on a table and all sat around, except the two, who were not yet in a thankful frame of mind, and while a blessing was asked, one of them, in an aside, muttered quite sulphurous words. "After while, matters were so adjusted that the two shared in advantages taken by the others, and the lurid atmosphere cleared. Buffalo meat, wild turkey and prairie chicken were eaten with the regulation camp fare, among which was the inevitable flapjacks and syrup. It was too cold for the syrup to run, so it was cut off in chunks and lengths as it pressed through the bung hole of the keg. On occasion, one would become impatient for his sweet morsel, and reach over another to secure the piece for which the first was waiting, when exhibition of temper and ready use of strong words followed." May your Thanksgiving pass with warmer lodging and fewer "sulphurous words"! ■ Visit the Nebraska State Historical Society's website at An unidentified family in front of their dugout, presumably near McCook, Red Willow County, about 1890. NSHS RG3464-45

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