could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

National Guard Camp - 1905

        S. D. Butcher took about 40 pictures at the encampment here in Kearney and published them in a portfolio.  National Guard camps are now held at Ashland at a permanent facility.  One hundred years ago they were held at different locations around state each year.  In 1905 Kearney was awarded that designation.

Choosing Kearney
Early June 1905 – Kearney considered for annual encampment
        To last 9 days – Aug. 8-16

City estimated its cost - $400-$500
        City council thought they could easily find the funds

Adjutant General Culver came from Lincoln to look over the proposed encampment grounds.
        Several cities want the camp,
        All grounds had to be inspected before a final decision could be made.

The state National Guard target shoot would be held in Kearney beginning July 31- Aug 7

        (This was a clue about the final decision)

July 19, 1905 - It was finally official.
        About 1600 would be attending.
        It was thought that the camp would draw many visitors to see the maneuvers and drills.

        Local business men met about financing – in their interest to have this happen

Location of camp
First suggestion - the Old Ft. Kearny military grounds

Final decision - land south of the Industrial School.
        Camp to be on some of the Watson Ranch and on Industrial School pasture.
        Watson Ranch extended west from the Normal School grounds.
        Camp headquarters to be near the industrial school, 3 ˝ miles from the depot.

Arrangements made with the UP to use the cotton mill spur
        Soldiers could disembark and embark at the camp.
        Camp to be one mile across

Preparations (logistics & planning)
City was to provide water wells, barrels for ice, hay, and straw

Wells would have to be put down

Communication by a telephone system - constructed and operated by the signal corps.

“Kearney people have offered free bathing facilities to the troops.”

Food - provender
        Officers from the state level met with grocers, bakers and meat men to make arrangements.

        Biggest issue - bread, need 10,000 loaves.
        Contract with a local baker who will probably have to get extra from Omaha

Rifle Contest
Representatives of every company in the two regiments of the Nebraska National Guard would participate.
        32 men had proficiency good enough in target practice to participate

A team of 15 would be chosen would go to New Jersey for the national competition

End of July - Rifle range located on island in Platte southwest of the paper mill

        [which was on north side of railroad at present 30th Ave].

        Shooting station on the north side of the island,
        Shoot southwest, up stream.
        Since long range rifles were to be used people were to use caution.

People wishing to watch should go west along the railroad to the paper mill and the go south to the island.

Participants camped on the island.

Winners of the rifle contest –had the two highest scores - two privates from Stanton.
        None of the 15 going to New Jersey was from Kearney

Troop arrival

Commander had arranged a schedule of departures so all the troops would not arrive in Kearney at the same time.

Big social event

August 14, 1905 – Evening reception at industrial school

Given by the citizens of Kearney for Gov. Mickey and Nat. Guard officers
In administration building 2nd floor
A formal affair with governor and officers in receiving line
Building decorated with flowers raised on the grounds.
Grounds all trimmed and lots of flower beds in full bloom


August 18, 1905 - regarded to be one of the best if not the best since the Guard was organized

[Core of guard made up of Spanish-American War veterans]
Many of the recruits had enlisted just a few days before the encampment began
        When units marched into camp they were a bit ragged.
Within a few days they took on a soldierly appearance.

Few misbehaviors - immediately called to the attention of the appropriate officers and dealt with.

And Also....

Notice in paper on last day of encampment (August 17)

        Mrs. General Culver lost a gold nugget stick pin.
        Anyone finding it could turn it in to the Industrial School.

August 21, 1905
        While one man was at camp his wife was breaking camp.
        He returned home to Omaha to find his wife had left the 5-month-old baby with the hired girl and had moved out.

        Detectives found her in a room at 16th & Cass.
        The wife was allowed to return home.
        The man was placed in city jail - charged with being a suspicious character.

Other National Guard Activity
June 22, 1909 - Reunion at old Fort Kearney began the next day
        16 men from Company A in Kearney and 16 from Holdrege were to be in the camp as guards.
August 20, 1927
        Five Mattson brothers at National Guard Camp at Ashland
        One lieutenant, one sergeant, two corporals & one private
        The sergeant, Ivan, while lower rank at camp, is a member of the Kearney City Council
        The private would get his chance at command later
                There were two more brothers coming up.


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Revised: 02/08/2018