We know who named York County — the first territorial legislature in 1855. Why they chose the name of York is a lot more difficult to answer.
In early 1912 there was an attempt by local residents to document why we were named York. They initially tried to contact Mr. A. D. Jones, who had been the chairman of the legislative committee responsible for defining and naming the counties. They were too late, as Mr. Jones had died ten years earlier.
They continued researching the reason why we were named York, but they weren't able to find any definite answers.
Over the years, three theories have been published.
Some thought we were named by early settlers living in here, or that an early settler living here was named York. We know that isn't true because there weren't any settlers living in York County in 1855 — and there wouldn't be until about 1861.
Others thought it was because Mr. Jones and his family had come to Nebraska from York, Pennsylvania. They found he had indeed come from Pennsylvania, but not the city of York. It is possible that there were other representatives or councilmen in that first legislature session that came from York, Pennsylvania. But, no one has been able to prove that this is why we were named York.
The third theory is that we were named after York, England. This too is possible. They may have been honoring someone's ancestral home, but if this is so we don't know which family was honored. Some think it might have been to honor Mark Izard's family, since he was the new governor for the Nebraska Territory and that is where his family came from. But again, no one has been able to prove if this is the reason we were named York.
Today we still don't have a definitive reason why we were named York County. Which theory do you think is most probable?