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Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Gosper County
This selection produced by
R. J. Christensen.


Gosper County is situated on the high divide of table-land between the Platte and Republican Rivers. In extent, it is twenty-four miles in length from north to south, and eighteen miles in width, except in the southern tier of townships, which has an additional township on the west. The county is bounded on the north by Dawson County, on the east by Phelps, on the south by Furnas and on the west by Frontier.

In the eastern part of the county, there is a strip of land varying from six to ten miles in width, that is comparatively level, being made up generally of a rolling upland prairie, well adapted to crop-raising, as the soil is of the most fertile quality. West of the above-described lands, and extending to the western boundary, is a very rough extent of land, comprising bluffs and hills too steep to permit of a successful cultivation. This hilly land is intersected by numerous small streams and cañons, some of which have running water during all seasons of the year, and those which do not, retain the water in deep holes in their beds and are supplied by springs. The water is thus kept fresh and pure. Plum Creek flows through the northern part of the county, and adds much to the stock-raising facilities. There is no other stream of any great size or importance in the county, those that have been mentioned being but little rivulets flowing down the deep valleys between the hills. This hilly region is covered with quite a heavy growth of rich, wild grass, which makes it one of the best regions for natural pasturage in Western Nebraska. There are a few small tracts of land among the hills that are comparatively level, and well adapted to the raising of grain.


In the eastern half of the county, there is considerable settlement, and a large number of attractive and productive farms have been opened up, and there is a large acreage of cultivated land.

There were no settlements to speak of made in the county previous to 1872, when a few settlers entered homestead claims, built houses upon them and began to cultivate the land.

In 1873, there was quite a heavy immigration to the county, and a large number of claims were entered in the fertile eastern part.

The population had reached such a number that it was concluded to organize the county. Therefore, a petition was sent to Gov. Furnas, asking for power to organize. The Governor therefore issued a proclamation, according to which the county became organized, on the 29th day of August, 1873, and named Gosper in honor of John J. Gosper, then Secretary of State.

From the date of the organization of the county to the present day, everything has moved on peaceably and harmoniously in its public affairs. Upon the organization of the county, no county seat was located, but the county records were kept at the house of the County Clerk. Up to the present time, the present time the same thing is true, and whenever a new County Clerk is elected, the records are removed to his home. There are no public buildings belonging to the county, and but very few public improvements, with the exception of district schoolhouses, a few of which are of frame, but the greater number of them are built of sod.

The population of the county has continued to increase slowly but steadily, until it now numbers about two thousand. The settlers are all engaged either in farming or stock-raising, and in many instances combining the two. The settlers of this county have generally been prosperous, fully as much so as those of adjoining counties. There has been no general destruction of crops except by grasshoppers, which, from 1874 to 1876, destroyed nearly all the crops that had been planted during those years. A few seasons have been so dry as to cut the crop rather short, but the yield has, on the whole, been good. A large number of well-improved and productive farms are scattered over the prairies in the eastern half of the county.

At this date of writing, there is no town situated anywhere within the limits of the county. There are a few country stores and a number of post offices, but the greater part of the trade of the county goes to Plum Creek, on the line of the Union Pacific Railroad, to the north, and to Arapahoe, on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, to the south.

With all its natural advantages taken into consideration, it would seem that Gosper was destined to become one of the prosperous counties of Southwestern Nebraska. But the population can never be very great, as a combination of crop and stock raising must be the chief industry for all time to come.

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