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Voices of the American West, Volume 2: The Settler and Soldier Interviews of Eli S. Ricker, 1903-1919

Voices of the American West, Volume 2: The Settler and Soldier Interviews of Eli S. Ricker, 1903-1919

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In this second volume of interviews conducted by Nebraska judge Eli S. Ricker, he focuses on white eyewitnesses and participants in the occupying and settling of the American West in the nineteenth century. In the first decade of the twentieth century, as the Old West became increasingly distant and romanticized in popular consciousness, Eli S. Ricker (1842-1926) began interviewing those who had experienced it firsthand, hoping to write a multivolume series about its last days, centering on the conflicts between Natives and outsiders. For years Ricker traveled across the northern Plains, gathering information on and off reservations, in winter and in summer. Judge Ricker never wrote his book, but his interviews are priceless sources of information about that time and place, and they offer more balanced perspectives on events than were accepted at the time. Richard E. Jensen brings together all of Ricker's interviews with those men and women who came to the American West from elsewhere-settlers, homesteaders, and veterans. These interviews shed light on such key events as the massacre at Wounded Knee, the Little Bighorn battle, Beecher Island, Lightning Creek, the Mormon cow incident, and the Washita massacre. Also of interest are glimpses of everyday life at different agencies, including Pine Ridge, Yellow Medicine, and Fort Sill School; brief though revealing memoirs; and snapshots of cattle drives, conflicts with Natives, and the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Eli S. Ricker (1843-1926) served with the 102nd Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. After the war, he began farming but was eventually admitted to the bar and moved to Dawes County, Nebraska, to set up his law practice. There, he served for three terms as a county judge and then worked as a newspaper man at the Chadron Times. Ricker devoted his retirement to research for a book that was to be titled The Final Conflict between the Red Man and the Pale Face, which was never written as Ricker became so engrossed in his research. Upon his death, Ricker's notebooks, data, and correspondence were donated to the Nebraska State Historical Society. Richard E. Jensen is retired from the Nebraska State Historical Society, where he was senior research anthropologist. His most recent books are Here You Have My Story: Eyewitness Accounts of the Nineteenth-Century Central Plains (2009) and The Pawnee Mission Letters, 1834-1851 (2010).

Author: Eli S. Ricker
Publisher: Bison
Published: 06/01/2012
Pages: 498
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.60lbs
Size: 8.90h x 6.00w x 1.30d
ISBN: 9780803239975

About the Author
Richard E. Jensen is retired from the Nebraska State Historical Society, where he was senior research anthropologist. His most recent books are The Pawnee Mission Letters, 1834-1851 and Eyewitness at Wounded Knee, both available from the University of Nebraska Press.

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