Nebraska Counties
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Nebraska Counties

There is ninety-three counties in state of Nebraska. Despite the fact that Sarpy County contained the oldest settlement in the state, it was one of the last lands along the river to be recognized by law. Finally, on February 1, 1857, the land "where the cities meet the country" was officially created.

Brown County, Nebraska

Brown County Education, Geography, and HistoryBrown County, Nebraska Courthouse

Brown County is a county located in the state of Nebraska. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 3,145. Its county seat is Ainsworth. The county was established in 1883 and named for two members of the legislature who reported the bill for organization of the county.

Etymology - Origin of Brown County Name

It is quite possible that no one will ever know for exactly whom Brown County was named. What is known, however, is that the county was named in honor of two members of the Legislature who sponsored the bill to create the county. The first names of sponsors were not designated and during that session of 1883 there were five legislators whose last name was Brown. It has been noted that friends of each of the five men have claimed the county was named for his friend.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Brown County History

Considered part of the Sandhills, Brown County was at one time part of an area known as Sioux County. The only government for the region was administered from military posts. In 1876, Holt County was organized and for taxation purposes the area that would become Brown County was attached to it.

Early settlements of the mid-1870s were cattle ranches, stocked with Texas longhorns that had been driven over the old Chisholm Trail. Rich prairie grass, ample water and firewood, and sufficient shelter in the canyons made the area perfect for raising cattle herds. But the area had yet to be officially opened for settlement and these ranchers had no legal title to the land. The severe winter of 1880-1881 resulted in the starvation of scores of cattle herds and many of the ranchers were forced to abandon their dreams. This meant the land was open for settlement again.

Covered wagons and the westward advancement of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad brought to the area new settlers, mainly farmers. Taking advantage of the area's 24-inch annual rainfall, these farmers produced carloads of wheat that in 1884 and 1888 were awarded prizes for being the best grades received by the Chicago Board of Trade.

Ainsworth was named the county seat in July 1883 election. The county's original courthouse was constructed in 1887 and used until it was destroyed by fire on Easter morning in 1958. County offices were temporarily housed in buildings along the main street of Ainsworth until February 1961 when the present courthouse was opened.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,225 square miles (3,170 km2), of which 1,221 square miles (3,160 km2) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Brown County is located in Nebraska's Outback region

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Keya Paha County, Nebraska - north
  • Rock County, Nebraska - east
  • Loup County, Nebraska - southeast
  • Blaine County, Nebraska - south
  • Cherry County, Nebraska - west


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