Cuming City was an early Washington County town named for Thomas B. Cuming, acting governor of Nebraska Territory from 1854 to 1855 and from 1857 to 1858. The site was claimed by P. G. Cooper and two others in September 1854, but no settlement was made until the next spring, when a site was mapped and surveyed.
Cuming City, like many other western towns, had lofty ambitions. A ferry charter was granted to Cooper in January 1856, and in the same month the territorial legislature incorporated Washington College, located it at Cuming City, and appointed a board of eight trustees: B. R. Folsom, James C. Mitchell, T. B. Cuming, Mark W. Izard, P. G. Cooper, William B. Hail, John C. Campbell, and J. B. Radford. Two newspapers, the Nebraska Pioneer and the Cuming City Star, both Democratic, were published.
Samuel Warrick, an early settler in the Cuming City area, first reached the town on April 15, 1857. Warrick and his father, originally from Indiana, started from Indianapolis and then proceeded by rail, steamboat, stage, and on foot toward their goal in Nebraska Territory. Warrick later recalled that he did little farming for the first year after he settled in the Cuming City vicinity. "We planted a little sod corn, some potatoes, and made much preparation for the coming year, getting out logs from along the river for house and barn, and hunted with muzzle loading rifles and shot guns, also doing some fishing. . . . In the spring of '58 I sowed the first wheat here. It was sown on the Lippincott farm, then owned by P. G. Cooper, and helped to harvest the same. All this kind of work was done without any machinery except the plow until the year of 1861 . . . .
"The season of '59 I commenced farming for myself on a small scale and working for others when I could, our population having more than doubled by 1860. March 21, 1861, I was married to Amanda Stewart, having my farm improved to the extent of twenty acres plowed, a little log house, one horse, one cow, a hoe, spade and single shovel plow." Warrick concluded his reminiscences by stating, "Owing to this healthful climate I have been able to each year farm from one acre to 200, and eat three square meals a day, providing I was where I could get themand today I hold the championship for wood chopping among those of my age, being 73 years young."