About Sheridan County
SHERIDAN COUNTY AND ITS STORY
By Mrs. Fred (Betty E.) Evans, Hay Springs, Nebraska
from "Recollections of Sheridan County,
Sheridan County gets its name from the Civil War general
Philip H. Sheridan. Principal Indian tribes at that time
were the Sioux, Pawnee, and Cheyenne. A band of the
Sioux, known as the Brule (Broo-la) Indians, lived on
Beaver Creek. Here in 1871 was established the Spotted
Tail Agency named for the Indian Chief Spotted Tail.
Spotted Tail disappeared after a few years and in 1874
Fort Sheridan was established on Beaver Creek not far
from the agency's previous location. In 1881 Fort
Sheridan was discontinued.
Sheridan County was originally a part of Sioux County.
Sioux county was a great block of unorganized territory
with no administrative, judicial, or tax set-up. Because
it had no organization "set-up" it was attached
to Cheyenne County to carry out any taxation,
administration, etc. This vast territory extended from
Holt County to the Wyoming line.
The first white settlement was made on White Clay Creek
approximately twenty miles northwest of the present site
of Rushville. Most of the first settlers took
"squatter's rights" upon the land, filing later
at Valentine after the U.S. land office was established
The homes of the early settlers were tents, dugouts and
James Garfield Brooks and Beatrice
Hannah (Frost) Brooks with family outside their
sod house in Gordon, Sheridan County, Nebraska. Children:
Beatrice, Kathryn Elaine,
Pearl, Lorin, Robert Emmett. Photograph taken 1904.
On July 1, 1885, Gov. James W. Dawes
proclaimed the new County of Sheridan, the same being a
strip 69 miles long and 36 miles wide off the east edge
of Sioux County.
The towns soon became incorporated after the county was
formed. Rushville was first on October 9, 1885, with
Gordon and Hay Springs incorporating on November 19,
1885. The first trustees of the village of Hay Springs
were William Waterman, A. McKinney, George Millard,
George Ballet, and J. E. Brown.
At Hay Springs the early doctors were Dr. Anderson, Dr.
A. N. Sheffner, Dr. Stanley Clements, and Dr. Albert J.
Molzahn and Dr. Bowman.
The railroad was first built only to Valentine. The
settlers could travel this far by train but from there on
they had to travel by team.
The very first church was organized and the first
services held in Sheridan County near Gorgon by the Rev.
Scamahorn. This took place in front of his home, a tent,
in May 1884. This was the first Methodist Church west of
In those days every vicinity tried to bring in new
settlers. Rushville did quite a bit of boasting -- their
best boast was the one about the climate being so good
that they had to shoot a man in order to start a
[For a more detailed history of Sheridan County, please
read the full text
written by Mrs. Betty E. Evans and Ms. Mae Manion]
Sheridan County Rootsweb Resource
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