This is a NEGenWeb
Project On-Line Library
| Burt |
Buffalo county was
organized and its boundaries defined during the first session of the
Nebraska legislature by an act approved March 14, 1855. It was so
named because it was the feeding ground for many herds of
- Amherst. Established in 1890 when the branch of the
Union Pacific railroad was extended from Kearney to Callaway in
1890. John N. Hamilton, the first president of the Kearney and
Black Hills railroad branch from Kearney, suggested the name
Amherst after the college in Massachusetts. This statement is made
on the authority of William G. Nye of Kearney. Amherst,
Massachusetts, was named for Lord Amherst (1717-1797).
- Buda. On August 1, 1886, the Union Pacific railroad was
completed to this point and a station was established. This
station was named Kearney on account of its proximity to Fort
Kearney. In 1872 the name was changed to Shelby because of its
similarity to Kearney Junction, a town five miles distant. Later a
station in the eastern part of the county was named Shelton and,
because there was confusion of freight shipments, the town of
Shelby again changed its name. This time, according to local
tradition, it "was called Buda after an old religious center," but
more probably either directly or indirectly after Buda, now part
of Budapesth, Hungary.
- Butler. Situated in Valley township. Named after
General Benjamin F. Butler when a candidate for president of the
United States on the Greenback ticket.
- Denman. A village on Elm island in the southeastern
part of Buffalo county, in Shelton township. The name is after a
former owner of the site and a pioneer of the neighborhood,
Francis Marion Denman (1839-1917), a Civil War veteran. On an
early government map the island is named Denman island.
- Elm Creek. Located in Elm Creek township. The town was
named after Elm creek, a small tributary of the Platte river,
which runs by the town and empties into the Platte near by. Elm
creek was so named because of the presence of many elm trees in
- Gibbon. Located in Gibbon township. This town and its
township were named in honor of Major-General John Gibbon
(1827-1896), a graduate of the United States Military Academy in
1847. General Gibbon served in the Mexican and Civil wars and on
the frontier against hostile Indians.
- Glenwood Park. This name was given to the village after
a near-by park located on Wood river.
- Kearney. Originally named Fort Childs. Later the name
was changed to Kearney Junction and finally shortened to Kearney.
The last name was given to the town in honor of General Stephen
Watts Kearny (1794-1848), who served in the War of 1812 and the
Mexican war, and until 1857 the name was spelled without e
in the final syllable. The town was incorporated by an act of the
legislature approved January 4, 1860. Kearney is the county seat
of Buffalo county. Gannett, Place Names in the United
States, affirms, probably erroneously, that Kearney was named
for General Philip Kearny (1815-1862), prominent in the Mexican
and Civil War.
- Luce. Situated in Gardner precinct. Named after the
first postmaster and storekeeper. The post office has been
- Majors. Situated in Cedar township. It was named in
honor of Colonel T. J. Majors, of Peru, Nebraska. The post office
has been discontinued.
- Miller. This town was named after Dr. George L. Miller
of Omaha, member of the printing firm of Gibson, Miller, and
Richardson, and who at one time owned land in this vicinity. In a
deed he provided that if a railroad were ever built in the
vicinity the town was to be called Miller. Robert Miller
homesteaded in the vicinity in 1874.
- Nantasket. A name of Indian origin for a neighborhood
where a branch of the Union Pacific crosses the Chicago,
Burlington, and Quincy railroad. A town was platted and promoted
but fell into decay as it was too near Ravenna. The name derives
from Nantasket, Massachusetts.
- Odessa. Originally named Crowellton after Daniel A. and
D. Allen Crowell who were homestead settlers in the vicinity in
1871. There was some confusion in mail, however, because of the
similarity of the names Crowellton and Carrolton; hence in the
winter of 1873-1874 the citizens of Crowellton met at the home of
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Knox and selected the name Odessa for the
town. The name comes from Odessa, Kherson, the city by the Black
Sea. There is also an Odessa, Ontario.
- Optic. This place is a station on the Union Pacific
railroad between Gibbon and Buda. It was named by the officials of
the Union Pacific railroad.
- Peak. A settler by the name of Peake homesteaded in
Rusco township in 1874 and secured the establishment of a post
office. The post office has long since been discontinued but the
name still applies to the neighborhood.
- Pleasanton. Located in the beautiful valley of the Loup
river which was known locally in the early settlement of the
county as Pleasant valley. In 1890 a branch of the Union Pacific
railroad was extended from Nantasket to this point, and the new
town was named Pleasanton after the valley.
- Poole. This town was established in 1889 under the name
of Poole Siding which later was shortened to Poole. Both names
were given the town in honor.of W. W. Poole who came to the
vicinity and started a ranch in 1876.
- Ravenna. Known as Beaver Creek until 1886 when the
present town-site was laid out by the Lincoln Town-Site Company.
The name Ravenna was selected by H. O. Phillips, a member of the
company, after the ancient city of Ravenna, Italy. It is
interesting to note that the streets in this town are also given
Italian or other ancient names, such as Genoa, Verona, Seneca,
Padua, Pavia, Alba, Syracuse, Corinth, Carthage, Sicily, Piedmont,
Utica, Milan, and Appian Way (now Grand Avenue).
- Riverdale. Established in 1890. This town and Riverdale
township in which it is situated were so named because of their
location in the beautiful and fertile Wood River valley of the
- Saint Michael. Established by the Lincoln Land Company
in 1886. An Irishman named Mike Kyne owned the land on which the
town is located and he told the company he would sell it to them
cheap if they would name the town Saint Michael. Mr. Kyne was a
homestead settler in the vicinity in 1879 and now resides in
- Sartoria. This name was coined by Mr. John Swenson, a
homestead settler in the county in 1874. Mr. Swenson writes that
he made many combinations of letters before he finally decided
upon the present arrangement. His special aim was to form a name
which was euphonious in sound and which no tongue could
mispronounce. He also gave the name Sartoria to the township in
which the village is located.
- Shelton. Known as Wood River Center until February 3,
1873. On this date the name was changed to Shelton in honor of N.
Shelton, an auditor in the land department of the Union Pacific
Railroad Company. The township is also named Shelton in his
- Sweetwater. This is a station on the Burlington and
Missouri River railroad, now the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy
railroad, in Beaver township. It is situated on Sweetwater creek
from which it takes its name. The creek was so named because of
the excellent water which was found there in pioneer days.
- Watertown. Established in 1890. This place is a station
between Amherst and Miller and has a water tank for railway
engines. There is no town, only a neighborhood. The post office
was recently discontinued.
Burt county was
named in honor of the first governor of Nebraska Territory, Francis
Burt. It was founded in 1854. Its boundaries were defined by an act
of the legislature approved February 18, 1855. They were redefined
January 10, 1862.
- Argo. This place is an inland village in Craig
precinct. Several villages in the United States have this name,
formerly one in Carroll county, Illinois, as well as another in
Crawford county, Missouri. The name derives from the Greek
argo, argos, swift, in Grecian mythology the ship of
the Argonauts commanded by Jason. A large southern constellation,
the ship, has the name Argo.
- Basford. An inland village in the northern part of Burt
county near the northeastern corner of Everett precinct, probably
named for Basford, England.
- Bertha. An inland village near the southeastern corner
of Everett precinct. It was probably named for a local
- Craig. Craig was named for William Stewart Craig, a man
who owned the land on which the town was located when the railroad
- Decatur. In the fall of 1855 the Decatur Town and Ferry
Company located this town. The company was composed of Peter A.
Sarpy, B. R. Folsom, T. J. Hinman, and Stephen Decatur for whom
the town is named.
- Golden Spring. This town is so called because of its
proximity to a beautiful spring by that name. The spring flows
from the rock and is noted for the purity of its water.
- Lyons. Lyons is named for Mr. Waldo Lyon who came to
Burt county from Arizona in 1869.
- Oakland. An early settler, John Oak, purchased the site
of Oakland in 1862, and the town is named for him.
- Peak. A station on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis,
and Omaha railroad in Craig precinct. The name is probably for a
- Tekamah. The town of Tekamah was founded on October 7,
1854, by Colonel Benjamin H. Folsom and eight companions from
Utica, New York. It is located on an old Indian camping ground or
village. The surrounding hills were used for burying grounds and
the highest point on the bluff where the city reservoir is now
located, was used as a fire signal station. The origin of the name
"Tekamah" is not definitely known. Some say it means "big
cottonwood" and others say it means "the field of battle." Colonel
Folsom is said to have named the town Tekamah because the site was
surrounded by cottonwood trees, but there is a report that an
early settler, W. N. Byers, gave the town its name in
commemoration of some place in the far west where he once visited
or resided. The county seat was located here by an act of the
legislature approved February 18, 1855. The town was incorporated
by an act of the legislature approved March 14, 1855.
- Zion. A station on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis,
and Omaha railroad in Craig precinct. A number of villages in the
United States have this name derived directly or indirectly from
Mount Zion, Palestine.
Butler county was
named for David Butler, the first state governor of Nebraska,
1867-1872. Its boundaries were defined and the county established by
an act of the legislature approved January 26, 1856.
- Abie. In 1877 a man by the name of Stevens filed an
application for a post office in this vicinity. The applicafion
was granted and in honor of his wife, Abigail Stevens, he named
the office Abie.
- Bellwood. Bellwood was named by Mrs. Mary B. Finch in
honor of Jesse D. Bell, the founder of the town. Mr. Bell owned a
section of land in this vicinity at an early date and planted
three rows of trees on each side of the road around the section
and six rows each way across. Some of these trees have made a
wonderful growth and are being taken out and sawed into lumber. A
year ago 80,000 feet of lumber were cut from one little spot. On
account of the trees, flowers, and shrubbery that were continually
planted by Mr. Bell, Mrs. Finch decided that Bellswoods would be
an appropriate name for the town. Later the name was shortened to
Bellwood. It is said that as a result of Mr. Bell's work, only one
other place in Nebraska (Arbor Lodge at Nebraska City) has a
greater number of different species of trees, bushes, and shrubs.
Mr. Bell died on January 4, 1889, in his home adjoining Bellwood.
The trees were all small at this time but since then have grown to
be large, fine trees that make a monument to the man who founded
- Brainard. The Union Pacific Railroad Company named this
town in honor of David Brainard who was a celebrated Missionary to
- Bruno. The first settlers in this vicinity were
Moravians. They named the town after Brno (Brünn), the chief
city of Moravia, Europe. This name was difficult for the Americans
to pronounce so it was changed by the railroad company to
- David City. This town the county seat of Butler county,
was named for a Mrs. Miles whose maiden name was David. Mrs. Miles
deeded a large tract of land for the town-site and on this account
it was named in her honor. It is also stated that the city was
named for David Butler, the first state governor. George L. Brown
is authority for the statement: "The new town was christened
Davids City, in honor of Mr. Davids, a friend and relative of Mr.
William Miles, patron and part owner of the site." Later the "s"
was dropped for convenience. (See Trans. Neb. State Hist.
Soc. 4:295). It was incorporated by an act of the legislature
approved March 18, 1878.
- Dwight. This post office was originally named Lone
Star. When the site of the office was changed in 1883, the
population of the town was mostly from Dwight, Illinois, so it was
decided to name the new office Dwight, Nebraska. Henry Glover the
postmaster, had the change effected. In 1887 the railroad was
built and the town took the name of Dwight after the post
- Garrison: This town was named by its surveyor, Mr.
Sargent, for William Lloyd Garrison, the pioneer leader of the
anti-slavery movement in the United States. Mr. Sargent was a
Massachusetts man and a great admirer of Mr. Garrison. The
precinct is called Union as an expression of a sentiment of the
- Linwood. When this locality was first settled in 1857
several of the inhabitants wished to call it Skull Creek because
the site was that of an old Indian battlefield and skulls were to
be found everywhere along the stream. The matter was discussed
with a pioneer resident, Mrs. Sara Johnson, who did not like the
name Skull Creek. She was asked to suggest a better name and chose
Linwood, after the linn or basswood trees along the creek. This
name was finally adopted.
- Loma. Loma is situated in Richardson township in the
southeastern part of Butler county. The name is supposedly given
to the place by the officials of the Union Pacific railroad but
why is not known. Loma is a Spanish word for a little hill
or hillock, rising ground in the midst of a plain, a slope, and
this may have had something to do with the selection of the
- Millerton. This place was named for William P. Miller,
an early settler and a large land owner in the vicinity.
- Octavia. This town was named in honor of Mrs. Octavia
Speltz, wife of Allen Speltz, a prominent farmer in the vicinity.
It was laid out by the Pioneer Town-Site Company in 1857.
- Rising City. This is a station on the Union Pacific
railroad in Reading precinct. It was named for the owners of the
town-site, A. W. and S. W. Rising.
- Surprise. Surprise was so named by the settlers because
they were surprised to find the land so much better than they
expected it to be after their first tour through this part of the
- Ulysses. This town was named for General Ulysses
Simpson Grant (1822-1885). The precinct has the same name for the
Cass county was
named in honor of General Lewis Cass (1782-1866), the American
statesman and patriot. Its boundaries were defined by an act of the
legislature approved March 7, 1855, redefined January 26, 1856.
- Alvo. This town was named by the post office department
in Washington, D. C., and apparently without reference to any
person or place.
- Avoca. The site of Avoca was platted in 1857. It was
located in Avoca precinct and the town was named after the
precinct. The name is probably derived from Thomas Moore's poem,
"Sweet Vale of Avoca." A river of Ireland and many towns in the
United States have this name.
- Cedar Creek. In the early days the creek just west of
this town had many cedar trees along its banks and so it was
called Cedar creek. When the town was laid out in 1865 it was
named after the creek.
- Eagle. Shortly after 1872 a conference of the settlers
was held at the home of Mr. Edwin Post, three and a half miles
northeast of the present site of Eagle. This meeting drew up a
petition for the establishment of a post office and chose the name
Eagle. When the post office was established Mr. Edwin Post became
the first postmaster. A few years later the office was moved a few
miles farther northeast and the name changed to Sunlight. Three or
four changes of location followed with an occasional change of
name. Later the post office was moved to a country store located
at the cross-roads just east of the present site of Eagle and the
former name of Eagle restored. Mr. J. A. Blanchard, the proprietor
of the store, was the postmaster and he continued in that capacity
for several years after the village of Eagle came into existence.
The town of Eagle was founded in 1886 on the advent of the
Missouri Pacific railroad and took its name from the post office
in the vicinity. The name was probably adopted because of the
presence of the eagle (bird) in the vicinity during the pioneer
- Elmwood. This post office was established in Stove
Creek township in 1866 and located two and a half miles north and
one mile east of the present site, near a grove of large elm
trees. The first postmaster, David McCaig, named the place Elmwood
after the local grove of trees.
- Greenwood. This town received its name from Greenwood
creek, a small stream emptying into Salt creek about two miles
northeast of the town. Greenwood creek was named in honor of a Mr.
Greenwood, an early settler, who lived near the creek a short
distance from its mouth. A neighboring precinct has the same name.
Gannett's work on place names states that the village received its
name from J. S. Green, an early settler.
- Louisville. There are several current reports as to the
naming of Louisville. A man whose father owned the land now
occupied by Louisville before the town was platted believes that
it was named for Louisville, Kentucky, which seems its most
probable origin. Another old settler thinks the town was named in
honor of the American explorer, Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809).
Still another old settler says that the town received its name
from a man named Louis who operated a little one-burr grist-mill
on the bank of Mill creek which runs through the town. Louisville
was laid out in January and platted in February, 1857. It was
incorporated by an act of the legislature approved February 10,
- Manley. This town was first called Summit and later its
name was changed to Manley. About forty years ago there were three
ranchmen living in the vicinity and it is thought that the town
was named for them.
- Murdock. Murdock takes its name from one of the members
of the town-site company. This company owned the town-sites of
several of the small stations along the Rock Island railroad in
- Murray. This town was first called Fairview, but when
it was found that there was another Fairview in the state, the
name was changed to Murray. The present name was given the town in
honor of the Reverend George L. Murray who was pastor of the
United Presbyterian church and a very influential man in the
- Mynard. Mynard was named for Mynard Lewis, a former
civil engineer on the Missouri Pacific railroad.
- Nehawka. This town received its name in a peculiar way.
When the government granted a post office to the farmers along the
north branch of the Weeping Water creek, Isaac Pollard, one of the
settlers; stopped at the post office department in Washington,
during a trip to the east to select a name for the new office. He
wanted to use the Indian name for "Weeping Water", but the only
one he could find was too hard to pronounce. Finally he came
across the word "Nehawka" which meant something else, but which he
thought sounded well, and so this name was agreed upon. Nehawka is
a white man's approximation to the Omaha and Otoe Indian name of
the creek, Nigahoe, which does not mean "weeping water" but means
the sound of water as it runs over low falls, that is "rustling
water." See Weeping Water.
- Plattsmouth. Plattsmouth, the county seat of Cass
county, was so named because of its location at the mouth of the
Platte river. It was laid out and platted by O. N. Tyson, surveyor
for the Plattsmouth Town Company, in November, 1854. It was
incorporated by an act of the legislature approved March 14,
- Rockbluff. A locally descriptive name for a village on
the Missouri river in Rock Bluff precinct.
- South Bend. South Bend was so named because of its
geographical location on the south bend of the Platte river. It
was laid out in 1857.
- Union. Soon after this vicinity was settled a post
office was established and named Union in harmony with sentiments
prevalent during that decade of the Civil War. Later the town was
founded and named after the local post office.
- Wabash. Some of the early settlers in the community
came from Indiana and at the time the town was platted named it
after Wabash, Indiana.
- Weeping Water. This town is situated on the creek
called by the French "L'Eau qui Pleure" or "The Water that Weeps",
and is named for the creek. There is an interesting Indian
tradition concerning the origin of this stream. It is said that
near the source of the river once lived a powerful and peaceful
tribe governed by a mild and valorous chief. The warriors of the
tribe were strong and fleet. The maidens were lithe and lovely and
their beauty exceeded that possessed by the maidens of any of the
neighboring tribes. The chief's daughter was the fairest of all
and so beautiful, indeed, that the chief of a powerful tribe in
the west fell in love with her and asked her father for her hand
in marriage. He was refused, but one day succeeded in abducting
her while she was bathing with her companions in a lake near the
village. Pursuit immediately followed with disastrous results, for
all of the pursuers were killed in the fight. After three days
waiting, the women who had been left in charge of the camp started
out in search of the warriors and found them dead on the
battlefield. This caused them to weep so long that their tears
formed the river "Weeping Water", which still exists. The town was
incorporated February 13, 1857.
The Omaha and Otoe
Indian name of the creek is Nigahoe, from ni, water, and
gahoe, the rustling, swishing sound of water running over
low falls, or "rustling water." The ho is an h with
a guttural sound. The name was confused by white men with Nihoage
which means "weeping water" from ni, water, and
hoage, weeping. The legend of "weeping water" is a white
man's tradition or invention to account for the word "weeping
water", a mistranslation as stated above.
Cedar county was
so named because of the presence of cedar trees in the locality. It
was organized and the boundaries defined by an act of the legislature
approved February 12, 1857. Its boundaries were redefined January 13,
- Aten. The town of Aten started in 1881. It was named
for its postmaster, John Aten, who was a former state senator from
- Belden. This town was named for Scott Belden who was
paymaster on the "short line" railroad built from Sioux City to
O'Neill in 1890. Mr. Belden came from Maquoketa, Iowa, to Sioux
- Coleridge. Mr. Whitten, General Superintendent of the
Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha railroad named the town
in honor of Lord Coleridge who was visiting in the United States
at the time.
- Fordyce. The town was named in honor of William B.
Fordyce who was a train dispatcher on the railroad for over
- Hartington. About a year before the country was visited
by Lord Coleridge (for whom Mr. Whitten named the town Coleridge),
Lord Hartington had visited the United States. Paralleling the
naming of Coleridge after Lord Coleridge, Mr. Whitten named
Hartington for Lord Hartington. Hartington is the county seat of
- Laurel. This town was platted by W. M. Martin who
organized the Original Town-Site Company of Laurel. It was named
for Mr. Martin's daughter, Laura, who is now Mrs. Elmer Everett of
- Magnet. B. E. Smith, owner of the town-site, named the
town after the magnet stone, with the hope that it "would attract
people as the magnet attracts iron." The town was established in
- Obert. This town was originally named Oberton in honor
of an officer on the railroad. The government, however, had
trouble because of confusion of the mail of Oberton and Overton.
Therefore the "on" was dropped from Oberton and the office was
- Randolph. The town of Randolph was named by F. H.
Peavey of Minneapolis, in honor of Lord Randolph Churchill,
1849-1895, of England.
- St. Helena. The location for this town was selected and
named by Carl C. P. Myer who was the first settler in the vicinity
in 1858. It was incorporated by an act of the legislature approved
October 20, 1858.
- Saint James. This place is an inland locality in
precinct 5. A village was laid out and named by Col. C. C. Van and
Moses H. Deming who came here in 1856 from Des Moines, Iowa.
- Saint Peter. An inland village in the northeastern part
of Cedar county, named for John Peter Abts, the first settler.
- Wareham. This place is a station on the Chicago,
Burlington, and Quincy railroad. It was probably named for
- Wynot. The name Wynot is. an amalgamation of why
not, which was the reply given to the person who suggested the
name when he asked, "Why not name it 'Wynot?' " It is said,
according to a local tradition, that there was an elderly German
in this vicinity whose answer to all questions was "W'y not?" The
boys and girls imitated him and later the older citizens caught
their habit and answered "W'y not?" to all questions. As a result
of this the town became Wynot.
© 2001 for the NEGenWeb Project by Connie Snyder