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Sheridan County

By Mrs. Fred (Betty E.) Evans, Hay Springs, Nebraska
from "Recollections of Sheridan County, Nebraska"

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 in 1881.

The homes of the early settlers were tents, dugouts and sod houses.

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 Valentine.

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 cemetery.

[For a more detailed history of Sheridan County, please read the
full text written by Mrs. Betty E. Evans and Ms. Mae Manion]

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Our Sincere THANK YOU to Emmett Mason, who did such a wonderful job as the previous Sheridan County Coordinator. 

All of Emmett's hard work has been preserved
on these pages, and can be seen in the
many valuable research records.

Sheridan County Co-Coordinators:
LaRae Halsey-Brooks & Eireann Brooks

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This page was last updated November 14, 2017.

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for the NEGenWeb Project