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York County, Nebraska York Homepage

History of the State of Nebraska
Chicago: The Western Historical Company
A. T. Andreas, Proprietor

Page 1489

York was officially declared the county seat, and the County Clerk ordered to give due notice of the fact as provided by law.

The second session of the board was held July 6, 1870. At this session the county was divided into three voting precincts, including the same territory embraced by the three Commissioners' Districts, and designated them by similar names. Shortly after they were given the names of West Blue, Beaver Creek, and Moore.

During this month the first tax was levied, and the following March A. E. Streeter made the first assessment of the county. The assessment roll shows a total valuation of all property, real and personal, to be $22,464, while the total tax levied amounted to $2,920.04.

On the 4th of October, 1870, Edward Batts [Bates] resigned his office of County Clerk, and D. R. Creegan was appointed to fill the vacancy. On the 12th of this month Judge D. T. Moore, Dr. Thomas L. Myers, now of Aurora, and A. J. Gilmore, were appointed Commissioners to appraise the school lands of the county. At one of the closing sessions of 1870, held November 15, Judge Moore generously donated his salary to the county and was accorded a vote of thanks by the board.

It will be remembered that at this time a court house and fire proof vault were things unknown in York County, and no secure place had been provided for the archives of the county. The old pre-emption house of A. M. Ghost, was used as a court house during this year and up to the fall of 1871. Each officer was responsible for the records entrusted to him, and was at liberty to carry them in his pocket, hide them under his bed, or make such arrangements for their safety as he thought best.

In November of this year, a new mail route was established from Lincoln to Grand Island, via Seward, and three new post offices were established in the county, named Palo, Thayer, and Aikin's Mill, Chauncy Aikins served Uncle Sam as Postmaster at Aikin's Mill, and J. H. Parker at Thayer. Soon after this the citizens of York petitioned for a mail route between York and Fairmont by way of McFadden, which was granted on condition the people pay for conveying the mails. Such a piece of economy on the part of a Postmaster General of the present time, seems incredible, but nevertheless it remains a historical fact. Dr. Thomas L. Myers was appointed Postmaster at York, but the office not proving very lucrative, he soon resigned and F. O. Bell was appointed as his successor. He held the office for two years and was succeeded by J. E. Cochran, who resigned in a short time and Mrs. M. J. Hammond, the present efficient incumbent, was appointed.

At the first session of the board of the year 1871, held January 3, Beaver Creek Precinct was divided on the line between Ranges 2 and 3, and the west portion was created a new precinct, under the name of Baker. Moore Precinct was also divided on the line between Range 2 and 3, and the east portion formed into a new precinct and named Stewart.

On the 29th of July, York Precinct was created and the county seat made the place of voting.

At an adjourned session of the board, convened November 2, 1871, the county was re-divided into nine voting precincts, eight miles square, named as follows, commencing at the northeast corner, and running west thence east, etc.: Stewart, Houston, North Blue, Baker, York, Beaver Creek, West Blue, Woodruff and Henderson.

During this year the first county road was laid out along the West Blue and was surveyed by H. Badger. Soon after this a bill was drafted by Judge D. T. Moore and D. R. Creegan, making all section lines a road, in certain counties, including York County. This bill passed the Legislature and became a law. The provisions were afterward extended to include all the counties of the State.

In August, 1871, it was decided to call a special election to vote upon the proposition to sell enough of the town lots owned by the county to build a court house. The proposition was carried, $1,500 worth of lots sold, and the contract to build the present court house let to Mr. Charlton. It was a fine building for that time but appears rather insignificant now, after a lapse of ten years of usefulness. Prior to this time and the building of the court house, the records were kept in a sod building of one room adjoining Dr. Tutton's drug store and the sessions of the Commissioners held in the Doctor's store, who was County Clerk until the close of 1872, resigning December 2. John H. Helms succeeded him being appointed to fill vacancy.

In the fall of 1870 A. J. Gilmore was elected County Commissioner to fill the place of David Buzzard, whose term of office had expired. At the general election of 1871 Judge D. T. Moore was elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Two hundred and eighteen votes were cast in the county and the following persons were called from the walks of private life to serve the county: A. B. Tutton, County Clerk; B. M. Elliott, Treasurer; C. D. Aikins, Sheriff; L. P. Buckmaster, Probate Judge; H. H. Tate, Superintendent Public Instruction.

In the spring of 1871 York County received its first proposal for building a railroad. Dr. Converse, Superintendent of the Midland Pacific Railroad, submitted a proposition to the people of York County in which he offered to extend the company's road from Seward to York if the county would vote bonds to the amount of $150,000, payable in twenty years, and donate the right of way through it. The proposition met with decided opposition throughout the county in general but more particularly in the southern precincts that received little benefit in the way of building up and establishing towns.

While the settlers were fully aroused to the necessity of having railroad facilities and fully appreciated the advantages to be derived from one, yet they were unwilling and very sensibly refused to load the young county with a debt that would have been a burden to its inhabitants for many years. A special election was called March 19, 1872, and the proposition accordingly voted down.

The annual election of 1873 gave the county the following officers: L. J. Gandy, Treasurer; F. W. Liedke, Clerk; W. E. Morgan, Probate Judge; J. P. Miller, Sheriff; T. A. Parkinson, Superintendent Public Instruction; Frank Manning, Surveyor; T. Brooks, Coroner; W. H. Greer and Thomas Burgess, Commissioners, and the following year of 1874 H. S. Burtch was elected Commissioner.

A project for building a narrow gauge railroad had been advanced by some of the leading citizens of the county, the stockholders to be residents of the county. This created quite a stir and some enthusiasm was manifested. It was meeting with some favor and endorsement when another proposition was received from Dr. Converse which ran the narrow gauge scheme entirely off the track. This second proposition was submitted in 1874 and demanded only $94,000, in county bonds, in consideration of which the Midland Pacific Road was to be extended to York. The bond campaign of 1875 was a very warm one and met with some opposition. Eleven hundred and seventy-five votes were cast at this election and the proposition was favored by a sufficient majority in the county, while the precinct of York voted to issue its bonds to the amount of $10,000 as an additional bonus. The company fulfilled its promises and the first train reached York in August, 1877. In the fall of 1875, at the general election, Liedke, Gandy, Miller and Brooks were re-elected. W. B. Cummins, Probate Judge; J. E. Cochran, Superintendent of Public Instruction; A. B. Codding, Surveyor.

At this election Hon. George W. Post, at this time a young and promising member of the York bar, was elected Judge of the Fourth Judicial District, which position he still holds, having been re-elected in 1879. The first Representatives to the State Legislature from York County were elected in 1876. The Senatorial District included York and Hamilton Counties. Hon. S. V. Moore and Hon. Lee Love were chosen to serve the people as Representatives, and Hon. W. M. Knapp as Senator. Benjamin Woolman was this year elected Commissioner.

In 1877 Messrs. F. W. Leidke [Liedke], J. P. Miller, L. J. Gandy, W. B. Cummins, J. E. Cochran, and A. B. Codding were re-elected, and Thomas Gray as Commissioner.

At the general election in 1878, W. T. Scott and W. H. Keekley were elected to the State Legislature and F. W. Liedke as State Auditor. Mr. Liedke resigned his position as County Clerk, and the Commissioners appointed Hon. Lee Love to fill the vacancy caused.

At the election of county officers for 1879, W. B. Cummins, J. P. Miller and A. B. Codding were again re-elected. J. A. Eatherly was elected County Clerk; A. J. Bell, District Clerk, E. E. Armor, Superintendent Public Instruction, and Charles W. Wullebrandt [Wulbrandt], Commissioner.

In the fall of 1880 Hon. S. V. Moore and Albert Wilsey were elected as Representatives; Martin Burns as State Senator, and Jesse Love, County Commissioner.

The election of 1881 gave the county the services of the present efficient officials who were elected as follows: Milton Sovereign, Clerk; J. W. Bennett, Treasurer; W. W. Giffen, County Judge; James H. Hamilton, Sheriff; E. E. Armor, Superintendent Public Instruction; A. B. Codding, Surveyor; J. W. Wells, M. D., Coroner; S. A. Myers, Commissioner.

In the spring of 1873 the county was encumbered by a debt of $44,000 caused by the erection of bridges and other internal improvements, and funded its debts by issuing bonds to that amount.


The following is the roster of county officials from the organization of the county up to the present time:

1870. Commissioners—David Buzzard, S. N. Moore, L. F. Wyman, A. J. Gilmore, October 13, 1870; D. F. Moore [D. T. Moore], Probate Judge; J. W. Frost, Treasurer; Edward Bates, D. R. Cuegan [Creegan], appointed October 6; George Flock, Sheriff; W. H. Armstrong, Superintendent Public Instruction; Randolph Fairbanks, Coroner; Frank Manning, Surveyor.

1871-72. Commissioners—A. J. Gilmore, L. F. Wyman, Andrew Houston, J. H. Stewart (1872), S. P. Buckmaster, Probate Judge; B. M. Elliott, Treasurer; A. B. Tutton, Clerk; John H. Helms, appointed December 2, 1872; H. H. Tate, Superintendent Public Instruction; Randolph Fairbanks, Coroner; F. Connelly, Surveyor.

1873-74. Commissioners—James H. Stewart, Thomas Burgess, H. Burtch (1874), L. F. Wyman, W. H. Greer, O. C. Harris, appointed June 7, 1873; W. E. Morgan, Probate Judge; L. J. Gandy, Treasurer; T. W. Liedke [F. W. Liedke], Clerk; C. D. Aikins, Sheriff; T. A. Parkinson, Superintendent Public Instruction; F. Brooks, Coroner; A. B. Codding, Surveyor.

1875-76. Commissioners—W. H. Greer, Thomas Burgess, H. S.

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