Hard Times in Burt County, Nebraska

 

In most, if not in all new countries, the pioneer settlers see hard times. Those of Burt County were no exception to the rule. In the year 1855, there was a protracted drought, one of the effects of which was large fissures in the ground, in some cases four inches in width and three feet in depth. Following this drought was one of the severest winters so far known in the State. On the 2d day of December, the great snowstorm came. It continued six days and nights, snowing incessantly. On the level, the ground was covered to the depth of four feet, and in drifts, to the depth of from five to fifteen feet.

Communication with Omaha and Council Bluffs, the settlers' sources of supply, was cut off, and, had it not been for what they considered providential relief, any, if not most of them, would have experienced the horrors of starvation. The extreme cold had driven from the bleakness of the prairies to the shelter of the timbered bottomlands of the Missouri great numbers of deer, antelope and elk, and these furnished an abundance of food until the melting of the snow.

Two of the settlers had a narrower escape than any of the rest. F. E. Lange and Ernest Sandig, who were living in a shanty near Gillick's Bend of the river, were cut off from communication with the others by the river overflowing its banks between them and the bluffs. They subsisted a number of days on the carcass of an ox that had died from starvation. At length this supply was exhausted, and they had nothing left but a dog, that had died in the same manner as the ox; and the alternative was presented of eating the carcass of the dog or of risking their lives in an attempt to cross the stream. They preferred the latter, and their effort was crowned with success.

 

 

 

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