The first constitution of Nebraska provided in Article III, Section 8: "There shall be a seal of the state, which shall be kept by the Governor and used by him officially, and shall be called the 'Great Seal of the State of Nebraska.'" The present constitution states: "There shall be a seal of the state, which shall be kept by the Secretary of State and used by him officially as directed by law."
To provide for the original seal, Isaac Wiles of Cass County introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on May 31, 1867, to obtain a seal for Nebraska. Signed by then-governor David Butler on June 15, 1867, the bill read:
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Nebraska:
Sec. 1. That the Secretary of State shall be, and he is hereby authorized and required to procure, at the cost and expense of the state, and as soon after the passage of this act as practicable, a seal for the state, to be designed and known as the great seal of the state of Nebraska, and of the design and device following, that is to say: The eastern part of the circle to be represented by a steamboat ascending the Missouri river; the mechanic arts to be represented by a smith with hammer and anvil; in the foreground, agriculture to be represented by a settler's cabin, sheaves of wheat, and stalks of growing corn; in the background a train of cars heading toward the Rocky Mountains, and on the extreme west, the Rocky Mountains to be plainly in view; around the top of this circle, to be in capital letters, the motto: "Equality Before the Law," and the circle to be surrounded with the words, "Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, March 1, 1867."
Sec. 2. The sum of twenty-five dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of any fund in the treasury not otherwise appropriated by law, to enable the Secretary of State to carry into effect the provisions of this act.