THE NEGROES OF NEBRASKA

Slavery In Nebraska


     (9) Negroes living in Nebraska immediately previous to the Civil War occupied a rather anomalous status. The majority were freemen, but a number of them were slaves. Nebraska, although part of the territory in which slavery as an institution did not exist, nevertheless recognized the property right of a slave-holder with regard to the slaves owned by him, when such slave-holder had acquired his property during residency in one of the states in which slavery was permitted. Consequently slave-holding in the Territory of Nebraska generated a number of bitter controversies, both civil and political. It persisted as a focal point of dissension until the question was decided for all time by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Space does not permit a discussion of several interesting incidents in this connection, notably the escape, November 25, 1858, of two slaves owned by S. F. Nuckolls of Nebraska City; the escape, June 30, 1860, of six slaves owned by Alexander Majors of Nebraska City; and the sale at public auction in Nebraska City, December 5, 1860, of two slaves. In January 1861, the Legislature passed, over Governor Black's veto, an act to abolish slavery in the Territory of Nebraska, and slavery per se ceased to be an open Issue.

     In 1854 there were thirteen slaves in Nebraska. In 1860, of eighty-two Negroes then living in Nebraska, ten were slaves. The first slave recorded in Omaha was owned by an Indian squaw, in 1854. All told, however, only fifteen slaves have been owned by permanent residents of Nebraska during the entire history of the State.

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