"History and Stories of Nebraska"
by Addison Erwin Sheldon

Produced by Connie Snyder


Two boys, Nathaniel and Robert, were helping their father, George Martin, in the hayfield one day in August, 1864. Their ranch was in the broad valley of the Platte in Hall County, about eighteen miles southwest of Grand Island.

Suddenly the hills along the valley were covered with Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. It was the time of the great Indian raid of 1864. The father and boys started for the shelter of the log house and barns at the ranch. The two boys were mounted on one pony while the father drove a team hauling a load of hay. Before they could reach the buildings the Indians, shooting a shower of arrows, circled about the boys. One of the arrows struck Nathaniel in the arm and buried itself in Robert's back, pinning the two boys together. Both fell from the pony. Two or three Indians rode up. One drew his knife to take their scalps. Another Indian said in English, "Let the boys alone," and they were left there for dead.

Shots were fired from the ranch and the Indians rode away, taking with them some of Mr. Martin's stock. After they had gone the boys were brought in, the arrow was cut from their bodies and their mother cared for them. Both of them lived to be grown men and the story of the two boys who were pinned together by an Indian arrow is one of the stories told many times on the frontier.


  1. Why did the Indians not scalp these boys?
  2. What difference between farm and ranch life in these early years and now?