Kearney Public Library and the UNK History Department welcome you to the ongoing history brown bag lunch series Wednesday, November 14 from noon-1:00 p.m. at the library.
“The Kearney War: Cowboys, Settlers, Community Conflict on the Platte Valley Frontier, 1870-1885” Beginning in the early 1870s and stretching into the 1880s, Central Nebraska witnessed a series of deadly conflicts between recent settlers to the state and visiting cattle herders. The people of Kearney Junction exchanged gunfire with cowboys on the streets. Cattlemen in Custer County murdered and burned to death two homesteaders in 1878. In 1882, a pair of cowboys and suspected horse thieves shot and killed Sheriff Jack Woods and two citizens in a Minden eatery. While scholars have written volumes on cattle conflicts such as the Johnson County War in Wyoming, the Texas Range Wars, and Billy the Kid’s exploits in New Mexico, historians have produced little scholarship beyond local histories on the settler versus cowboy conflicts in Nebraska. This presentation will explore the conflicts produced by the collision of the farming and cattle frontiers in Central Nebraska and highlight how Nebraskans dealt with what they called “The Cowboy Menace.”
About the Author: Mark R. Ellis is a history professor and interim Graduate Dean at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. His research focuses on the legal history of the American frontier. He has written numerous articles on frontier law & order and is the author of Law and Order in Buffalo Bill’s Country: Legal Culture and Community on the Great Plains, 1867-1910.
This program is free and open to the public so bring your lunch and learn! Light refreshments will be provided. This is a collaborative program is presented by UNK History Department, History Nebraska and the Kearney Public Library. The library is located at 2020 1st Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska.