Rev. Moses Merrill constructed the first permanent missionary complex west of the Missouri River in the fall of 1835. The buildings included a school house and a council house. The buildings were all hand hewn logs, with stone or brick chimney. At the present time only one stone chimney remains standing. The historic marker highlights the first mission of the Baptist Missionary Union.


  • The Oto Mission Historical Marker is just off Highway 75
    The Oto Mission Historical Marker is just off Highway 75
  • This photo was taken in 1922 of the second mission building that replaced the original mission after it was destroyed by fire in the 1830s.
    This photo was taken in 1922 of the second mission building that replaced the original mission after it was destroyed by fire in the 1830s.

     The site of the Moses Merrill Mission and the Oto Indian Village is situated on either side of a secondary macadam road four miles from the center of the village of LaPlatte, Sarpy County Ne.  The mission was on the low terrace about 400 feet from Zwiebel Creek and the Oto Villagewas about the same distance to the west of the creek on a slightly sloping terrace approximately 50 feet about above the flood plain of this stream.
     In the fall of 1835, Rev. Merrill constructed the first permanent missionary complex west of the Missouri River.  The buildings included a school house and a council house, to be used when the Indians visited the mission.  His living quartersconsisted a a bedrom and kitchen, which was attached to an adjoining structure that was used as a sitting room and a study. All of the buildings were constructed of hand hewed logs obtained locally. Each building was provided with a stone or brick chimney.  At the present time, only one stone chimney remains standing.
     The mission closed in 1840, when Moses Merrill died suddenly. Merrill's widow returned to the East and most of the Oto moved to a new village sourth of the Platte. A few moved nearer to the town of Bellevue.

Archival  files: Sarpy County Museum

The Moses Merrill Papers -- manuscripts on file at the Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln

Photo Credit: Nebraska Memories http://memories.nebraska.gov/cdm/ref/collection/schm/id/23