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Today in Nebraska-April

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April 1

1865 — The steamship Bertrand, laden with cargo bound for Montana, sank in the Missouri River at the village of DeSoto, north of Omaha. The wreck was discovered in 1967 and excavated in 1968-69.

1921 — Opponents of Sunday movies held a rally at the Kerr Opera House in Hastings.

2008 — Lawsuits by three families were dismissed because they reached an $18.4 million settlement of their lawsuits over a 2002 helicopter crash in Norfolk that killed three people aboard. The multimillion-dollar settlement is thought to be the largest ever in Nebraska.

April 2

1856 — Rev. Joseph Barker, an English immigrant, arrived in Omaha and wrote that the city consisted of "a few huts, two or three decent houses, a bank, the state house, a saw mill and a few stores."

April 3

1860 — The Pony Express began operations, crossing parts of Nebraska.

1924 — Actor Marlon Brando was born in Omaha.

1944 - Evelyn Sharp, of Ord, the first woman to deliver airmail in the United States, died when a P-38 fighter plane she was piloting crashed in Pennsylvania. She was 24.

2008 — An 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a woman against a Lancaster County District judge who barred the word "rape" in a sexual-assault trial.

April 4

1895 — The Legislature declared Nebraska the "Tree Planters State"; Gov. Silas Holcomb signed into law a bill declaring goldenrod the state flower.

April 5

1921 — Voters in Hastings defeated a proposal to allow the showing of movies on Sundays.

1944 — Wendell Willkie told about 4,000 people at the Omaha Civic Auditorium that he was withdrawing from the presidential campaign after being defeated in the Wisconsin primary election.

April 6

1944 — An explosion ripped through the Naval Ordnance Depot at Hastings, killing eight people. It was the second of three fatal explosions at the depot during the year.

April 7

1871 — The first group of settlers from the Soldiers Free Homestead Colony reached Gibbon by Union Pacific Railroad. The colonists at first lived in train boxcars.

1891 — The Legislature passed one of the first eight-hour workday laws in the nation.

1895 — A prairie fire raced through Deuel County, killing an estimated 1,400 sheep near Big Springs.

April 8

1890 — A post office was established at Sidney.

April 9

1954 — State trooper Marvin Hansen of Valentine was shot to death pursuing a man who ran away from a roadblock.

April 10

1871 — Acting Gov. William James issued a proclamation calling for the organization of Webster County.

1872 — The state celebrated the first Arbor Day to encourage tree planting.

April 11

1967 — Members of the Benson High School Youth for Christ Club in Omaha chased a greased pig during an evening of activities celebrating the centennial year for Nebraska statehood.

April 12

1954 — U.S. Sen. Dwight Griswold died. Eve Bowring was named to replace him.

1866 — Nebraska Territory Republicans met in Plattsmouth and nominated David Butler of Pawnee City for governor on a pro-statehood platform.

April 13

1881 — The Army abandoned Fort Hartsuff.

1873 — An Easter snowstorm struck the state. Near Loup City and what is now called Dead Horse Creek, 25 horses and four mules suffocated under the deep snow.

1937 — The Omaha police commissioner introduced a traffic ordinance setting out new hand signals for drivers. The old law said the signal for a right turn was to extend the hand and rotate it clockwise. The new law called for extending the hand and arm upward.

April 14

1967 — A tiger bit a chunk out of the finger of its handler, who was showing the animal's teeth to a spectator at the Shrine Circus in Omaha.

April 15

1847 — Brigham Young and about 150 Mormon followers left a camp along the Elkhorn River near present-day Omaha, starting his first trip to settle the Great Salt Lake Basin.

1922 — Ground was broken for the state Capitol in Lincoln.

April 16

1902 — President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation setting up the Nebraska Forest Reserves at Halsey and in northwest Cherry County.

April 17

1871 — The state insane asylum in Lincoln burned to the ground.

April 18

1880 — "Wahoo Sam" Crawford, one of the leading triples hitters of all time in major league baseball, was born in Wahoo.

1959 — Newly inaugurated Gov. Ralph Brooks suffered a mild stroke. At first his office said he was suffering from the flu but five days later revealed Brooks had a stroke. He recovered by year's end but died the following year.

April 19

1864 — Congress authorized an act enabling the people of Nebraska to form a state government.

1866 — Democrats met in Nebraska City and nominated J. Sterling Morton for territorial governor on an anti-statehood platform.

1871 — Red Cloud became the seat of Webster County.

April 20

1868 — Indians attacked a small party of railroad workers near Sidney, killing two of them.

1952 — The Missouri River reached 30.24 feet at Omaha, five feet higher than ever recorded before. Flooding in the Missouri River Basin caused $179 million in damage.

April 21

1871 — Fillmore County was organized. It was named for President Millard Fillmore.

April 22

1871 — The Midland Pacific Railroad reached Lincoln from Nebraska City.

1885 — The Legislature enacted Arbor Day on the birthday of J. Sterling Morton, a leading advocate of tree planting.

1940 — The first oil-producing well in the state, Buchholz No. 1, was drilled at Falls City.

April 23

1847 — A party of Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young reached the Loup Fork of the Platte River on their way to the Great Salt Lake Basin.

1873 — Phelps County was organized.

April 24

1947 — Author Willa Cather died in New York City.

1959 — The great racehorse Omaha died at a stud farm in Nebraska City.

April 25

1921 — The Legislature approved an act creating Chadron State Park.

1950 — B.K. Baker, a psychology professor scheduled to lose his job at Peru State College, shot and killed the college president and the head of the department of education. Baker then went home and killed himself.

April 26

1967 — The chairman of an Omaha public schools task force on security warned that neo-Nazis and other groups might try to disrupt busing of schoolchildren in the fall as part of the district's racial desegregation plan.

April 27

1902 — J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day and a U.S. secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland, died in Illinois. He is buried in Nebraska City.

April 28

1837 — Itan, chief of the Oto Indians who were at a mission south of present-day Bellevue, was killed during an Indian feud.

1876 — U.S. Army troops from Fort Hartsuff fought the Sioux Indians near Burwell in the "Battle of the Blowout." At least one soldier was killed and three received the Medal of Honor for heroism.

1904 — President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Kinkaid Act, authored by U.S. Rep. Moses P. Kinkaid of O'Neill. The act enabled people in northwest Nebraska to settle homesteads as large as 640 acres.

April 29

1949 — Mavis Musgrave of Minden, a senior majoring in home economics, was presented as Goddess of Agriculture at a dance at the University of Nebraska Agricultural College in Lincoln.

April 30

1879 — Judge Elmer Dundy arrived in Omaha from Lincoln for the trial of Ponca Indian chief Standing Bear. Dundy ultimately ruled in Standing Bear's favor, declaring that an Indian is legally a person.

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