The site of the Nebraska House, a former hotel completed in 1857 and located in Brownville, Nebraska, was associated with an escape in which a bloody shootout between slave catchers and freedom seekers occurred. In the fall of 1857, three freedom seekers escaped from Platte County, Missouri. While traveling from Kansas and into the Territory of Nebraska, the freedom seekers were spotted a few miles south of the town of Brownville.Hoping to make some money catching runaway slaves, four men, J.R. Davis, Thomas Williams, Archie Handley and William Myers pursued the three freedom seekers. When the two parties encountered one another a violent shootout broke out.In result, an unnamed freedom seeker was shot in the arm and Myers mortally wounded. The other two freedom seekers escaped, while the injured one was held at the Nebraska House, and put into the hands of deputy sheriff, Ben Thompson. While in the custody of Thompson, the freedom seeker was protected from a mob of pro slavery sympathizers that wanted to kill him for the murder of a white man. The freedom seeker was charged with murder, however, the charges were eventually dropped because it was determined that it was not he, but one of the other two freedom seekers who had shot Myers. After his release from the Nemaha County Jail, the wounded freedom seeker was returned to slavery in Missouri.
Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.
Location: Corner of Water Street and Steam Boat Trace Trail, Brownville, Nemaha, 68321
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Village of Brownville
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: Archie Handley (Slave Catcher),J.R. Davis (Slave Catcher),Thomas Williams (Slave Catcher),William Myers (Slave Catcher)