history --> County History
is in eastern Nebraska.
The Platte River forms the northern and eastern
boundary of Saunders County and played a role in the
development of the area. South of the river, the Burlington
Railroad controlled, while the area to the north belonged to
the Union Pacific Railroad. At one time, the river flowed
across the county from the northwest corner diagonally to
the southeast corner at Ashland. Today this old river bed is
called the Todd Valley. The land is fertile and settlers
drew lumber from the trees which lined the river, as well as
fish and wildlife.
inhabited the area as
many as 6000 years
ago. Contact with
European fur traders in the 1700's brought contagious
diseases such as small pox to these people and their
population reduced. The Otoe and Pawnee lived in the area
until they were forced to relocate by the government in the
became a territory in 1854. The first Territorial Governor
was Frances Burt of Saunders County and the fifth was Alvin
Saunders, whom the county was named.
was the first county seat
and the first courthouse was built there in 1870. On October
15, 1873, residents voted to move the county seat to Wahoo.
And as the story goes, in 1873, a group of men from Wahoo
came during the cover of night, stole the records, and took
them to Wahoo. (Ashland Courthouse photo was kindly
provided by the Saunders County Museum.)
Today's courthouse is a treasure. Select an image below
for a larger view.
Several communities no longer exist as
they did in their early days. Rescue, Touhy, Swedeburg and
Wann are some that are no longer incorporated.
If you are looking for some printed material on
Saunders County History, there are a couple of really
terrific items just waiting for you! The
Historical Society has just published a pictorial
history book filled with images of yesterday and today.
Contact the museum to order a copy.
Mead Public Library has historical note cards and a
directory of Mead graduates available for sale. You may
contact Vera at the library, 402-624-2043, for more