The Story Behind This Nebraska Blizzard From A Century Ago Is Unforgettable
By Delana Lefevers|Published September 05, 2016
As a lifelong Nebraskan, Delana loves discovering the many hidden treasures of her state. She has worked as a writer and editor since 2007. Delana's work has been featured on more than a dozen websites and in Nebraska Life Magazine.
Nebraska’s history is full of tales of heroism and bravery. The pioneers who braved the untamed prairie land to turn it into a lovely, productive home faced innumerable hardships. One of the deadliest and most destructive hardships was beyond anyone’s control: the Great Blizzard of 1888. But there is one story that embodies the pioneer spirit perfectly. Minnie Freeman was a schoolteacher who saved the lives of 13 pupils in an act of extreme courage.
Minnie kept the children close and safe by tying them all together with twine from her desk. She was able to lead them through the harsh conditions to her host family’s home, and every one of them survived with minimal injuries.
Minnie’s bravery was immortalized in a song called “Thirteen Were Saved,” in which she was called “Nebraska’s Fearless Maid.” She was a shy woman and did not appreciate all the fuss made over the story, but her bravery made national news and she became something of a folk hero.