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.
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
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
“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
Contract with a local baker who will
probably have to get extra from Omaha
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
End of July - Rifle range located on island in Platte southwest of the paper
[which was on north side of railroad at present 30th Ave].
Shooting station on the north side of
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
None of the 15 going to New Jersey
was from Kearney
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
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.
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
There were two more brothers coming up.