Merrick County's 100th Year: 1858-1958


In Recognition

If this small souvenir booklet were to become a huge volume it could name relatively few of the fine people and moving events that have combined over the past century in making Merrick County the greatest place on earth to call Home.

We do not presume to call this a history of Merrick County. Its primary purpose is to remind us of the rich heritage that is ours. Through the life and efforts of sturdy men and women, who traveling to the west, viewed the rich stretches of the Platte Valley and said, "This to the place to establish our homes and rear our families."

Fundamental to the growth and success of any great development are certain basic forces. In this little volume you will find a brief review of some of the forces that we feel have combined to develop Merrick County on a high level. The church has contributed to a high moral plane of living. A strong educational program has given breadth and vision. A rich agricultural and industrial development have made our county one of the garden spots of America. These, coupled with a host of civic minded and forward looking business and professional men, the county over, have brought us to a position of justifiable pride and a feeling of secure confidence in the future.

In a hurried publication such as this we have undoubtedly made errors in accuracy. We have purposely refrained from detailed personal eulogies. This booklet is dedicated to all of the people of Merrick County who have contributed to its progress.

You will find brief tribute to some of our early settlers. Pictures, old and new, a quick chronology, plus many other interesting features.

We wish to acknowledge our debt to pioneers Ed. Persinger and the late P. S. Heaton, two of Merrick County's distinguished citizens, from whose histories of Merrick County we have been able to obtain much of our historical data.

A special thank you to Miner Harris for his hours and hours of digging out, writing and arranging of materials. Without his experience and endless effort this publication might have been well nigh impossible.

A word of appreciation to the Centennial Board and to the special contributors who have spent many hours from busy schedules in planning and promoting this great celebration.

Let's participate, let's have fun, but, above all, let's remember the tremendous obligation we have in passing on to the generations who are to succeed us the same rich heritage that has been ours.




How Merrick County Got Its "Shape"

With a "panhandle" about 200 rods wide and nine miles long extending up between Nance and Howard Counties, Merrick is one of the most peculiarly shaped counties of Nebraska. There is another panhandle, 5 1/2 miles wide and six miles long at the northeast end of the county, Most of the northern boundary is a series of jogs, and very little of it coincides with section lines, and much less, township lines. The county line cuts across farmers' fields in more cases than not.
How come that Merrick County came to have such a fantastic shape?

When the Territorial government established Merrick County one hundred years ago, its boundary on the north was a straight line extending from the north tip of the present "Merrick County Strip" due east 36 miles. (See accompanying plat). Merrick's first boundaries were all straight lines except on the south where it followed the Platte River.

In 1857, the year before Merrick County was laid out, the Pawnee Indian Reservation had been established. Merrick County took in nearly half of this reservation. The Pawnees, numbering about 4,000 had been roving over much of eastern Nebraska, north of the Platte River. By 1859, practically all of them had settled on the reservation. They were generally friendly towards the Whites, but their life here was not too happy. They were victims of raids and bloodshed inflicted by the Sioux, Poncas and other warlike tribes. A few years later the Pawnees began their emigration to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). By 1876, practically all the Pawnees had left Nebraska.

In 1873, an act of legislation took from Merrick County that portion of the reservation that had been within its borders. Thus Merrick County lost about 180 square miles of territory and was left with its present ungainly Merrick County Strip, and its jagged boundary line along its north border. The Indians had wanted both banks of the Loup River included in their reservation. So the southern border was jogged to coincide with the northeasterly course of the river.

In 1897, the Pawnee Reservation was made into a county, named Nance in honor of the newly elected governor of the state, Albinus Nance. In 1875, Boone County was established north of the reservation. In 1881, Nance County annexed a strip of "unorganized territory" about 200 rods wide and six miles long at its west edge, lying north of the Merrick County "strip." When Boone County was organized, it might easily have included this area. It would then have learned the disadvantages of having a "strip" to administer. This area is shown in black on the map.

Compliments of
Central City

Merrick Co. Map









BACK ROW: (Left to Right) Warren Marsh. Arthur Klingenberg, P. C. Woodward, Leo Stines, Leslie Lindahl (President) E. H. Tooker, Holly Wilhoft,

FRONT ROW: Pat Lewis, (Secretary-Treasurer) Flora Nordstrom, Mrs. Alice Rest, Mrs. Floyd Gorgen (Vice President), Mrs. Geo. Morgan.


BACK ROW: (Left to right) Warren Marsh, Donald Sampson, Amer Lincoln.

FRONT ROW: Miner Harris, D. E. Magnuson, Mrs. Herbert Lock, Fred A. Marsh.







BACK ROW: (Left to Right) Mrs. Don Shull. Mrs. Donald Booth. (Secretary-Treasurer) Mrs. Lew Charron, Mrs. Warren Marsh, Mrs. Fish.

SEATED: Mrs. Gordon Reeves, (President), Mrs. Wesley Beck.

Compliments of
Central City


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Site Updated: 02 December 2015