“There is no necessity for any bad blood over the county seat controversy,” said the Fremont Weekly Herald on August 21, 1884, in referring to a “re-location scheme” that proposed to remove the county seat from Fremont to a more central location within Dodge County. The plan was to establish the county seat of government in “a tract of land in Section 31, Town 19, Range 7, in Everett precinct,” at a location called Centerville, which it was hoped, would grow into a prosperous city. According to the Herald, the move was prompted by a recent storm that had damaged the roof of the courthouse in Fremont. Dodge County commissioners responded to a petition asking for removal by submitting the question to voters in an election held on September 9, 1884.
The Dodge County Courthouse in Fremont, dedicated October 4, 1890, replaced an older brick structure in use in 1884 when the county seat removal controversy arose. From USGenWeb Archives (at left).
Of course, Fremont residents opposed removal of the county seat from their town, and it was hoped that Scribner, Hooper, and North Bend would join Fremont in opposing the creation of a new county seat at Centerville. The Herald editorialized upon “the disadvantages and positive injustice from the making of a city [such as Centerville] by law. Suppose they should vote away the capital of the U.S. from Washington and locate it on an island in the Platte river–that would be about the geographical center of the United States as near as we can figure it. Would there be any justice or reason in it?”
Fremont High School building. From Harrison Johnson, Johnson’s History of Nebraska (Omaha, 1880) (at right).
Learn the arguments which persuaded Dodge County voters in 1884 to keep the county seat at Fremont in a Timeline column on the Nebraska State Historical Society website. Read about another county seat removal contest in Box Butte County that resulted not only in the relocation of the county seat but the moving of the courthouse from Hemingford to Alliance.
– Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor/Publications