Chronology of Scotts Bluff

We will use this page to develop a chronology of the Scotts Bluff region.


1804 – Lewis and Clark explore the mouth of the Platte River

1813 – Robert Stuart and six others working for John Jacob Astor become the first white men to traverse the Platte River Road

1820 – Lt. Stephen H. Longs concludes exploration and claims “the Great American Desert” uninhabitable

1823 – Fur trappers employed by William H. Ashley rediscover the South Pass at the headwaters of the Green and Platte Rivers

1828 – Death of Hiram Scott, namesake for county, town, and monument

1832 – Capt. Benjamin Bonneville leads a team of trappers and wagons across the continental divide for the first time

1836 – Narcissa Whitman and Elizabeth Spalding, missionary wives, are the first white women to travel up the Platte

1837 – A. J. Miller creates the first sketches of North Platte Valley landmarks and of Fort Laramie

1840 – The last American Fur Company caravan rendezvouses in the Rockies, accompanied by Joel Walker, first Oregon emigrant

1841 – The Bidwell party, the first emigrant company, leaves Kansas River for Oregon Territory

1843 – Led by Marcus Whitman, the first large-scale family migration to Oregon, from Independence

1846 – Oregon Territory is acquired by compromise, and the Mexican-American War begins

1847 – Brigham Young and his follower follow the north bank of the Platte River (i.e. the Mormon Trail) to the Salt Lake region

1849 – California gold rush begins, forty-niners flock across the overland trails

1851 – Trail began to run primarily through Mitchell Pass, named after General Robert B. Mitchell of Kansas Volunteer Cavalry

1852 – Second phase of the California gold rush begins, estimated 50,000 overland travelers

1854 – Nebraska Territory established with the Kansas-Nebraska Act

1855 – Harney Expedition against the Sioux, escalation of violence leading to the Indian Wars

1860 – Pony Express stations constructed at Chimney Rock, Scotts Bluff, and Horse Creek

1861 – Edward Creighton’s Telegraph line built along Oregon Trail, Pony Express goes bankrupt and defunct

1862 – Gold is discovered on Grasshopper Creek, sparking the Montana gold rush

1864 – Fort McPherson and Fort Mitchell are raised in response to Sioux attacks

1866 – Fort Laramie Peace Treaty fails and in December a force of Sioux and Cheyenne led by Red Cloud kill eighty men under the command of Captain Fetterman, General Sherman recommends the abandonment of Fort Kearny, last year of significant year of civilian overland travel by wagon

1867 – Nebraska admitted as a state

1868- Treaty of Fort Laramie was one of last major treaties between the United States and the Northern Great Plains tribes. It sought to end Indian resistance and gain territory by forcing Indian nations to live on reservations.

1869 – Transcontinental Railroad Completed

1873- Timber Culture Act gave settlers the opportunity to hold 160 acres without payment and tax free for up to ten years

1887- Dawes General Allotment Act (aka Severalty Act or the Dawes Act) declared that reservation land would be subdivided into individual lots, dismantling American Indian cultural understanding and practice of land use.

1887- Gering established

1887 – Farmers’ Canal Company formed

1890- Battle of Wounded Knee- Federal troops killed more than 200 mostly unarmed Lakota men, women, and children on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota

1892- Jerome Agreement passed

1900 –

1903- Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock case saw the loss of many Indian lands which were opened to non-Native settlers

1904- Land Allotment Act

1910 – The Union Pacific Railroad reached Gering

1910 – Great Western Sugar Company built refinery at Scottsbluff

1919 – Woodrow Wilson signed Presidential Proclamation creating Scotts Bluff National Monument

1924- Indian Citizenship Act clarified national suffrage for Indian people. While voting offers some remedies to American Indians troubles, the act did not grant them control over trust monies and land management

1934- Wheeler-Howard Act (Indian Reorganization Act) ended allotment, increased tribally owned land, and authorized tribes to organize constitutional governments empowered to negotiate with their federal, state, and local counter parts. It also created revolving credit tribes could use to finance economic development projects.

1937 – Summit Road completed by National Park Service

1946- Indian Claims Commissions Act declared that American Indians could seek financial compensation from the federal government for past mistreatment, such as violation of treaties and land seizures

1953- Public Law 280 ended federal law enforcement on tribal lands and brought the tribes of five mandatory states- California, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin- under state civil and criminal jurisdiction

1957- Indian Bounty Act supplied Nebraska with state funds for counties with heavy tribal populations and land bases

1968- American Indian Movement (AIM) was created. AIM seeks to address and correct issues faced by American Indians. AIM continues to exist but is most famous for many of its political stances during the 1970s

1974- The organization of Women of All Red Nations (WARN) consisted of American Indian women from over 30 tribes who sought to give a voice to Indian and women issues parallel to AIM

1975- Indian Self-Determination and Education Act

1978- Indian Religious Freedom Act gave legal protection for all members of the Native American Church to use peyote

1987- California v. Cabazon of Mission Indians determined that states could not regulate gambling on American Indian reservations

1988- Indian Gaming Regulatory Act established the classification of gaming at casinos

1990- Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) provides legal basis for American Indian religious practices and for the repatriation of Indian remains and cultural items held by museums





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