The Nebraska flag is flying proudly as the state officially celebrates its 150th statehood day. There is a lot of history packed into those 150 years and Nebraska State Historical Society Trustee Jeff Barnes is an expert on the subject. He says those starting a journey on Nebraska history should first head to Brownville. He says there you will find a wonderful collection of pre-Civil War and 1860’s buildings. From there head to the Florence area of Omaha to see an 1840’s mill and a 1857 bank. They also have the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery and Visitor’s Center.
Many people know that General George Armstrong Custer’s last stand was the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana in June of 1876 but few know that Custer’s first stand was in Nebraska.
Barnes says, “The Republican River, just outside of Benkelman and that is where the 7th Calvary was first attacked by Indians on June 24, 1867, just a couple months after Nebraska became a state. That was actually nine years and one day before his last stand.”
Part of Nebraska’s history is honoring famous residents originally from the state. Barnes says there is one standout. Barnes says, “I would probably put that on Buffalo Bill. When he first came here he was a fairly obscure army scout. In his time, from when he first arrived in 1869 in the course of about 15 years he was the most famous person in the world. The world’s first superstar.” Barnes says Warren Buffett is either tied or comes in a close second with Buffalo Bill.
Other famous Nebraskans include actors Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Dick Cavett, Montgomery Clift, James Coburn, Sandy Dennis, Henry Fonda and Nick Nolte. President Gerald Ford was born in Nebraska as well as baseball great Bob Gibson, civil rights advocate Malcolm X, Indian rights advocate leaders Standing Bear and Red Cloud. The list goes on and on.