Posts Tagged With: Loup County

Nature Places Behind the Places: Fourteen Nebraska Counties

A element of nature that influenced the place, be it animal or geographical feature …

Antelope: Guessing what this county is named for is easy.  Guessing why may not be.  Evidently an antelope kindly provided a meal for Leander Gerrard (of Platte County) and the company that he was with.  They shot the antelope while on the trail of Indians.

Box Butte: Named for a rectangular butte located six miles north of Alliance.

Buffalo: In earlier times, buffalo herds used this land as a feeding ground.

Cedar: The trees that were in the region.  (This is the county my grandparents used to live in – visited this great county often through the years!)

Garden: They longed for this county to be the “garden spot of  the west.”   This has only been a separate county since 1909.

File:Windlass Hill ravine DS 1.JPG

Windlass Hill Ravine from Wikimedia (Garden County, NE)

I am not sure that it is garden-like, but it is pretty ..

Keya Paha County: This county is named for a river that can be found in the Northeast part of the county.  In Sioux, the word ke’-ya means turtle and pa-ha’ means hill.  River means wa-kpi’ in the Sioux language, but that part did not make it into the county name.

Loup: Named for the Pawnee Loup or Loup River that flows through the county.

Nemaha: Named for the Nemaha River.  In the Oto language, Ni means water, and Maha means miry.  Miry means swampy.  (This was a new word to me or maybe I always spelled the word another way?)

Platte: The French translation of the Indian word meaning flat.  First called “Loup” and only was the eastern part of today’s modern county.  Monroe was the western half that was eventually absorbed into the Platte County.

Red Willow: This county should technically be named “Red Dogwood” because that is the correct translation of the Sioux word “Chan shasha Wakpala.”  This plentiful shrub grew along the banks of the creek.

Rock: Rocky soil in this location.  Although interestingly enough, this is also one of the counties where the Niobrara flows through …

Saline:  For the supposed salt deposits in the area.    This ended up being false.  The interesting part of the story – the fight over the location of the county seat and the keeping of records.  You can read more on Saline County’s historical page.

Scotts Bluff: The noted landmark in the area influenced the name of the county.  (Of course, there was a person behind the name of the bluff: area trapper Hiram Scott who died at the base).

Valley: For the mostly valleys found in this county that is in between the higher table lands of the North Loup Valley that is around this county.

Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Nebraska History, Panhandle, Pioneer Country, Place Behind the Places, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

People Behind the Places: Nebraska Counties Part 3 K-M

Since I tend to get distracted/interrupted while attempting to write, the fact that I forgot a county last week in my “Peope Behind the Places: Nebraska Counties Part 2 E-J” blog is probably to be expected.  What was surprising was the county that I skipped.  The one where I have spent the most time in my life apart from Lancaster.  A county filled with wonderful people where my mom grew up and where many family members still live.  A place I have loved to visit: Hamilton County.  My sweet cousin is the one who caught my omission, and I still feel a bit embarrassed.  So, I edited the entry to contain Hamilton and am including the information at the beginning here as well, so that you do not have to go back to the previous entry unless you want to do so.

Hamilton: This is one of my favorite counties as my grandparents used to live there, and I still have an aunt & uncle & cousins and their families who make their residence there.  So rather ironic that I accidentally missed this page in the book that I am referencing.  Oops!  So this was added a bit late.   Anyway, you may have guessed that Alexander Hamilton, first United States Secretary of the Treasury is the one that Nebraska honored for county 28.

Now on to K- M

Kearney: Both the county and the town were so named because of Fort Kearny, a major Oregon Trail stopping point.  The fort was named in honor of Major General Stephen Watts Kearny who lived from 1794-1848.  In 1857, the post office made a mistake in the spelling of the town, and they refused to correct their error.  So, there you have it – two spellings of the same last name.

Keith: Morrill C. Keith of North Platte was given this honor.  His grandson, Keith Neville, would actually be the Nebraska governor (1917-1919).  While Morrill did not happen to live in Keith County, his Lincoln County is at least adjacent.

Kimball: A railroad man.  Thomas L. Kimball was vice president and general manager of the Union Pacific Railroad.  (Former name of this county was Cheyenne).

Knox: Renamed for Major General Henry Knox who had served in the Continental Army and became the country’s first secretary of war.  (Ironically he died from infection after he swallowed a chicken bone.  Oh those little tidbits of history that are often glossed over!)  But for 16 years, the county had a different name.  According to Andreas’ History of Knox County, 1882, this is meaning behind the original name.

Knox County was organized by the Territorial Legislature in 1857, and named L’Eau Qui Court, that being the French name for the river named by the Indians Niobrara–both names meaning, in English, Running Water. The name was changed to Knox by a statute passed February 21, 1873, which took effect April 1, 1873.

(More information can be found on the Knox County Nebraska GenWeb project).

Lincoln President Abraham Lincoln was of course given this honor in 1866 after his death.  The county’s original name: Shorter County.  An odd name for such a large county.  Lincoln County has a rich history including Buffalo Bill and Fort McPherson.

Logan: Union General John A. Logan is the recipient.  This was one of the later Nebraska counties as its boundaries were not defined until February 1886.

Loup: Taylor was the original name in 1855 (could not discover who that was for?) Renamed for the Pawnee Loup Indians in 1883.

Madison: Possibly President James Madison.  Or possibly for the German settlers who moved into the area from Madison County, Wisconsin.

McPherson: Famous from the Civil War, Union Army General James B. McPherson had this county named in his honor.

Merrick The only county named for a woman.  Elvira Merrick was the wife of a Dodge County legislator. Since she probably shared his last name, was not the county named for him as well?  Of course his first name is not mentioned in the Merrick County Nebraska Historical Society Document, so maybe it truly was for her? Hmmmmmm …

Morrill A University of Nebraska Regent, Charles Hentry Morrill, not only got a county named for him but also the name of the building that houses the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History.  Maybe the fact that he donated the building helped with that decision.  He participated in the Civil War as a musician (didn’t realize that was a possibility).  But later he did travel across Nebraska gathering up land, Indian artifacts and dinosaur remains, contributing much to the collections of our state.

More to come thanks to Perkey’s Nebraska Place Names!

P.S. You may have noticed a few counties have not been mentioned (including Lancaster) because they are actually “Places Behind the Places,” being named for locations rather than people.  So, they will be mentioned eventually.  If I do forget a county named for a person, please let me know.  As is evident with Hamilton, that is certainly a possibility.

Categories: Frontier Trails, Lewis and Clark, Nebraska History, Panhandle, People Behind the Place, Prairie Lakes, Region or City, Sandhills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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