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NEBRASKA

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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 331 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NEBRASKA, a state just N. of the centre of the U.S.A., lying approximately between 400 and 430 N. and between 18° 18' W., and 27° W. from Washington. It is bounded on the N. by South Dakota, on the E. by Iowa and a corner of Missouri, on the S. by Kansas, on the S. and W. by a corner of Colorado, and on the W. by Wyoming. The Missouri river extends along the eastern and north-eastern border. The extreme length of the state is about 430 m., and extreme breadth about 210 M. The area is 77,520 sq. m., of which 712 are water surface. Physical Features.—The state lies partly in the physiographic province of the Great Plains (covering more than four-fifths of its area) and partly in that of the Prairie Plains, and slopes gently from the N.W. to the S.E. The altitudes of extreme geographical points are as follows: Rulo, in the S.E. corner of the state, 842 ft.; Dakota city, in the N.E., 1102; Benkelman, in the S.W. in Dundy county, 2968; Kimball, in the S.W. in Kimball county, 4697; Harrison, in the N.W. corner, 4849 ft. There are three physiographic sub-divisions; the foot-hills (and Bad Lands), the sand-hills and the prairie—all three being portions of three great corresponding regions of the Great Plains and Prairie Plains provinces. The western portion of the state lies in the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountain system, and is much rougher than western Kansas. The surface of western Nebraska is characterized by high, barren table-323 lands, broken by canyons, dotted with buttes, and dominated by some bold and lofty ridges. Pine Ridge, a picturesque escarpment of the Great Plains, cuts across the N.W. corner of Nebraska from Wyoming into South Dakota. A ridge of low hills and bluffs, often precipitous, marked by buttes and deeply cut in places by canyons, it is the most striking surface feature of the state. The altitude in this region varies from 3500 to 5000 ft. In the fork of the North and South Platte are the Wild Cat Mountains with contours rising to 5300 ft., in which Wild Cat Mountain, long reported as the highest point in the state, attains 5038 ft., Hogback Mountain 5082 ft., and various other hills—Gabe Rock (5006), Big Horn Mountain (4718), Coliseum Rock (5050), Scotts Bluff (4662) &c.—rise to heights of 45oo to 5000 ft. In the extreme N.W. the White river and Hat Creek have carved canyons in deep lacustrine deposits, creating fantastic cliffs and buttes, bare of vegetation, gashed with drainage channels, and baked by the sun. The buttes—bare, pyramidal or conical, flat-topped, precipitous hills, and often fantastic, towering pinnacles—are rather widely distributed through the foot-hill region. They are never more than 600 to I000 ft. above the surrounding country. Nature is not grand in any part of Nebraska, but the Bad Lands are imposing, and in the wooded foot-hills there is an abundance of bold and attractive scenery, particularly in Sioux county, and in Cherry county around Valentine and on the canyon of the Snake river. East of the Bad Lands is the sand-hill region, which includes an area of possibly 20,000 sq. m. The sand-hills proper are scattered over an area of perhaps 15,000 sq. m., between the meridians of 98° and I03° W. long., lying mainly N. of the Platte; though there are some along the Republican river. In places they rise in tiers, one above another, like miniature mountains, and are 200 to 300 ft. high; but in general they are very low (25-50 ft. high) and are scattered over a plain. Their present contours are wholly the result of wind action. Save in rare instances, however, they have long ceased to be shifting dunes; for, with the cessation of prairie fires and the increase of settlement, they have become well grassed (ver and stable; although sand-draws, and even occasional " blow-outs" scooped by the winds in the summits or sides of the hills are still characteristic Iandmarks. All about and inter-penetrating the foot-hill and sand-hill regions are the prairies, which include three-fourths of the state. They are sometimes characteristically flat over wide areas, but are usually gently rolling. Stream valleys and bottom lands are the conspicuous modifying feature of the prairie region; but in general, owing to the gentle slope of the streams and the great breadth of the plains, erosion has been slight; and indeed the streams, overloaded in seasonal freshets, are building up their valley floors. The water-partings are characteristically level uplands, often with shallow depressions, once lakes, and some of them still so. The valleys of the greatest streams are huge shallow troughs. The valley floor of the North Platte in the foot-hills, the flood-plain of an older river, is in places 700 ft. or more below the bounding tableland, and to to 15 m. wide; the present flood-plain being from I to 4 m. in width. Hundreds of small tributaries to the greater streams (especially along the Republican and the Logan) complicate and beautify the landscape. No farming country is richer in quiet and diversifed scenic charm than the prairies of the eastern half of the state. The Missouri is noteworthy for high bluffs cut by ravines, which border it almost continuously or at least one side. In the foot-hills there are typical canyons, as along the Platte forks, and in the northern edge of the sand-hills. Those of the upper Republican are the largest, those of the Bad Lands are the most peculiar; and the Niobrara tributary system is the most developed. Rivers.—The Missouri skirts the eastern border for perhaps 500 M. It is not navigated, and save at Sioux City and Omaha serves practically no economic purposes, irrigation. being unnecessary in the counties on which it borders. Its bluffs, cut for the most part in the loess but at places in the rock, are frequently from Too to 200 ft. high. At Vermilion, South Dakota, its alluvial plain, 1131 ft. above the sea, is 330 ft. above the mouth of the Nemaha. The current is always rapid and heavily loaded with sediment,' and its axis is forever shifting. Large areas of soil are thus shifted back and forth between Nebraska and the bordering states, to the encouragement of border lawlessness and uncertainty of titles; some portions E. of the thread and apparently well within Iowa remain under the jurisdiction of Nebraska, or vice versa; and Yankton has been seriously threatened with a sudden transfer from the South Dakota to the Nebraska side. The Platte system is also heavily loaded with sediment in Nebraska. The North and South forks both rise in Colorado; each, especially the latter, has a rapid primary descent, and a very gradual fall down the foot-hills of the Great Plains? Across Nebraska it maintains a remarkably straight course and an extraordinarily even gradient (about 6 ft. per mile). In the spring freshets it is a magnificent stream, but in summer its volume greatly shrinks, and it is normally a broad, shallow, sluggish, stream, flowing through interlacing channels among the sand-bars it heaps athwart its course. The underfiow is probably much greater than the summer 1 About 52 grains per gallon at low water, 404 at high. 2 The North Platte falls 3700 ft. in 510 m., the South, 7200 ft. in 427 m., above their junction; the latter falling 2692 ft. in 308 m. after leaving its canyon in the Rockies. surface flow in volume. The Loup system is remarkable for the even dip of its parallel feeders, which once joined the Platte separately, until the latter banked up, its deposits across the mouths of their more sluggish currents. he Republican and South Platte—the former an intermittent stream—suffer in their flow from the drain made upon their waters in Colorado for irrigation. The upper course of the Niobrara above the Keya Paha is in a narrow gorge. Its immediate bluffs and the shores of some of its tributaries, notably the Snake, are modified by canons. This system is also notable among Nebraska streams for a number of pretty water-falls. The White river, heading on Pine Ridge, falls 1 loo ft. in 20 M. Some streams wholly dry up in the dry seasons, and in the foot-hills and sand-hills there are a few that disappear by sinking or evaporation. Surface Water.—Swamps and bogs, apart from purely temporary weather ponds, are confined to a few restricted regions of the Missouri river bottoms and the prairies of the S.E. There are some cut-offs or oxbow lakes along the Missouri, and many lakelets origin-ally such are scattered along the Platte, Elkhorn, Big Blue and other rivers. Scores of lakes are scattered about the heads of streams rising in the sand-hills, especially in Cherry county. Some of them are fresh and some alkaline. Springs also are numerous in the sand-hills, where they form considerable streams. They often flow with force and are known locally from this peculiarity as " artesian " springs, or sometimes, from this and their large size, as " mound " springs. The state fish-hatchery is on springs at South Bend; at Long Pine springs of large flow supply the town and railway shops with water, and led to the establishment here of Chautauqua grounds. Underground Water.—The so-called blowing-wells are peculiar. They occur over much of the state, but most frequently S. of the Platte, and are evidently sensitive to barometric conditions; alternately " blowing " or '' sucking " as these vary; so that, in cold weather water-pipes may be frozen too or more feet below the surface of the ground. Atmospheric pressure is probably the principal cause of their action; they are therefore termed ' weather wells " in some localities. Nearly all counties have a practically inexhaustible supply of ground water. Well-depths vary from 15 to 20 ft. in the stream valleys and from 30 to 35 ft. on the loess prairies to 100-400 ft. in the western foot-hill region and isolated prairie areas. Artesian water is also available in many parts of the state. At Niobrara, in Knox county, a well 656 ft. deep, drilled in 1896, yielded for a time 2500 gallons per minute at 95-lb pressure (in 1903 1900 gallons at 65-lb pressure), and furnishes power for a flour-mill and municipal water and electric lighting works; the pressure forces the water about 210 ft. above the mouth of the well, i.e. to a height of 1450 ft. Another (1430 ft. deep), in the environs of Omaha, supplies a daily flow of 1,100,000 gallons under a pressure of 15 lb. In some small and exceptional regions the water is very alkaline, and in the counties of the south-east it is so generally saline that it is difficult, below 150 ft., to avoid an inflow of salt water. Saline wells at Lincoln (2463, 1050 and 570 ft. deep) and at Beatrice (1260 ft.) are notable in this regard. Geology.—The eastern part of the state is covered with a thick mantle of Quaternary (Pleistocene), and the greatest part of the western portion with very thick deposits of Miocene and Pliocene (Tertiary). To the Pleistocene belong the alluvium, loess and glacial drift, and in part the sand-hills. The drift covers the eastern fifth of the state. In striking contrast to Iowa. the Nebraska deposit is very thin, seldom thicker than 1 or 2 ft. Above the drift there is usually a heavy covering of loess or " bluff deposit " (particularly typical in the neighbourhood of Omaha and Council Bluffs). Though thin and worn out in places, it averages probably too ft., and is often as much as 200 ft. in thickness, and runs diagonally across the state from the N.E. to the Colorado inset. The opinion that it is of aqueous origin (and probably dates from the close of the glacial time) has the weight of authority. It was spread by the rivers: some et idences of wind action may be attributed to a later period. The sand-hills, which overlap the loess N. of the Platte, are probably mainly derived from the Arikaree, but probably also in part from the early Pleistocene. West of 102° long. there are beds several hundred feet thick of late Tertiary sands and clays. The Arikaree (Miocene) and Ogallala (Pliocene) formations of the North Loup beds are superficial over much of the western half of the state, the former to the N., the latter to the S. The buttes are characteristically Arikaree or Gering formations topping Brule clay. The same is true of at least considerable parts of Pine Ridge. In the Bad Lands there are scanty outcrops of the Chadron formation (known also as " Titanotherium beds "), the oldest of the Tertiary beds. The thick superficial coverings over the state make difficult the determination of the underlying strata. There are only very scanty outcrops except along the rivers. No Archean rocks are exposed in Nebraska, and the sedimentary formations are undisturbed in situ. The Palaeozoic era is represented only by the Pennsylvanian series of the Upper Carboniferous and a scanty strip of Kansas-Nebraska Permian, and is confined to the S.E. counties. But, though small in area, the Carboniferous is by far the most important formation as regards mineral resources within the state. It is buried probably 2000 or goo ft. in central Nebraska, outcropping again only in the Rocky Mountains. Upon it, in the trough thus formed, rest conformably the basal strata of the Cretaceous; the Jurassic and Triassic being wholly absent (unless in the extreme north-west), The E. limit ofthe Cretaceous extends across the state from N. to S. between 98° and 99° W. long. Its groups include the Dakota formation, characterized by a very peculiar rusty sandstone, and the Benton, both of which are rather widely accessible and heavy; the Niobrara; the Pierre shales, which apparently underlie about three-quarters of the state in a deep and heavy bed; and, in the extreme west, the Laramie. There are almost no Cretaceous outcrops except on the streams, especially the Niobrara, Republican and Platte rivers—and in the Bad Lands. The superficial Miocene and Pliocene deposits in the west, above referred to, are underlaid by the White river groups of the Oligocene, whose outcrops of Brule clay and Chadron formation also have been mentioned. The Bad Lands are essentially nothing but fresh-water mud excessively weathered and eroded. They are often intersected by dikes of chalcedony, formerly mistaken for lava. The Bad Lands and the Arikaree are famous fossil fields, the latter being the source of the Daemonelix, or " Devil's cork-screw," a large spiral fossil, apparently a lacustrine alga. It was once generally supposed that the Pliocene epoch in Nebraska was distinguished by the activity of geysers; but the so-called " geyserite " now known commonly and correctly as "natural pumice " and " volcanic ash," which is found in the Oligocene and later formations, has no connexion whatever with geysers, but is produced by the shattering of volcanic rock. It occurs widely in Nebraska and adjoining states. Minerals.—Mineral resources are decidedly limited; the total value of the mineral output (excluding coal) in 1907 was $1,383,916, of which $953,432 was the value of clay products, $324,239 of stone, and $54,227 of sand and gravel. The state, however, is particularly rich in good clays, which are probably its greatest mineral resource. Calcite of excellent quality is the commonest mineral. Gravel is widely obtainable, and sand of the finest quality is available in inexhaustible quantities, and is an important article of export. Flint (valuable for railway ballast) occurs in immense quantities about Wymore and Blue Springs. The underground salt water flow promised once to be a resource of value, especially in the vicinity of Lincoln, but has proved of little or no value in comparison with the great salt-beds of Kansas. A native plaster is yielded by the Arikaree and Ogallala rocks, but though otherwise of excellent qualities it is ruined by slight exposure to the water. A diatomaceous earth in central Nebraska, occurring especially in the region of Loup, is a good polishing powder, and is used for packing steam pipes. Limonite in the form of ochre occurs in considerable quantity. Of building stones limestones are the most abundant and important, the best comes from the Benton beds and when " green " can be sawed into blocks. The Dakota formation, though its sand-stones are in general coarse or otherwise inferior, yields some of splendid quality. Its clays. which are of all colours, are the most valuable of the state. The finest building stone is a beautiful green quartzite rock of dense, fine texture and lasting quality. It is related to the Ogallala beds and occurs only in small areas. The quarries and clay pits of the state are mainly in the Carboniferous region of the S.E. Cretaceous lignite occurs in small quantities in the N.E., and peat more widely. The Carboniferous formations carry only thin seams of coal, never thicker than about 2 ft., and rarely readily accessible, and they can never be of more than small and merely local importance. Flora.—Nebraska lies partly in the arid, or Upper Sonoran, and partly in the humid, or Carolinian, area of the Upper Austral life-zone; the divisional line being placed by the United States Biological Survey at about too° W. long. The most marked characteristic of Nebraskan vegetation is its immigrant character, and the state has been called " one of the finest illustrations of the commingling of contiguous species to be found anywhere in America " (C. E. Bessey). Immigrant species have even come from Texas and New Mexico, from the Dakotas and the Rockies. From the last-named various species have crept two-thirds of the way across the state, one (the buffalo berry) wholly covers it, and some have barely crossed into the border foot-hills from Wyoming. A very few trees and shrubs, and some grasses, are strictly endemic to the plains and to Nebraska. Four floral regions lying in north to south belts across the state, and closely corresponding to—though in boundaries by no means coinciding with—its great topographic divisions are distinguished in the regions of the Missouri border, the prairies, sand-hills and foot-hills. In 1896 some 3196, and by 1905 fully 3300 species had been listed, " representing every branch and nearly every class of the vegetable kingdom " (C. E. Bessey). There are at least 64 trees and at least 77 shrubs growing native in the state; but of their joint number a mere half-dozen or so can be classed as strictly endemic. Small woods of broad-leaf trees (and red cedars) grow very generally along all the water-courses of the state; and coniferous species grow along Pine Ridge and the Wild Cat Mountains. In the East, various trees are readily grown on the uplands; in the West the honey-locust, the Osage orange and Russian mulberry for windbreaks; the green ash, and red cedar are perhaps the most valuable drought resisting species. The conifers are spreading naturally. In the sand-hills the sand-bar willow of the rivers and the cottonwood growing naturally, evidence the good conditions of moisture; and the forestation of much of the region is undoubtedly possible. Forest reserves were established on the Dismal river in 1902 and millions of seedlings had been grown by 1906 for transplantation in Nebraska and other states of the Great Plains. Arbor Day (the loth of April) was instituted by the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture in 1872 at the instance of Sterling Morton, later secretary of agriculture of the United Mates (see ARBOR DAY). It has been yearly observed by the public schools of the state, and no state has done more than Nebraska for the forestation of its waste and prairie lands. In such a purely agricultural state a large wooded area is not desired. Plums, grapes and the dwarf " sand-cherry " (Prunus demissa) of the sand-hills are prominent among many wild fruits. The flora is decidedly rich in species as compared with other states, but less so in the number of individuals. Grasses are perhaps the most noteworthy vegetable forms. Nebraska claims a greater variety of native hay and forage species than grow in any other state of the Union. No less than 200 grasses, at least 154 being wild or commonly cultivated, had been listed in 1904. Of the total 200 species 150 (130 indigenous) are valuable for forage, 34 (20 indigenous) are classed economically as weeds, to are non-indigenous cereals and 6 are ornamental. The short buffalo-grass was originally everywhere abundant, but it had practically disappeared by 1890 from the eastern half of the state, and since then has steadily become more restricted in habitat. The native prairie grasses have been in considerable part displaced by grasses introduced from more humid regicns. Weeds are very numerous (about 125) ; and some, notably the sand-bur (Soianum rostratum) cockle-bur, and tumble-weeds among indigenous, and the Russian thistle (Salsola tragus) and purslane among non-indigenous species, are agricultural pests. Nothing can surpass in beauty the rank grasses and bright flowers that grow on the lowlands and rolling uplands of a virgin prairie—now hardly to be found in the state. The common sunflower (the most conspicuous weed of the state) and allied flowers, which spring up in myriads even in the midst of unbroken prairie wherever this is disturbed, line the roads with yellow bands from horizon to horizon, enclose the broken fields and choke waste places. Fauna.—The fauna of the state is not known with the same thoroughness and detail as the flora, but it too is varied. This is notably true of birds and of insects. Of the latter there are probably 12,000 to 15,000 species, including 140 butterflies, at least 18o grasshoppers, several hundred bees, &c. The so-called " grass hoppers," true locusts, have done great damage at times in Nebraska. About a third of all the species known in the United States are found within the state or close to its borders, and of these, 9 or 10 are so common that their increase under conditions favourable to their development may be a danger Such conditions are found in dry years, unfavourable to their chief parasitic enemies, favourable to their own breeding, and the cause of their migrations. There were locust plagues in 1874, 1876 and 1877. Fungus parasites have been used with some, but on the whole rather slight, success, and mechanical appliances with perhaps greater success, in combating these pests. Birds are more effective. As in the case of plants, western, eastern, northern and southern avian species meet in Nebraska. In 1905 some 415 to 420 species had been found within its borders, and more than half of these were known to nest in the state; 120 had been counted in the winter. The lakes of the sand-hills are the breeding-place--less so as settlement increases—of myriads of water-fowl. Before the advent of the white man Nebraska was full of wild mammals, the buffalo, elk, black and white tailed deer, antelope, bears, timber wolves, panthers (pumas), lynx, otter and mink being common. Almost all that remain are black bears, foxes, coyotes (prairie wolves), mink, musk-rats, raccoons and prairie dogs (or gophers). Antelope were not uncommon in the west and northwest until after 1890. The coyote is still so common even in the east as to be a nuisance to the farmer; in 1907 a bounty law was in force which provided for the payment of a state bounty of $5, on every grey wolf, $1.25 on every coyote and $1 on every lynx (wild cat). A few rodents have increased in numbers; the prairie dog especially is a pest in the alfalfa fields of the arid lands (as are pocket-gophers at places in the east). Climate.—The climate of Nebraska is typically inland or continental; i.e. it is characterized by " winters of considerable severity, summers of unusual warmth, rainfall in limited quantities, marked and sudden changes of temperature, large seasonal and daily temperature ranges, and dry, salubrious atmosphere, with a small percentage of cloudiness, and a large percentage of sunshine."r The average wind velocity for the High Plains of Nebraska and adjoining states is about to to 12 m.; 25 M. is not uncommon; and a velocity of 40 M. and over is recorded a half-dozen or more times every year. In spring velocities of 15 to 20 M. are common. The average velocity of winds for the entire state for 11 years preceding 1906 was 9.8 m. per hour. The prevailing directions are those common to a large part of the western Mississippi valley. The prevailing wind of the year is N.W.; but in the spring, the summer and much of the autumn its predominance is greatly reduced or overcome by S. and S.W. winds blowing from the Gulf of Mexico (but deflected by the rotation of the earth). Sometimes these winds blow in the winter—causing the curious phenomenon of melting snows on the coldest days of the year; in the summer in seasons of drought, especially in the western part of the state, this wind from the Gult sometimes reaches Nebraska r Senate Executive Document 115 (vol. 10), 51 Congress, 1 Session (1890), Climate of Nebraska.wrung dry of its moisture and so hot that in a day or two it shrivels and ruins the crops in its path. Such calamities are, however, uncommon, and the belief that Nebraska is often visited by tornadoes is erroneous. The normal mean-annual temperature of the state is about 48.7 ° F, and the normals for the six approximately equal weather sections into which the state is divided by the National Weather Service are respectively about 48°, 50.5 48.6 50.40, 47`9° and 46.6° F. This illustrates the extraordinary homogeneity of climatic conditions. But there is a considerable difference in the averages for different months—the normal means of January and July through 30 years being 20.9° and 74.6° F., and the means of spring, summer, autumn and winter respectively about 48°, 72°, 53° and 23.50 F. Thus there is for any particular locality a wide range in absolute temperature through the year, which averages for the state probably about 120° (1897-1905). Similarly, the range is large through the day, especially in the higher altitudes, where the nights are almost invariably cool and refreshing after even the hottest day. The number of continuous days with a mean temperature above 50° F., averages probably about 175 for the state. The actual growing-season between frosts is, however, not so great. Temperature is of course lower as one moves to the N. and N.W., the initial planting and harvesting of each crop progressing wave-like across the state in from one to two weeks. Especially in the W. and N.W. there are in some winters occasional anti-cyclonic or high-area storms known as blizzards—wind-storms preceded or accompanied by snow-fall—which are very severe. They continue from one to three days, and are habitually followed by very low temperature. They are the cause of great loss to the cattle owners. Such storms are, however, rare. In the S.E. portion of the state the winters are characteristically mild and open. Temperatures below zero are rare for any locality; and the same may be said of temperatures above 95° in summer. The normal mean-annual precipitation for the whole state is about 23.84 in. in rain and melted snow, the actual yearly fall varying through 30 years between 13.30 and 31.65 in. Such rainfall might seem inadequate for an agricultural country: moreover, the eastern half of the state is more favoured than the western, which belongs, indeed, to the semi-arid Great Plains on which the Reclamation Service of the United States Government is active. But aridity is a. matter of the efficiency rather than of the mere quantity of rainfall, and in this regard Nebraska is very fortunately situated. Rain is most plenteous in the critical months of the year. Seven-tenths of all precipitation falls in the growing season, giving the state, especially in the east, a greater amount at this time than many other states whose aggregate yearly rainfall is greater; so that Nebraska has an abundance for the safest cultivation. Moreover, nine-tenths of the rainfall is absorbed by the loess and sandy soils, only one-tenth being " run-off." It is a widely spread but unfounded belief in Nebraska that the rainfall has been increasing since the settlement of the state. That its storage has very greatly increased as cultivation has been extended (the prairie sod sheds water like a roof) is true; moreover, the spread of scientific principles of farming has increased the advantage derived from the ground-water stored. Efficient rainfall has thus been greatly increased. Intermittent streanilets may well become perennial, and many are probably, as reported, becoming so. It is even conceivable that the settlement of the state may affect the seasonal distribution of precipitation ; and that an advantageous alteration has in fact resulted is believed by many. The climate of Nebraska is exceptionally healthy. Its beneficial qualities must be attributed to the state's inland situation, its dry and pure air, constant winds and splendid drainage, to which its even slope and peculiar soil alike contribute. In some people, however, nervousness is induced; and the winds, in particular, often have this effect. Autumn is perhaps the finest season; the fields are green into the winter, the air is pure and fresh, though dry and warm, and the long season is delightfully mild and beautiful. The arid portion, as compared with the eastern portion, of the state has alike the advantages and disadvantages of a climate more sharply characterized. Soil.—Geologically Nebraska is one of the most typical agricultural states of the Union; although in the present distribution of industrial interests agriculture is by no means so predominant as in some southern states. The basis of the soils is sands (coarse, fine or silt) ; clay beds, though economically important, are in quantity relatively scant. In the eastern half silt, and in the western fine sand, form the bulk of the soil. There are five well-defined soil regions corresponding to the geologic-topographic divisions already indicated of drift loess, sand-hills, foot-hills and Bad Lands. The loess is a " salt, fine sandy loam with a large percentage of sand or silt, and considerable calcareous matter, and usually a small amount of clay." It contains considerable humic matter, discolouring rapidly in the air (when exposed it is characteristically a bright buff). It is of extraordinary fertility, and its great depth (in Lincoln and Dawson counties bluffs 200 ft. thick are found) is a guarantee of almost inexhaustible re-sources. The glacial drift is also a useful deposit, coarse ingredients in it being of small amount (rare boulders, and some gravel). The superficial soil over most of the state, and everywhere in the E. except rarely where the loess or drift is bare, is a rich, black vegetable mould, 1 to 5 ft. thick on the uplands. The sand-hills are not inherently infertile; the soil never bakes, is always receptive of moisture, absorbing water like a sponge and holding it well. There is a great amount of fertile valley land, adequately watered. Alfalfa and other cultivated grasses are encroaching on the whole region, and even the natural arid-land bunch grasses make excellent grazing. The " butte " soil of the W. is a fine sandy soil, characteristically calcareous, derived from the Arikaree. With it also moisture is a great factor in its productivity. The Bad Lands are by no means infertile (their name, it should be noted, was originally Mauvaises terres a traverser) ; but they are almost destitute of ground water, though containing many green " pockets " where surface water can be stored. They contain much clay and marls, non-absorbent and subject to such excessive wash that vegetation cannot gain a foot-hold. In various parts of the west are small tracts of so-called " gumbo " soil; they are due to the Pierre shale, are poorly drained and characteristically alkaline. Small alkaline areas also occur about lakes in the sand-hills. Where surface water is adequate the regions of the Pierre shale make splendid grazing lands; but in general they are not very useful for agriculture. Salt lands occur about Salt Creek notably around Lincoln. The stream bottoms of alluvium are modified by loess and humic deposits, and are of course very fertile; but hardly more so than the loess of the uplands. Agriculture.—Agriculture is not only the chief industry but is also the foundation of the commerce and manufactures of the state. In 1900, of the total area 60.8 % was reported as included in farms, and 37.5% as actually improved. The rank of the state in the Union was 13th in value of farm property, and loth in value of farm products. The farm value was $747,950,057, an increase since 1890 of 46.1 %; while the total product-value was $162,696,386—an increase (partly factitious) of 143.4% in the same period. A greater part of the state was reported improved in 1890 than in 1900; the change was due to the increase of stock-raising in the West. Similarly, the size of the average farm increased from 156.9 acres in 1880 to 190.1 in 1890, and 246.1 in 1900, although in eastern Nebraska there was a contrary tendency. Under the Kincaid law, which permits entire sections instead of quarter sections (160 acres) to be homesteaded, this movement has been fostered. In the years 1880–1900 the number of farms operated by cash tenants rose from 3.1 to 9.6 %; of share tenants from 14.9 to 27.3% of the total. There is no appreciable tendency toward management for absentee owners. The census of 1900 showed that not less than two-fifths of the total net income came from live stock or from hay, grain and forage on farms representing together 96% of the farm-value of the state—live stock being a trifle more important; dairying was similarly predominant for 1.6%, and beet-sugar for o.1 %. Other crops were unimportant sources of revenue. Sugar-beet culture has developed since about 1889; it is localized largely in Lincoln county, near North Platte, though beets are raised over a large part (especially the western part) of the state. In 1907 about Ii,000 acres were planted to sugar beets. The principal factory for the slicing of the beets is one built at Grand Island, Hall county, in 1890. The dairy interest is rapidly growing, but is still exceeded in other states. Omaha is a great dairy market. Nebraska ranks very high in the production of cattle and hogs. A fourth of all animal products are represented by milk, butter and cheese, eggs and poultry; the rest by animals killed on the farm or sold for slaughter, most of them going to supply the meat-packing industry of South Omaha. Wild, salt and prairie grasses make up the bulk of the forage acreage, but the cultivated crops—especially millet and Hungarian grasses and alfalfa—are more important. Holt county in the Elkhorn valley, and Sheridan county in the foot-hills, produce more than half the hay-crop of the state. Alfalfa can be grown with more or less success in every county of the state, not excepting areas where clay or sand form the sub-soil; but on the uplands of the central part of the state it is produced with the greatest success and in the greatest quantities. In 1908, according to the reports of the state Board of Agriculture, the crop of Custer, Dawson and Buffalo counties was about 15% of the total crop (1,846,703 tons) of the state. The_ product was quintupled between 1899 and 1905, and between 1905 and 1908 the increase was about 40 %. It has been a great aid to western Nebraska as to other portions of the Great Plains. Sorghum and kafir corn are also excellent, and broom-corn fairly good, as drought-resistant crops; the last, which is of lessening importance, is localized in Cass, Saunders and Polk counties. Cereals are by far the most important crops, representing in 1899 four-fifths of farmed land and crop values. Allowing for variations in " off years," but speaking with as much exactness as is possible, Nebraska has established her position since about 1900 in the third, fourth and fifth rank respectively among the states of the Union, in the production of Indian corn, wheat and oats. Of these, Indian corn is by far the most important, representing normally about two-thirds of the total crop value; while wheat and oats each represented in 1906 about one-seventh of the total crop, and rye, barley, kafir-corn and buckwheat make up the small remainder. Indian corn is grown to some extent all over the state, except in the north-west, but the great bulk of the crop is produced east of the 99th meridian. It is rarely cut, but is left to mature and dry on the stalk in the field. The yearly yield in the decade 1895–1904, according to the most conservative state statistics, varied from 298,599,638 to 72,445,227 bushels, and the average was 178,941,084 bushels, or 190,773,957, omitting the failure of 1901; the yield per acre being similarly 26.35 or 27.9 bushels 1 Data of the State Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics, which are lower than those of the state Board of Agriculture, and (in census years) the Federal Census. The yearly average given by the Board of Agriculture for 1895–1904 is 219,196,000 bushels. The statistics for 1906 and 1907 are taken from the Year-books of the Department of Agriculture. (12.4 in 1901) ;1 in 1906 the crop was 249,782,500 bushels, and the average yield per acre 34.1 bushels; in 1907 the crop was 179,328,000 bushels, and the average yield only 24 bushels per acre, According to the report of the state Board of Agriculture, Custer, Lancaster and Saunders counties produced the largest amounts (each more than 5,000,000 bushels) of Indian corn in 1908. Since 1900 Nebraska has become one of the foremost winter wheat states, second only to Kansas. Little spring wheat is now sown except in the northern counties, the state being on the northern edge of the winter wheat belt. From 188o to 1890 the acreage devoted to wheat greatly diminished, because the spring variety was not relatively remunerative, but the acreage trebled in the next decade as autumn planting increased. The winter varieties have the advantages of larger yield, earlier ripening and lesser loss from insects, and afford protection to the soil. The growth of durum (macaroni) wheat is also increasing, but is hampered by the uncertainty of market, which is for the most part foreign. The wheat crops of the decade 1895–1904 averaged 33,208,805 bushels a year; or ranged from a minimum of 9.8 to a maximum of 20.9, averaging 15.8 bushels to the acre; in 1906 the crop was 52,288,692 bushels, and the average yield 22 bushels per acre; and in 1907 the crop was 45911,000 bushels, and the average yield 18.1 bushels per acre. In 1908 Clay, Adams and Hamilton were the principal wheat-growing counties in the state. The corresponding figures for oats were: average yield for the decade, 48,145,185 (range, 28,287,707 in 1901 to 66,810,065 in 1904) ; range of yield per acre, 17.9 to 34.0, and average 27.6 bushels per acre; in 1906 the crop was 72,275,000 bushels and the average yield per acre 29.5 bushels; in 1907 the crop was 51,490,000 bushels, and the average yield 20.4 bushels per acre. In the decade 1890–1900 the state did not rise above the loth rank in the Union; after 1900 her rise was rapid. The same is even more markedly true of rye; in 1907 the crop was 1,502,000 bushels (from 88,400 acres), a yield exceeded in only five states in the country. Apples are raised in the N.E. and S.E. sections of the state, and are much the most important fruit grown. Peaches are next in importance, and horticultural enthusiasts believe that the possibilities of this crop are very great. Other fruits are raised with much success, and in 1904 at St Louis the horticultural exhibit of the state led those of all other states in the medals received for excellence; but nevertheless its relative rank in the Union as a fruit-producing state is still low. In a period of 30 years (1869–1898) there were, according to the state Board of Agriculture, four seasons whose crops could reasonably be classed as failures, three more as " short," one as fair, eighteen as good, and four as great. Compared with adjoining states—Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri—none shows a greater, if indeed any shows sc great an average value per acre in the yield of Indian corn, wheat, oats, barley and rye; and this despite the assumed handicap of the western half of the state. In fact the yield of this section relatively to cultivated acreage is normally fully equal to that of the eastern section; a result quite consistent with the scientifically proven fertility of semi-arid lands. The real handicap of the western counties would be shown in comparing aggregate yields per given area; for much land is normally inarable. Alfalfa, stock raising and dairying, afforestation, " dry-farming " and irrigation are, however, proving that the West can maintain prosperity by not relying upon ordinary agriculture. Alfalfa is not easily started, however, on the uplands of the extreme western part of the state; and dry-farming (the Campbell dust-mulch system) has the expensiveness in labour of intensive cultivation. The above-mentioned delusion that climate is changing and adapting itself to agriculture, thus relieving the farmer of accommodating his methods to the climate, has considerably handicapped him in progress. Systematic experiments in dry-farming throughout the Great Plains were provided for on a great scale by Congress in 1906. By attention to crop rotation, soil physics and world-wide search for plants adapted to the Great Plains (such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has long been conducting), a very great deal can be accomplished—no one can say how much; but certainly the Western must long remain at a great disadvantage in comparison with the Eastern portion of the state as regards the growth of cereals. Irrigation.—Water for the western part of the state is a resource of primary importance, and irrigation therewith a fundamental problem. Very generally, especially in the butte regions, the country lends itself to the impounding of surface water. The lakes are of great importance for the stock ranges of the sand-hills. It is commonly believed that of underground water, and generally of artesian water, even the driest counties have an abundance. This is great exaggeration. Though both in central and western Nebraska there are strata that generally yield a considerable flow, the supply is usually limited and the expense is great. Up to 1906 dependence was mainly upon the streams, which it is estimated might furnish 3 or 4 million acre-feet—enough to irrigate between lo and 15% of the arid section—were all the water available, and the land irrigable. As compared with the streams of Colorado, where irrigation is much more advanced, the streams of Nebraska have a very constant flow; the relative supply-capacities of the Arkansas and Poudre in Colorado, and the Loup and North Platte in Nebraska being about as i•000, 1.193, 3.347 and 4.632 respectively, according to the estimates of the state engineer (Nebraska Public Documents 1901-1902, vol. iii. p. 144.). An irrigation law was first passed by Nebraska in 1895. One of the greatest improvement projects under-taken by the national Reclamation Service is one on the North Platte, begun in 1903, which contemplates a reservoir in Wyoming of sufficient capacity to store all the surplus waters of that stream, about 600 m. of canals, and the reclamation of 107,000 acres in Nebraska; it was 74% completed in 1909. The work of the national service began in Nebraska in 1902. Some farmers on the uplands between the valleys in western Nebraska irrigate by means of wind-mills, and although the underground water is 175 ft. or more below the surface one wind-mill often supplies sufficient water to irrigate ten acres. The extent of irrigated acreage increased about thirteen-fold from 1889 to 1899. In the latter year there were 1701 m. of ditch costing about $751.00 per m., irrigating 148,538 acres, which yielded crops averaging $6.61 per acre in value. The greatest part of the irrigated acreage is in the valley of the North Platte and the Upper Platte—probably nine-tenths In 1906—in Scotts Bluff, Lincoln, Cheyenne, Dawson, Keith and Deuel counties. There is, however, a large ditch in Platte county—the farthest E. of any large ditch in the country; and though agriculture is normally quite " successful " here without irrigation, nevertheless it is more profit-able with it. In fact, in 1899 about a quarter of the irrigated acreage lay E. of the section classed as arid. Manufactures.—The rank of Nebraska among the states of the Union in 190o in population, in value of agricultural products, and in value of manufactured products, was respectively twenty-seventh, tenth and nineteenth. In the decade 1890-1900 the state increased the value of its manufactures somewhat more than half. The per capita product-values for agriculture and manufactures in t 00 were $,53 and $135 (as compared with $63 and $88 in 1890. Only 2.3% of the population were engaged in manufacturing in 1900. Of the total factory product (in 1900, $130,302,453; in 1905, $154,918,220), 84.7 % were urban (i.e. were for the three cities which in 1900 had a population of at least 8000) in 1900, and 81.7 in 1905; the percentage for these cities being 53.3 in 1900 and 43.5 in 1905 for South Omaha, 29.2 in 1900 and 34.9 in 1905 for Omaha, and 2.1 in 1900 and 3.4 in 1905 for Lincoln; Nebraska City, Fremont, Grand Island, Beatrice, Hastings, Plattsmouth and Kearney were the only other manufacturing centres of any importance. In 1907 there was a beet-sugar factory at Grand Island; at Nebraska City there are several distinctive industries; at South Omaha very important meat-packing houses; and the other cities have interests rather extensive or varied than distinctive. As yet manufactures are insignificant except in lines immediately dependent upon agriculture, the combined output of the packing, flour and grist mill, dairy and malt-liquor establishments constituting in 1900 nine-tenths of the total state output. Meat-packing is by far the most important single interest, South Omaha being the third greatest packing centre of the country, employing in 1900 and in 1905 a quarter of all wage-earners and yielding nearly one-half the total product-value of the state ($71,018,339 in 1900; $69,243,468 in 1905). The malt-liquor industry is favoured by the great production of barley in Iowa; the value of malt liquors manufactured in 1900 was $1,433,501, and in 1905 $1,663,788. Nebraska wheat, like that of Kansas, combines for milling the splendid qualities of winter wheat with those characteristic of grain grown on the edge of the semi-arid West; flour and grist-mill products were valued at $7,794,130 in 1900 and at $12,190,303 in 1905. The first creamery in Nebraska was established in 1881. A creamery at Lincoln is said to be the largest in the United States. Many co-operative dairies have persisted since the early days of farmers' granges. The value of cheese, butter and other dairy products was $2,253,893 in 1900 and $3,326,110 in 1905. Of manufactures not dependent upon agriculture perhaps the most promising is that of brick and tile products (valued at $839,815 in 1900 and at $1,131,913 in 1905), and the largest in 1905 was the manufacture and repair of steam railway cars (valued at $2,624,461 in 1900 and at $4,394,685 in 1905). Communications.—T here is no longer any river navigation. There were 6,101.5 m. of railway in the state at the end of 1907; the great period of railway building was 1870—1890, the mileage in 187o being 705, in 1880, 1953, and in 1890, 5407. The eastern half of the state is much better covered by railways than the western. Six great east and west trunk-lines connecting the Rocky Mountain region and Chicago enter the state at Omaha (q.v.), and two others, giving rather an outlet southward, enter the same city and serve the eastern part of the state. In 1908 all but 5 counties out of 90 had railway outlets. A marked tendency toward north and south railway lines is of great promise to the state, as outlets towards the Gulf of Mexico are important, especially for local freight. Omaha and Lincoln are Federal ports of entry for customs. Population.—In 'goo the population of the state was 1,066,300 and in 1910, 1,192,214. In 1900 16.6% were foreign-born,and 43'3% natives of other states than Nebraska. The latter came mainly from the north-central states. Of the foreigners, Germans, Scandinavians and British (including English Canadians) made up four-fifths of the total. The most numerous individual races were Germans (65,5o6), Swedes (24,693), Bohemians (16,138), Danes (12,531), Irish (11,127), English (9757), Russians (8083) and English Canadians (8010). In 1900 three cities had a population above 25,000—Omaha, 102,555; Lincoln, 40,169; South Omaha, 26,001—and seven others had a population between 500o and 8000—Beatrice, Grand Island, Nebraska City, Fremont, Hastings, Kearney and York. The population of Nebraska was 28,841 in 1860, 122,993 in 1870, 452,402 in 188o and 1,062,656 in 1890. The increases of population by decades following 186o were 326.5, 267.8, 134.1, 0.3, and 11.8%. From 1880-1890 the absolute increase was exceeded in only four states, and was greater than in any state W. of the Mississippi except the enormous state of Texas; from 1890-1900 it was less than in any state of the Union except Nevada (whose population decreased). In this decade 35 counties out of 90 in the state showed a decrease: the shrinkage was mainly in the first half of the decade, and was due to the cumulative effects of national hard times, a reaction from an extraordinarily inflated land " boom " of the late 'eighties, and a remarkable succession of drought years, and consequent crop failure in the West. Between 1885 and 1895 Kansas and Colorado went through much the same experience, due to a too rapid settlement of their arid areas before the conditions of successful agriculture were properly understood. Many homes, and even small settlements in Nebraska—though not to the same extent as in Colorado and Kansas—were abandoned. Urban population (the population in places having 4000 or more inhabitants) also fell, constituting 25.8% in 1890, and in 1900 only 2o.8% of the total population of the state. In the case of some cities that showed a great decrease (e.g. Lincoln 27.2%, and Omaha 27%) notoriously " padded " censuses in 1890 were in part responsible for the bad showing ten years later. In 1906 there were in the state 345,803 communicants of various religious denominations; of these 100,763 were Roman Catholics, 64,352 Methodists, 59,485 Lutherans, 23,862 Presbyterians, 19,121 Disciples of Christ, 17,939 Baptists and 15,247 Congregationalists. In 1890 there were in the state 2893 untaxed and 3538 taxed Indians, the latter being citizens; in 'goo there were 3,322 altogether, all of them taxed; and in 1908 there were 3720, of whom 1270 were Omaha, 1116 Santee Sioux, 1060 Winnebago and 274 Ponca. Among the Indians who occupied Nebraska immediately before the advent of the whites and thereafter, the only families of much importance in the state's history were the Caddoan and the Siouan. The Caddoan family was represented by the Middle or Pawnee Confederacy; the Siouan family by its Dakota, Thegiha, Chiwere and Winnebago branches. Included in the Dakota branch were the Santee and Teton tribes, the latter comprising the Brule, Blackfeet and Oglala Indians; in the Thegiha branch were the Omaha and Ponca tribes; and in the Chiwere branch, the Iowa, Oto and the Missouri tribes. Other tribes were of less importance; and tribes of other families—with the exception of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes of the Algonquian family, whose permanent hunting grounds em-braced the foot-hill country of the West—were of negligible importance, being only roamers within the borders of the state. The Pawnees contested the plains against the Sioux with undying enmity. Before the Civil War there were no very general troubles between Indians and whites, despite constant frontier difficulties, except the bloodless " Pawnee War " of 1859-60; but in 1863-64 the Indians rose rather generally along the frontier, and many settlers were killed. In 1890--91 there was another war—with the Sioux—marked by the battle of Wounded Knee, just across the line in South Dakota. In dealings with the Indians there have been in Nebraska the usual discreditable features of administration. The maltreatment of the Poncas, a fine and peaceable tribe, was peculiarly and inexcusably harsh. Segregation on reservations was generally accomplished in 187o-1880. There were in 1900 small reservations for Omahas and Winnebagoes in Thurston county and for the Sioux in Sheridan county, and an agency for the Santees and Poncas near the mouth of the Niobrara ; and at Genoa, where the Pawnee agency and reservation had been located, there was in 1908 an Indian school maintained by the United States government with 350 boarding pupils. In 1908, however, almost all the tribal lands had been distributed in severalty: the Niobrara Reservation (under the Santee government boarding school for the Santee Sioux and the Ponca) had only 1130.7 acres reserved for agency, school and mission purposes; the Ponca Reservation (under the same school) had only 16o acres reserved for agency and school buildings; the Omaha Reservation (under the Omaha School) had 12,421 acres unallotted; the Sioux Reservation (under the Pine Ridge Agency) for Oglala Sioux had 64o acres; and the Winnebago Reservation (under the Winnebago School) had 171o•8 acres unallotted and 48o reserved for agency, &c. Government.—The present constitution, adopted in 1875, replaced one adopted in 1866. In 1871 a convention framed a constitution that was rejected by the people. It provided for compulsory education, and for the taxation of church property; prohibited the grant by counties or cities of financial aid to railway or other corporations, and enjoined that railways should have an easement only in their right of way. The last two provisions were mainly responsible for the defeat of the constitution. The instrument of 1875 presents a few variations from the normal type, and under it a few interesting problems have arisen. The constitution provides two methods for amendment. A convention for revising or amending the constitution is to be held in case a recommendation to that effect made by the legislature (a three-fifths vote of all the members of each house being required) is accepted by a majority of the electors voting at the next election for members of the legislature, but no amendment agreed' upon by the convention is to take effect until approved by a majority of electors voting on it. Without calling a convention, however, the legislature may, by a three- fifths vote of all the members of each house, adopt an amendment, which is to come into effect only if approved by a majority of electors voting at the next election of senators and representatives—the publication of the proposed amendment in some newspaper in each county once a week for three months before the election being required. This has been interpreted by the courl End of Article: NEBRASKA
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