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Nuckolls County is a county located in the state of Nebraska. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 4,500. Its county seat is Nelson.
Nuckolls County is named in honor of the Nuckolls brothers. Lafayette Nuckolls, at age 19, became a member of the first Territorial Legislature while his brother, Stephen, was a pioneer Nebraska settler, businessman and banker.
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Prior to being organized in 1871, the
area which today is Nuckolls County was the scene of some of the most fierce
Indian raids ever recorded in the south central portion of Nebraska. The largest
raid, recorded on Aug. 7, 1864, is said to have stretched from Gage County to
Denver. By 1867, the area was virtually abandoned. By the 1870s the situation
had greatly improved and settlers once again began to inhabit the area.
The Little Blue River, which passes through the northeast corner of the county, led to much of the settlement that pre-dated the Indian raids. Mormons passed through this area on their way to Salt Lake City. Thus the Oregon Trail was created and in 1858 the government began using it for transporting supplies to frontier military posts. The following year the Pony Express began following this route.
E.S. Comstock is widely credited for the early development of this area. In 1856 Comstock established the first stage station at Oak, along the Little Blue River. Eventually a post office and a Chicago and Northwestern Railroad station were located in Oak. Following the Indian raids and subsequent return of the settlers, the area began to prosper.
About this same time the county's boundaries were established by the Legislature, although it was be another 11 years before the county was officially organized. The county's first election was held June 21, 1871 under a giant elm tree near the settlement of Oak. For the next several years, all county business would be conducted from the home of D.W. Montgomery, who had been elected surveyor. In 1874, as the population began to spread over the county, voters selected Nelson as the county seat. Nelson, which was surveyed only the year before, was located in the center of the county and was more accessible to settlers.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 576 square miles (1,490 km2), of which 575 square miles (1,490 km2) is
land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (0.1%) is water.
Bordering counties are as follows: