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The area known as Cuming County had people living in it nearly a thousand years before Christopher Columbus discovered America. Archaeologists discovered remnants of nomads who roamed the land way back in 6,471 B.C. These early inhabitants were followed by the pottery makers who occupied the plains about 500 A.D. and after. Much later came the Indians, with the Omaha Tribe well-acquainted with the Elkhorn River Valley.

In 1851, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed by President Franklin Pierce, opening up the Nebraska Territory. Prior to 1855, Thomas B. Cuming took over as acting governor of the new territory for Francis Burt, who passed away. Cuming County boundary lines had been established by an act of the territorial legislature and approved in March 1855.

The Benjamin B. Moore family left their claim at Dead Timber in Dodge County and settled at what was known as DeWitt, the first white settlement in Cuming County. Around a dozen others soon followed, but all left the area shortly after. The entire countryside and west of Cuming County was prairie and bare of timber. It was considered at the time a hazard to settle on prairie, away from timber that was necessary for building homes, cattle sheds and for fuel.

The current county seat of West Point (originally named New Philadelphia) was established in 1857. It was so named West Point because, when it originated, it was the most westerly point of settlement in the Elkhorn River Valley.

The contentment of the early settlers was short-lived as the Pawnee Indians made a raid on the settlement under their chief Petaleshara. One written collection of the time estimated the number of Pawnee moving up the river valley to be around 4,000. They appeared in half-starved condition. Following several incidences, and a retreating by the early settlers to Fontenelle, a party was later organized to travel back to DeWitt and see what the Pawnee were up to.

Soon after, martial law was declared and General Thayer was in immediate command of the militia. The expedition of 200 men and a Howitzer cannon overtook the Pawnee near where the town of Battle Creek is now located in Madison County. The Pawnee were soon attacked in their own camp and, rather than fight back because they knew “the great Father in Washington would just send more white men,” council was called and the Pawnee agreed to pay all damages and surrender its ringleaders to the expedition. The acts of the Pawnee frightened away many settlers. The depopulation of the county was seen when a census was taken in the summer of 1860 and only five legal voters were enrolled.

The first land patent was issued to Patrick Murray in 1860. J.C. Crawford was given the first recorded bill of sale in June of 1862 and Benjamin Moore made the first homestead entry in February of 1863. The first business in the county was a general store opened in West Point in 1865.

The first lawsuit commenced in 1866 to recover $20 and costs for a malicious killing of a dog. The defendant in the case, however, was overtaken in a drifting, blinding snowstorm and perished before judgment could be made.

Among the other firsts were the first hotel, “The West Point House,” opening in 1867; the first warrantee of deed given by Matthias Schumacher to Catherine B. Neligh in 1867; and the first church building erected by the Catholics in the St. Charles precinct in 1867.

Link: www.co.cuming.ne.us

Village of Bancroft

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The fascinating Logan Creek Valley drew Ford Bella and Deborah (Watson) Barber as they arrived from Maine in 1874 and built a cabin in Bancroft Township. Later the site became the Village of Bancroft.

Six years later, the Barbers deeded 80 acres of their land to the Sioux City & Nebraska Railway in return for an agreement that, in addition to the railroad right-of-way, the company would plat a town. In 1880, a map of the town was recorded in the county seat of West Point.

The town was referred to as “Barberville,” but soon the name “Bancroft” was chosen in honor of George Bancroft, civil engineer for the railroad.

The town’s population peaked to nearly 1,000 in 1909. There were seven churches, an opera house, schools, banks, hotels, and a complete array of businesses. The town also had a planing mill, flour mill, wagon makers, and a gasoline-gas plant. Land was valued at $65 to $100 per acre.

The world’s longest-living poet laureate, John Gneisenau Neihardt, lived in Bancroft from 1900-1920.

Other notes about early Bancroft: George Bancroft, Jr. became a great National League baseball player; John Ammon Stahl, a school principal, married Stella Barber, with their grandson being billionaire Warren Buffet; Susan LaFlesche Picotte, a daughter of Joseph “Iron Eye” LaFlesche (last chief of the Omaha Indians), was the first woman doctor of the area.

Link: www.ci.bancroft.ne.us/

Bancroft Community Profile

City of West Point

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In March of 1857, a group of men known as “The Nebraska Settlement Association” began a prospecting tour along the Elkhorn River. Upon arriving at what is now known as West Point, they decided to locate a town and establish industries, and the city was platted by Andrew J. Bruner.

The town was first called New Philadelphia because so many of the settlement group were from Pennsylvania. The name was soon changed to West Point because it was the most westerly point that was settled in the Elkhorn River Valley at that time.

In March of 1858, John D. Neligh arrived in West Point and brought with him a claim for the town site. Neligh has been called the “Father of West Point.”

One of the first businesses established was a sawmill. The first post office was a log cabin built in June of 1858, and the building also served as the first courthouse. The first religious service was held in 1858 when 10 Methodists met in a log house.

In 1860, the federal census was taken and showed 61 persons in the county, and by 1868 the area around West Point had grown extensively. West Point became an incorporated town in May of 1869.

The first railroad service to West Point became available in November 1870, which led to further growth of the business and industries. West Point became a city in 1872, with J. D. Neligh serving as the first mayor.

The city experienced significant growth and the census showed 1,008 citizens in West Point. The city has continued to grow and prosper, and the community celebrated its 150th birthday in 2008.

Link: www.ci.west-point.ne.us/

West Point Community Profile

Village of Beemer

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beemerUsing power generated by a dam across Rock Creek, a mill was established north and west of West Point in the 1860s. As the mill continued, people began to make their homes north of the river and a post office named “Rock Creek” was established.

A.D. Beemer, who owned a half section of land near Rock Creek Mill, persuaded George Canfield and K.C. Morehouse of West Point to join him in developing this land.

Assured by the railroad that it would be taking a route through it, the three men helped lay out a town and built a depot. A new post office was built and renamed “Beemer” in honor of the promoter and founder of the town.

Since growth with the railroad was imminent in 1885, Beemer further invested in the town by building a hotel, a newspaper office, a bank, and a livery stable.

Beemer, a prosperous farming community, supported several factories (one for canning and one for making plows) by the 1890s and continues to grow through the 21st century.

Link: www.ci.beemer.ne.us/

Beemer Community Profile

City of Wisner

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wisnerA town was platted July 22, 1871, in anticipation of the coming of the railroad. Named for Judge Samuel Wisner, vice president of the Sioux City & Pacifi c Railway, lots sold at auction for an average of $129 each. The town of Wisner incorporated on May 14, 1873.

The early water supply was a water pump in the hotel square. In 1884, bonds were issued to construct a city waterworks, thought to be one of the earlier systems in the state.

The Scandinavian Lutheran Church was organized in 1872, the Methodist in 1874, the Catholic Church in 1879, and the Congregational Church in 1880.

In 1909, the village had become a Second Class City. By 1926, with its paved streets, splendid lighting, fine water system, good schools, churches, and modern homes, Wisner was a good place to live.

Link: www.ci.wisner.ne.us/

Wisner Community Profile

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Nebraska continues to rank high

  • 4th Best Quality of Life
    Business Facilities Magazine, 2008 Annual Rankings Report
  • 5th Best Education Climate
    Business Facilities Magazine, 2008 Annual Rankings Report
  • 4th Best State for Jobs
    CareerBuilder.com, 2008
  • 4th Lowest Average Travel Time to Work
    U.S. Bureau of the Census
  • Top 10 States Receiving a 5-Star on the 2007 State's Healthcare Cost Quotient
    Expansion Management Magazine
  • Top 10 Best States for Business
    2008 Forbes Magazine

Cuming County Ranks:

  • 1st in the state for total value of agricultural products sold
  • 1st in the state for value of livestock, poultry and their products
Top crop items:
  • Corn for grain (23rd in the State)
  • Soybeans for beans (6th in the State
  • Corn for Silage (5th in the State)
Top Livestock inventory items :
  • Quail (1st in the state)
  • Cattle and calves (2nd in the state)
  • Hogs and Pigs (3rd in the state)
  • Colonies of Bees (5th in the state)
  • Sheep and lamb (12th in the state)

Cuming County Mission

To renew, retain, and recruit our businesses, people, and future.

To work in partnership with local citizens in our communities to support the economic opportunities of our county by retaining, expanding, and attracting business, industry, and agriculture.

Demographics

Demographics


Population: 9,306
(2008 estimate)
Projected Population: 9,118
(2013 estimate)
Median Age: 39.2 years
(2008 estimate)

 


Average Household Income:
$44,672
(2008 estimate)

Number of Business Establishments:
989
(2002 estimate)

Education: (2000 estimates)
78.7% have High School Diploma or higher
12.3% have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher

 

Major Economic Activities:

 
Agriculture - 48%;
Manufacturing - 27%;
Trade - 5%;

 

Finance, insurance, real estate - 4%;
Construction - 3%
Services - 5%;