Cuming County was one of the original counties of the Territory which
were formed, when Secretary Cuming became Governor of Nebraska upon the
sudden death of the Governor.
Its boundaries were defined by a territorial
act approved March 16, 1855.
of justice of said county shall be and hereby is located at the town of
During the succeeding summer Cuming County was surveyed, and in 1857
its boundaries were established definitely.
seat of justice was changed from Catharine, now known as Dead Timber,
Dodge County, to "Manhattan".
The originators of Catharine in the summer of 1857, abandoned that
locality and founded "De Witt."
March of this year the settlement at West Point was commenced, and by
another year, the two places became rivals for the county seat.
for the calling of an election was signed extensively considering the
number of legal voters in the county and forwarded to the Probate Judge
of Burt County. The request having been granted, the first election in
Cuming County was held at West Point, on Tuesday, October 12th, 1858. As
it was understood that the result of the election would decide the
location of the county seat, the nineteen citizens who cast votes were
pretty vigorously "canvassed."
The result, a majority of 5 for West Point,
returned the following officers:
W. R. Artman, Probate Judge
G. W. Houser, Clerk
John D. Neligh, Treasurer
A. A. Arlington, John Bromer, and Josiah McKirahan,
The newly elected officers qualified at Tekamah, Burt
County. West Point was recognized as the county seat, and the old log
shanty became the "court house."
In the fall of 1859 this decision
locating the county seat at West Point was sustained, almost unanimously.
The first session of the District Court for the Third Judicial District in
and for Cuming County, was held in West Point commencing on the 28th day
of June, 1859.
The following named persons were sworn in as grand jurors:
H. D. Peterson
L. D. Rhodes
A. L. Ward
J. B. Thomson
H. J. Wortman
James E. Spencer
This jury found a bill of indictment against A. M. Little for the
crime of larceny.
R. F. Stevenson and E. M. Clark were admitted to
practice in this court at the time named.
The first case taken up was the
County of Cuming against Ernst Krespean, and the first case tried was one
in which Josiah McKirahan was plaintiff and Wm. Ritzloff was
On January 4, 1872, an election was held, in pursuance of call, and
$30,000 bonds voted for the erection of a court house. R. B. Rockford was
awarded the contract for $25,000, in May of that year, he binding himself
to complete the building by January 1, 1873. Shortly after his time
expired, suit was brought against him and his bondsmen to recover damages.
The plaintiffs were awarded damages in the sum of $4,523.65. Subsequently
the verdict was set aside, and the case dismissed for want of prosecution.
The court house was completed in the spring of 1874, at a cost of $40,000.
It is imposingly and solidly constructed of brick, two stories and
basement, with a fine lofty tower. Its dimensions are 80x40 feet. The
building stands on an eminence overlooking West Point, and is quite a
In the winter of 1873, the boundaries of Cuming were defined so as to
take in two townships from the Indian reservations.
The present county officers are:
F. A. Mewis, County Judge
H. D. Readinger, Superintendent of Public Instruction
W. Ragoss, County Clerk and Clerk of the District Court
D. W. Clancy,
J. A. Nason, Surveyor
H. Klosner, Coroner
Chairman, Conrad Paul; Charles Schuth and W. W. Cones
Cuming County is connected to the country south and north by the
Elkhorn Valley branch of the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad; which
passes northwest and southeast through its central portions.
election held in West Point June 17, 1870, it was resolved to issue
bonds to aid in the construction of the road through the county. On November 25 the road reached West Point,
trains commencing to run regularly to Missouri Valley Junction a few days
As one of the local papers announced at the time, West Point
was "out of the woods." So was the whole county for that matter, and from
this time its growth was steady.
At present it is considered one of the
most prosperous counties in the State, and the Elkhorn Valley road has,
virtually, made it what it is.