could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Gibbon Township

Location –
In bottom row of townships, 4th from west.
        North – 115th Road South – Coal Chute Road
        East – Pawnee road West – Keystone Road

Geographical Features –
Wood River west to east winding through second row of sections from top
Another stream parallel to Wood, north of it empties into Wood north of Gibbon

– Wood River and Platte

All cultivated, little grassland

Does not include the Platte River because there is another stray township south of the Interstate below both Gibbon and Shelton Townships.

Man Made Features –
East/west – Highway 30 and UP railroad go through Gibbon and on west in southerly slant
        Interstate 80 catches corner of the last southeast section with Windmill State Recreation Area at the exit
North/south – Ravenna Road

Gibbon on east edge in center north/south.

        Pawnee Road – County road on east edge of Gibbon – township border.
        Gibbon Road – Country road on west edge of Gibbon, 1mile west
        Name – 1866 - U P Railroad – Gibbon Siding –
            Named Gibbon Siding in honor of Gen. John Gibbon, who served in the Mexican and Civil War
        April 1871 – Gibbon Homestead Colony
            56 Homestead filings that year. On alternate [non-railroad owned] sections

Some history of Nebraska, Original formation of Buffalo County,

        and the Boyd Ranche –

Nebraska –
1854 – Nebraska Territory – Nebraska/Kansas Bill
        All land west of Missouri to Continental divide, from Kansas border to Canada – est. population 2,732, 2/3rds living south of the Platte and near the Missouri River.

        1861 – Dakota Territory took land on north

        Francis Burt first governor, died two days after taking oath of office. (Oct. 18, 1854)
            Had intended Bellevue to be capital.
        Thomas Cumings, territorial secretary, appointed acting governor (10-18-1854 - 2-20-55)
            25 years old, decided Omaha would be capital

This part of Nebraska, including Buffalo County, was Indian Territory until 1857
        Except Ft. Kearny Military Reservation surveyed & established in 1848

1860 Census – Buffalo County, 114 people listed, all with Post Office at Nebraska Center

Original Buffalo County –
        Named and boundaries set by first Territorial Legislature in 1855.
        Nebraska Center (Boyd Ranche) named county seat
        Record of elections held there in 1859 – only county business of record here
        All county business from 1859-1870 conducted in Hall Couty
        County reorganized in 1870 – our county records begin at that point

Boyd Ranche –
        Located on Wood River where it comes closest to Platte (2 ½ miles), mile west of Gibbon
            North and little east of Ft. Kearney 12 miles
            Close enough for protection
            Far enough away so Dobytown did not compete for trail business

        Ranch started about 1847, no later than 1848 when Ft. Kearny opened
        First owner unknown
        Business was trading animals and selling whiskey

        Mentioned in 1853 by Wescotts and called Boyd Ranche –
            Brothers & wives going to California and Capt. John Fuller’s party traveled together
            Bought 20 gal. whiskey @ $20/gal ($200 worth)
            Wives carried the money – difficulty convincing them the men hired to drive the wagons needed whiskey

        1867 – Land had been surveyed and opened for settlement
        1867, Dec. – Deed received by Joseph Boyd from US gov. for Ranche property (first piece of and owned by an individual in the county; therefore, first homestead in Gibbon township)
            Must have been a time lag- Joseph sold ranche to brother, James, in April 1867

James Boyd
        Emigrated from Ireland in 1856
        Lived in Omaha before taking over management of the Ranche in 1858
        Planted about 100 acres to corn and barley, about 100 head of cattle
        Sold whiskey and beer to fort as well as those on the trail

1860 – Western Stage Line established – Boyd Ranche a stage stop
        Buildings were all sod with dirt roofs
1864 – Went to Missouri, bought mules, intended to get into freight business
        Brought load of lumber from Omaha to build a house
1866 – 1870 – contracted with UP to grade 300 miles of roadbed with those mules
1868 – moved to Omaha
1874 – Ranch was sold

Gibbon as County seat –
October 10, 1871 – Regular election held, the county seat was, by vote, located at Gibbon.

May 22, 1872 – county records transferred to a building erected for a private residence
        County clerk was authorized to expend not to exceed $50 for a desk and other furniture for his office.
        Rent $10 per month

February, 1873 – new courthouse the offices and records were transferred to that building.

The Courthouse –
    Stone for the foundation and the lumber shipped from Omaha.
    Brick manufactured at Gibbon.
        Made from clay and sand found in the immediate vicinity
        Burn the brick with wood from the Loup River about 25 miles away
        3 yoke of oxen hauled a load of two cords of wood
        Drive of about twenty miles without water
        Drive in the night a portion of the trip
            Oxen could not stand it without water if driven in the heat of the day.
        Required three days, with good luck, to make the trip with oxen
            Usually took longer as breakdowns occurred or wagon tires became loose
        Timber on an island in the bend of the river protected from prairie fires
        No money in hauling this wood at $6 a cord & green wood was not hot enough

            Last brick made were burned with coal

            When tearing down this courthouse in 1908, - brick in inside walls not heated sufficiently hot enough to destroy the grass roots that had grown in the clay

        One serious accident –
            While working in a sand pit on the north side of Wood River, to secure sand for the construction of the building, the sand caved in and thereby William Brady lost his life.
            First death in colony

        The first meeting held in the new courthouse was on Washington's birthday, February 22, 1873.

The Decision to Move the County Seat to Kearney –

August 24, 1874 - the county commissioners were induced to declare the courthouse unsafe and to order that no meetings except for county purposes be allowed in the building.

August 29, 1874 - a petition asking for a special election for the relocation of the county seat.

October 13, 1874 - a special election held, resulting in its removal to Kearney.
        No records of number of votes cast for and against this question

        An inducement for the removal to Kearney –
                South Platte Land Company and the UP would donate a site and erect a building

                The site donated is the one now in use by the county and which, for a consideration of $1, was deeded to the county December 27, 1875, “and thereon was erected in 1875 by these two companies a cheap frame building, two stories high, and used by the county until the erection of the present courthouse.” Bassett, a member of the Gibbon Homestead Colony.

        This building was first occupied January 4, 1876.

        At its own expense the county erected, on the present courthouse site, a small 1-story brick building, with fireproof vaults, for the safe keeping of county records, and in this building were the offices of the county clerk and treasurer.

        The frame building was later moved to another location, veneered with brick, and used as the W. C. T. U. Hospital. [current VFW on 1st Ave.?]

Use of Gibbon Courthouse Building Afterwards –

"What a waste of money!....squander more than $70,000 in paying for a courthouse that was used by the county less than two years for courthouse purposes."

1875 - an academic department of the Gibbon schools, District No. 2 [high school]
        No high school in Central and Western Nebraska
        Served a large territory, especially students desiring to teach
        Equally as important and far-reaching - a series of county farmers' institutes held in the courthouse building from 1874 to 1880

1882 - Nebraska Baptist College, moved to Grand Island in 1885

1886 - a collegiate institute - United Brethren Church, moved to York in 1889

At a later date commercial colleges were conducted by three different professors.

In the '90s the courthouse was sold to School District No. 2, Gibbon, for $1,
        so the district could establish a permanent commercial college.
        This project failed after 1904

1908 - building was torn down and in its place erected an up-to-date high school

            100,000 of the some 400,000 brick used in the construction of the courthouse

            were used in the high school building.


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Revised: 02/08/2018