County Organization  

 

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.

 

The seat of justice of said county shall be and hereby is located at the town of Catherine.

 

During the succeeding summer Cuming County was surveyed, and in 1857 its boundaries were established definitely.  

 

The 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."

 

In March of this year the settlement at West Point was commenced, and by another year, the two places became rivals for the county seat.

 

A petition 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

      James C. Crawford, Treasurer

      G. W. Houser, Clerk

      John D. Neligh, Treasurer

      Henry Cline, Sheriff

      A. A. Arlington, John Bromer, and Josiah McKirahan, Commissioners

 

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:

 

      William Loney

      H. D. Peterson

      L. D. Rhodes

      A. L. Ward

      J. B. Thomson

      William Malcho

      William Farley

      H. Kloke

      H. J. Wortman

      James Wilson

      C. L. Siecke

      Charles Schuth

      L. Grassett

      James E. Spencer

      M. Nelson

      C. H. Wilde

 

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 defendant.

 

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 prominent landmark.

 

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

      A. D. Beemer, Sheriff

      H. D. Readinger, Superintendent of Public Instruction

      F. W. Ragoss, County Clerk and Clerk of the District Court

      D. W. Clancy, Treasurer

      J. A. Nason, Surveyor

      H. Klosner, Coroner

      Commissioners, 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.

 

At an 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 thereafter.

 

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.

 

 

Source:  Andreas State of Nebraska

 

 

 

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