Below are mentions of visits to this area by members of the Omaha tribe which appeared in the Albion Weekly News. Most of these mentions were under the heading of “20 years ago”, “30 years ago” and even “40 years ago.
A party of Omaha Indians were in town yesterday disposing of furs and taking all the nickels the boys had by shooting them off a stick with their bows and arrows.
A couple families of Omaha Indians with their wigwams, children, ponies and dogs are camping near town, being engaged in hunting and trapping along the Beaver.
A couple of families of Omaha Indians with their wigwams, children, ponies and dogs are on a hunting and trapping excursions along the banks of the Beaver and for the present are comfortably domiciled in the old picnic grove near St. Edward belonging to Ed Dwyer.
A band of Omaha Indians is camped near town. They trap along the Beaver every winter.
A band of about 20 Omaha Indians are camped on the Beaver northwest of St. Edward. They are engaged in trapping.
A band of Omaha Indians were in camp near town. They gave a war dance one evening for the edification of pale faces.
A band of Omaha Indians were encamped near Loretto.
A company was raised at Fullerton to fight the Indians who were said to be getting unruly.
Several Omaha Indians are trapping along the Beaver.
1-8-1904 – Cedar Rapids
A party of Omaha Indians which have been camped near town for some time left last Wednesday.
At the same time bands of Omaha Indians were making annual visits to our pasture, so were caravans of Roma (then called “Gypsies”). The Roma passed through in the summers, telling fortunes and trading horses (they were also known – like the Pawnee and Sioux – to take what they wanted). They camped in the winter near the town of Beatrice in southeastern Nebraska.
My great-grandfather, Frank Mansfied, made a deal with the Roma – they could camp in our pasture – very near where the Omaha camped – on the condition that they would leave his family strictly alone – no asking for food, no offers to trade, no fortunes told and nothing stolen. The Roma honored this arrangement and camped on our farm regularly for many years.
The first mention of the Roma (Gypsies) in the Albion Weekly News is in 1895 and the last in 1952. Below is a brief summary of articles mentioning them:
9-27-1895 – First mention of Gypsies – a fear that two young men had been “stolen” by them
8-11-1899 – Two Gypsies arrested for stealing horses from a man near Cedar
4-25-1900 – A band of Gypsies visited the southern part of the Pinnacle Hill neighborhood – weren’t shy about asking for anything they wanted.
7-20-1900 – A band of Gypsies visited St. Edward last Wednesday (this was Friday)
7-18-1902 – Now is the time to get your fortune told – camp of Gypsies across the river from Cedar
1-9-1903 – Gypsies now in winter camp near Beatrice, repairing and painting large living vans
6-10-1909 – Party of Gypsies in town Saturday. One woman arrested for stealing – 2 hours in jail and all kicked out of town
6-11-1914 – Loretto – A band of Gypsies wanted to tell fortunes but met with cool reception.
8-4-1921 – Two car loads of Gypsies run out of Petersburg by Deputy Marshall
5-30-1935 – Grover Wheeler and son were forced to stop on the St. Ed/Cedar highway and robbed at gunpoint by a Gypsy man and two women. Other cars of Gypsies involved. Thought to have stopped in Battle Creek Sunday morning for gas.
7-9-1936 – Gypsies in town offering to tell fortunes and “quick fingered girls” pickpocketing
5-19-1938 – Three Gypsy women and one man stole $465 from two Albion men
7-10-1952 – Caravan of Gypsies – hadn’t seen any for years – 5 rigs, 20 horses – heading south to St. Ed (in the Leader School District on the east edge of Boone County) and on from there to Lincoln