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.

McPherson County, Nebraska

McPherson County Education, Geography, and HistoryMcPherson County, Nebraska Courthouse

McPherson County is a county located in the state of Nebraska. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 539, making it the third-least populous county in Nebraska and the eighth-least populous county in the United States. Its county seat is Tryon. The county was formed in 1890 from Logan County and named after Union General James B. McPherson.

McPherson County is part of the North Platte, NE Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of McPherson County Name

Named after Civil War Gen. James McPherson.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

McPherson County History

Although the original boundaries of McPherson County were established by the Legislature in 1887, settlement of this area in the southern Sandhills was relatively slow. The first settlers were primarily cattlemen who arrived in the 1870s and established large, free-range ranches.

McPherson County was officially organized in 1890 and named after Civil War Gen. James McPherson. At that time the county included the area that is today neighboring Arthur County, which was then known as Arthur precinct. For many years, a sod courthouse was used by McPherson County officials. Constructed in 1890, the sod building would be used until 1926.

Passage of the Kinkaid Act in 1904 is credited with an increase in the number of settlers who came to McPherson County. By 1910 the county would reach nearly 2,500 inhabitants, which would be its peak population. But within five years the sparse resources and the lack of a railroad forced many "Kinkaiders" to sell their holdings to some of the larger ranch operations. From that point on the county's population declined.

McPherson County encountered a stiff conflict in July 1912 when two jail cells were purchased at a cost of $1,300. Arthur precinct residents strongly objected to the expense and also to the location of the county seat in Tryon. Efforts to move the county seat to Flats were unsuccessful. The following year residents of Arthur precinct initiated steps to secede from McPherson County. Within a year the process was completed and successful, with McPherson and Arthur Counties being created and the current boundaries established.

Tryon, the McPherson County seat, is one of only two unincorporated villages in Nebraska to serve as a county seat. The other is Harrisburg, in Banner County. In 1916, efforts were begun to replace the sod courthouse with a modern building. Ten years later this dream became reality as a two-story brick building was constructed. The courthouse is now among those listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 860 square miles (2,200 km2), of which 859 square miles (2,220 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (0.1%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Hooker County - north
  • Thomas County - northeast
  • Logan County - east
  • Lincoln County - southeast
  • Keith County - southwest
  • Arthur County - west


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