Kimball County - Genealogy Trails





 County History






Like many towns on the Plains it owes its founding to the railroad.  The Union Pacific constructed its tracks through here in 1867.


About 1870,  from one of the workers camps, Kimball was began.  One of the first settlements was named Antelopeville, which, later became Kimball.  And became the county seat in 1885.  


Kimball county was named in honor of Thomas L. Kimball , vice president and general manager of the Union Pacific railroad.


Kimball county was formed from part of the western third of Cheyenne county by vote November 6, 1888.


Kimball County did not come into existence as a separate entity or division of the state government until 1888 when its division from Cheyenne county was effected.


But before that time settlers had entered the western corner of great Cheyenne county and started Antelopeville now Kimball and Bushnell.


The first permanent settlements of Kimball County were made about 1868.  This was about the time Union Pacific railroad was extended through the county.


The early history of Cheyenne County dating prior to 1888, inseparably involves a great deal of the history of Kimball County.


Among the pioneer families of this county were James English  and James J. Kinney, who came in the early days with the Union Pacific Railroad.  


Other families arriving during this first period in the history of the county, when it was still a part of Cheyenne County, were:


          B. K. Bushee

          Peter Atkins

          Adam Grubb

          D. H. Shultz

          E. J. Dillion

          Henry H. Prouty

          P. Maginnis

          Mrs. C. A. Shafer

          L. E. Shafer

          F. J. Bellows

          C. A. Bickel

          George W. Beard

           N. E. Garman

          A. H. Amos

          J. W. Hurley

          S. R. Walker

          Jas. Newell

          Thomas Gering

          W. D. Hall

          Henry Vogler

          D. A. Yoakam

          Ira Sawyer

          Gus Linn

          H. Marshall

          Samuel Woolridge   

          S. A. Prescott and others.



The purchase by Hon. L. T. Clarkson, from the Union Pacific Railroad. Company of all of their lands lying south of the railway, from the vicinity of Potter, near the western edge of the present Cheyenne county, across the present Kimball County, to the Wyoming line, was the first step toward the settlement of the western end of old Cheyenne County, or the present Kimball county.


"Kimball ,formerly called Antelopeville, is located in the Valley of the Lodgepole, only a short distance from that beautiful stream, having in fact a promising location.


This town has six stores, all doing well— two are general stores (The Pioneer Store, Randall & Co., and that of Schaeffer Bros.) and each carries a good stock of goods.


There is also one hardware store, a drug store, a shoe shop, and a first-class lumber yard.


The Bank of Kimball was recently established and opened in a neat and commodious building.


A newspaper, the Nebraska Observer, was started here in the spring of 1885; it has flourished and done much to promote the settlement of the country.


The fact that Kimball is sure to become a county seat when the county is divided has caused it to grow very rapidly. A glance at its location on the map will convince any one that this anticipation is well founded.


Kimball now contains about two hundred people, and has a good, well attended school.  







 The first court house was built in 1880.





When Kimball county was given separate organization in 1888, its first officers were:


      Samuel Woolridge, County Clerk and Clerk of District Court

      N. E. Garman, County Treasurer

      J. B. Timmony, County Attorney

      George W. Beard, County Judge

      Ed Rathburn, Sheriff

      Rufus Cooley, County Superintendent of Schools

      L. R. Markley, Coroner

      H. R. Stevens, Surveyor

      L. W. Bickel, James Newell and Henry Cholberg, County Commissioners





      Source:  History of Western Nebraska