information taken from Heritage of Bancroft: 1884-1984
which was compiled by the Heritage committee
who worked to preserve 100 years of the town's history in 1982-1984
Bancroft lies in the gently rolling hills of the area known as Logan Valley in Bancroft Township of Cuming County, Nebraska. "Unashta Zinga", little stopping place, was the name given by the Omaha Indians when the trains used to stop here to put water in the boiler of the engines long before there was a town. In 1876, Mr. Ford Bella Barber came west, liked what he saw and purchased land from the State of Nebraska for a farm. In June of 1880 he deeded 40 acres of his land plus a part of the adjacent 40 acres for a railroad right of way to the railroad along with an agreement that the company would lay out a plat for use as a town site. He retained a one-half interest in the agreement and became an agent for the company's sale of lots. In the fall of 1880 the plat for the town of Barbersville was recorded in the county clerk's office in honor of F. B. Barber. This did not last long as Mr. Barber did not wish to have the town named after him so the townsfolk decided to call the town Bancroft after George Bancroft, a popular civil engineer of the railroad who was working in Bancroft at the time. (According to State Historical Society record in Lincoln, the town is named in honor of George Bancroft, American Historian.) The third name for the village "took" and has lasted throughout the years.
Every town worthy of its salt tends to the spiritual and educational needs of its citizens; Bancroft has been no exception. Spiritually the community has been served by the following churches: Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Four Square Gospel, Christian Science, Presbyterian, Catholic and Lutheran Churches several of which are still active today. Educationally there has been a school in the area since 1870—District #20 opened with 27 boys and 25 girls registered. Today Bancroft-Rosalie Community School serves students from Kindergarten through the twelfth grades from both communities. Other schools throughout the years have been rural District Schools #21, #32, #50, #62, #72, #78, and #80. There is only one District school still in existence today and that is #82. Zion Lutheran School has been in existence since 1880 and is still serving the children of the area desiring the children of the area desiring a Christian based education.
The Native American peoples have continued to play a role in Bancroft’s history. The John J. Neihardt Foundation Center recognizes their contribution with a Museum that features interesting artifacts and history of the area’s Indians, a sacred Sioux prayer circle plus tributes by poet Neihardt.
The way of life for Bancroft has seen many changes throughout the years, but it is still an active rural community serving those living within and around its borders with pride and success.