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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.

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Thayer County, Nebraska

Thayer County Education, Geography, and HistoryThayer County, Nebraska Courthouse

Thayer County is a county located in the state of Nebraska. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 5,228. Its county seat is Hebron. The county was created in 1856 and originally named Jefferson County. It was later organized in 1870-1871 and renamed for the General and Governor John Milton Thayer

Etymology - Origin of Thayer County Name

Jefferson and Jones Counties were united to become one, under the Jefferson name. Then in 1870 the Legislature once again separated the two. What was originally called Jones took the name Jefferson and retained the old county records. The initial Jefferson became known as Thayer, in honor of Gen. John Milton Thayer, a US senator from Nebraska and later its governor.

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

The area that is known today as Thayer County was first established by the Territorial Legislature in 1856. It would be another 14 years before it would become known as Thayer County, however.

Legislators originally designated the area as Jefferson County, while the present Jefferson County, neighboring to the east, was designated as Jones County. In 1867, when Nebraska was admitted to the Union, Jefferson and Jones Counties were united to become one, under the Jefferson name. Then in 1870 the Legislature once again separated the two. What was originally called Jones took the name Jefferson and retained the old county records. The initial Jefferson became known as Thayer, in honor of Gen. John Milton Thayer, a US senator from Nebraska and later its governor.

The early development of the area was attributed to the great trail period. Nearly 2-1/2 decades before it became Thayer County, the area was crossed by the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express Route. This brought thousands of immigrants through the area and caused the Indians to fear the white man was taking over their cherished hunting grounds. A number of fierce raids and battles took place between 1864 and 1867.

An 1869 circular promoting the colonization of this area resulted in scores of settlers rushing in to file for homesteads. The circular falsely claimed, however, that factories, mills, railroads and flourishing towns awaited for them. None of these conditions actually existed.

When the St. Joseph and Western Railroad built through northern Thayer County in 1872 and the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad crossed the southern portion of the county, new growth resulted. Hebron, first surveyed three years earlier, was named the county seat.

Hardships have not been uncommon in this area. Grasshoppers, drought, prairie fires and blizzards hampered early settlers. But one of the most devastating hardships occurred in 1953 when a tornado tore through Hebron, damaging everything in its path, including more than $70,000 damage to the courthouse.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 575 square miles (1,490 km2), of which 574 square miles (1,490 km2) is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) (0.2%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Jefferson County (east)
  • Washington County, Kansas (southeast)
  • Republic County, Kansas (south)
  • Nuckolls County (west)
  • Fillmore County (north)

Education

Nebraska Colleges, Universities, & Schools
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