Dodge County Seat Removal, 1884

“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 partly 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 the voters in an election held on September 9, 1884.

Of course, Fremont newspapers opposed removal of the county seat from Fremont. The Fremont Weekly Tribune on August 27 published reasons for the voters to reject the removal proposal: “First: The jail is now in Fremont. To build a new one will cost from $15,000 to $20,000, which would have to be built in case of removal of the county seat. Second: To remove it to Centerville would operate to the injury of Scribner, Hooper, North Bend and Fremont, in cutting off trade which now goes to these places should Centerville, as a county seat, develop into a large town.” In addition, it was maintained that Dodge County could not support more than one large town such as Fremont, which was entitled to special consideration because its residents paid one quarter of the taxes in the county.

The Weekly Herald on August 28 discussed a recent county seat fight in Clay County and warned that Dodge County’s proposal to create a new, more centrally located seat of government could have similar results. “The county seat of Clay county . . . was located at Clay Center, the geographical center of the county, five years ago, after a long and bitter fight, as a compromise between the rival towns of the county. Three years later it had a smaller population than any other precinct in the county, . . . It has no railroad to this day, and when court is held there, most of those attending drive over to Harvard or Fairfield to stay over night, . . . This is the outcome of a bitter and nonsensical county seat contest, in which every town was jealous of the other, and upon which the only compromise was possible by leaving them all out.”

The Herald said: “These are some of the disadvantages and positive injustice from the making of a city [such as Centerville in Dodge County] 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?”

Apparently the voters of Dodge County agreed with the Herald. They voted on September 9, 1884, to retain the county seat at Fremont by some 1,800 votes out of 3,000.


The Dodge County Courthouse in Fremont, dedicated October 4, 1890, replaced an older brick structure in use in 1884 during the county seat removal controversy. From USGenWeb Archives

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

Education Digital Learning Resources

Find games, lists, and more to enhance your history education curriculum.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

History Nebraska Services

Digital Resources

Find all of our digital resources, files, videos, and more, all in one easy-to-search page!

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.