07 August 2013

Pioneer Report of Prairie Pigeons from Nebraska

Grafton, Fillmore Co., Neb.,
Eds. Columbian: —
The farmers of this place and York county, are very busy at present planting corn. They will about finish up by the twentieth of this month. They are planting from 75 to 200 acres, They plant with the check rower or lister, from 15 to 22 acres per day. Some corn is up now. The weather has been very cold here this Spring, but the prairie grass is up where it was burned in March, as high as 15 Inches. So you see that the cattle are doing fine. We had two hail storms here this Spring; froze ice on the 23rd of April; there was a white frost on May 5th, but the weather is moderating and is now very warm. The farmers, think the prospects are the best this Spring that has been for several years. The wheat, rye and oats are looking fine. The wild geese have left, they were very numerous until of late — about as full as the pigeons out East. The duck is still abundant in the Green river. I have been capturing quite a goodly number of them; prairie pigeons are now very plenty they have a bill long like a snipe. I sent back East to C.W. Ammerman and he sent me a hoop net since I received it I have caught over 800 pounds of bull heads, which are very ready sale at 8 cts. per pound. I set the net last evening, will leave it in two evenings and will have perhaps 100 pounds. This is the country for sportsmen.
Yours Respectfully,
Eli Robbins.
April 24, 1861. Star of the North 13(16): 4.

With the mention of a May 5th date, there is a possibility this article was originally issued previously. There was no Eli Robbins listed in the 1860 census for Fillmore county. According to historic sources, though the county was established in 1856, the first homesteaders didn't arrive until 1866.