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Holt County is a county located in the state of Nebraska. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 10,435.Its county seat is O'Neill.
Holt County is located in the Outback area of Nebraska.
Named after American statesman Joseph Holt
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Each year the residents of Holt
County celebrate with great pride their Irish ancestry and the role it played in
the development of the county. In fact, O'Neill, the county seat, is oftentimes
referred to as the Irish Capital of Nebraska.
The Irish heritage in the county dates back more than 122 years. Ten years after the county's boundaries were established in 1862, Gen. John O'Neill conceived a plan to bring his Irish countrymen out of the crowded East and to the land of "Room Enough." O'Neill traveled through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska seeking a suitable site. He decided on Holt County, which had been named after American statesman Joseph Holt. O'Neill brought groups of Irish immigrants to the area each year beginning 1864 and continuing through 1867. O'Neill's efforts are credited for the county's early development.
The first attempts to organize Holt County were made in 1873. However, the area did not have the required 200 inhabitants at that time. A second effort was made three years later and a governor's proclamation was issued that June. In the election that followed in August, a settlement named Twin Lakes was made the county seat. Canvassing the vote became so difficult that the election was declared invalid and another election was held in December. This time the village of Paddock was named the county seat.
Since Paddock was located on the extreme north edge of the county, dissatisfaction grew and a special election was held in 1879 to relocate the county seat to a more central location. O'Neill was chosen. It would not be until 1885 that a courthouse was built. Between 1888 and 1904 at least five attempts were made to move the seat of government again. All failed.
Today, O'Neill is known as the gateway to the Sandhills, with livestock feeders and farmers on the east and ranchers to the west. The area is one of the leading hay producers in the state. Because of the abundance of water sources in the county, irrigated corn is its most prevalent farm crop.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,417 square miles (6,260 km2), of which 2,412 square miles (6,250 km2) is land and 5.1 square miles (13 km2) (0.2%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in Nebraska by area.
Bordering counties are as follows: