Below – The Exeter-Milligan fourth graders shared the reports they did on a famous Nebraskan at the Sesquicentennial celebration.
Above – Judy Dinneen, Exeter G.F.W.C. member (left) introduces Exeter Postmaster Kathy Stych who shared the special U.S. postage stage that was released for the Nebraska Sesquicentennial.
Below – The Exeter G.F.W.C. Woman’s Club honored area Veterans for their part in keeping Nebraska safe. Here, Karen Chapman, Exeter G.F.W.C. member, presents a gift to veteran Dwayne Luzum.
Sesquicentennial isn’t easy to pronounce but it certainly is fun to celebrate.
The Exeter G.F.W.C. Woman’s Club made sure that this special anniversary was not forgotten in Exeter on Wednesday, March 1.
This group of ladies planned and carried out a fabulous celebration to honor the 150th anniversary of the statehood of Nebraska.
After Exeter G.F.W.C. members Karen Chapman and Kathy Due welcomed the audience the Exeter-Milligan choir was introduced and gave a brief history of the state song, “Beautiful Nebraska,” before performing a very moving rendition of the song.
Next on the program were the Exeter-Milligan eighth graders from Mr. Brian Murphy’s Nebraska history class. The group had created a power point outline of the history of Nebraska and each student told a part of the story.
The fourth graders from Exeter-Milligan had each researched a famous historical Nebraskan and presented several interesting facts about the men and women they admired. Some of those the audience heard about were astronaut Clayton Anderson, Father Ed Flanagan and koolaid inventor Edwin Perkins.
The last group of Exeter-Milligan students to share were the second grade. They had each drawn a picture of a distinctive Nebraska icon, ranging from a covered wagon, to cows and Chimney Rock.
G.F.W.C. member Judy Dinneen introduced Exeter Postmaster Kathy Stych who gave the history behind the stamp that was released specially for Nebraska’s sesquicentennial. The stamp depicts the Sandhill Crane migration at dawn near the Platte River in a photo by Michael Forsberg. The audience was able to see stamp up close during the program.
During the program the Exeter G.F.W.C. members also shared interesting facts about the state’s history. When sharing about World War II the history of the Great Nebraska Scrap Drive of 1942 was explained. Apparently, in an effort to collect more scrap iron for the war, Nebraska initiated a scrap drive that pitted county against county. Fillmore county collected 273 ¾ pounds during the drive and the efforts of Nebraska inspired a nationwide scrap drive.
Along with their discussion of war efforts the Woman’s Club recognized the veteran’s in the audience.
The keynote speaker, Doug Rung, of Fairmont was introduced. Rung is known throughout the county as a Nebraska and Fillmore County historian. He shared about the trip he took in covered wagons from Grand Island to Scottsbluff years ago. “I was the only Nebraskan on the trip. . .we had eight wagons plus a chuckwagon . . .we had three flour sacks, two for good clothes and one for dirty clothes and everything modern was thrown out.”
The group rode or walked in wagons pulled by Clydesdales and according to Rung, “we had a great menu, it was pinto beans, pinto beans and pinto beans.”
Rung was designated the marshal and walked behind all of the wagons to make sure no one fell out or got left behind. “We had three quit the trip and the wagonmaster said that if it had been in the pioneer days they would have been the ones who died on the trail.”
The group followed the Oregon Trail through Nebraska, ate hardtack for lunch and washed their dishes in the sand. “We washed with lye soap and had no combs. We innovated a lot of things.”
During the trip they visited one grave near Kennesaw, that of Susan C. Haile, who died on the trail near modern day Kennesaw. Rung shared that they learned her husband had buried her and returned to Missouri for a marble headstone which he sold his horses to purchase. Mr. Haile then procured a wheelbarrow to bring the headstone back to Nebraska to mark his wife’s grave.
Other bits of history the group experienced on the trail included a visit from a Native American who would not sell any of his wares, but only trade. The group also received letters from their family members via Pony Express.
After Rung presented the Woman’s Club members thanked the many participants in the program and closed with all of the participants singing “Happy Birthday” to Nebraska.