The name Clay county was originally given to a division of old Pierce County about 1855, then transferred to the south part of Lancaster county. Named after Henry Clay, a distinguished American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829, the present Clay county was established on February 16, 1867. John B. Weston is credited as the first settler, locating in Section 16 in 1857 and building the first log cabin. Two railroads came to Clay county in the 1870’s bringing many immigrants including a large colony of Germans from Russia, British and Irish immigrant homesteaders.
CLAY COUNTY PLACE NAMES
Early day post offices were often located in homes on the prairie. The surrounding area became known by the name of the post office. Most of those early communities never developed beyond a single building, a combination post office, small store and residence. Clay County was named for Kentucky senator Henry Clay.
Alma Junction. Station point for the St. Joseph & Grand Island and the Burlington Railroads.
Annandale. Post office established Nov 1879, discontinued Oct 1881.
Clay Center. Peak population (1910) 1,065. County seat of Clay County, platted in 1879. Name changed from Marshall in 1879. The first building was built by W. D. Young; a brick courthouse was built in 1880. The first church built was the Christian Church in 1880, followed by the Congregational Church in 1882. Newspaper available on microfilm 1890-1978.
Davis. Post office in northeast Marshall township. Established in 1877, discontinued in 1887. N. Nagel only postmaster.
Deweese. Peak population (1930) 156. Located in Fairfield township, near the Nuckolls county line. Town platted in 1885. Post office established in 1887, named for J. W. Deweese, an attorney for the Burlington Railroad. John Epley built a water-powered grist mill on the Little Blue in 1877. Christian Church organized in 1875, Assumption Catholic in 1910. Newspapers available on microfilm 1915-1918.
Dilworth. Post office established in 1875, name changed to Davis in 1877.
Eden. Early name of Edgar.
Edgar. Peak population (1910) 1,000. Edgar lies in the Little Blue River valley. A post office was established in 1872 in the log cabin of A. J. Ritterbush. The St. Joseph and Denver City railroad surveyed the town in 1873, and S. T. Caldwell opened a general store. A Presbyterian church was established in 1877, Methodist in 1878 and Baptist in 1881. Newspapers available on microfilm 1895-1976. Edgar is also a township in south-central Clay County, bordering on Nuckolls County.
Eldon. Located east of Harvard on the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri railroad. William Stockham opened a general store in 1889.
Eldorado. Peak population (1900) 100. Post office established in 1888, discontinued in 1943. Eldorado is also a township in north-central Clay County, bordering Hamilton County.
Fairfield. Peak population (1900) 1,203. Post office name changed from White Elm in 1873; Leander Brewer was first postmaster. St. Joseph & Denver City railroad depot built in 1872. Town platted in 1874. D. Jaynes built a lumber yard in 1872. The village was badly damaged by a tornado in 1908. The Methodist, Catholic and Christian churches were all built in 1878. Newspapers available on microfilm 1895-1965. Fairfield is also a township in south-central Clay County, bordering on Nuckolls County.
Flickville. Former siding on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad, named for Joseph Flick. . Moved into Adams County.
Georgetown. Early name for Glenvil.
Glenvil. Peak population (1920) 400. Post office, originally spelled Glenville,
established in 1873. First store opened by J. W. Sturgis in 1873. The Baptists built the first church in 1882. Glenvil newspapers available on microfilm 1899-1900, 1915-1918.
Glenville. A township in west-central Clay County. First settled in 1871.
Greenbury. Post office name changed from Joong in 1888 and then to Ong in 1888.
Harvard. Peak population (1960) 1,261. Post office established in 1871, with E. J. Stone as postmaster. First building in town was the Burlington railroad depot built in 1871. In 1872 E. H. Birdsall opened the first store. A Presbyterian church was built in 1879 and Congregational in 1882. Harvard newspapers 1890-1976 available on microfilm. Also a township located in north-central Clay County, bordering on Hamilton County.
Inland. Peak population (1920) 105. The village was first established in Adams County in 1871 and moved three miles east into Clay County in 1878. Post office moved from Adams County in 1879. A Methodist church was organized in the 1880s.
Joong. Post office established in 1886, name changed to Greenberry in 1888, and then to Ong in 1888.
Leicester. A township located in northwest Clay County bordering on Adams and Hamilton counties. Trumbull is located in this township.
Lewis. A township in central Clay County. Saronville is located in the northeast corner of the township.
Liberty Farm. Station number eight of the Pony Express Stations in Nebraska, located one-half mile northeast of Deweese. It was managed by James Lemmons and Charles Emory. Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express stagecoaches stopped at Liberty Farm. After the Pony Express went out of business, the station remained as a stage stop with J.M. Comstock serving as station-keeper. During the Indian uprising of 1864, it was burned to the ground.
Lincoln. A township in north central Clay County bordering on Hamilton County. There are no villages in this township.
Logan. A township in the southeast corner of Clay County, bordering on Fillmore and Nuckolls counties. Ong is located in this township.
Lone Tree. Located 4 miles west and 3 miles north of Deweese, this was a road ranch and stage stop along the overland trail. During the Indian uprising of 1864, the ranch was attacked and destroyed. Also a township located in west-central Clay County on the Adams County border.
Ludlow. Post office moved from Adams County in 1880. Name changed to Trumbull in 1887.
Lynn. A township in central Clay County. There are no villages in this township.
Marshall. Post office established in 1873, moved to Clay Center in 1879. Also a township in central Clay County.
Ong. Peak population (1910) 285. Post office name changed from Greenberry in 1886, discontinued in 1966. Platted in 1886. The first church, the Presbyterian, was built in 1888. The Exchange bank was established in 1890.
Saronville. Peak population (1910) 175. Post office established in 1882, named for a village in Sweden. Former name was Huxley. The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church was built in 1881, followed by the Methodist.
School Creek. Early name of Sutton. Also a township in the northeast corner of Clay County bordering on Hamilton and Fillmore counties.
Sheridan. A township in east-central Clay County bordering on Fillmore County.
Spring Ranch. Peak population (1910) 57. A post office was established at Spring Ranche in 1870 and discontinued in 1940. The first settlement in the vicinity was made on June 8, 1864. The town was so named for the numerous springs of water in the area. A grist mill was built in 1874. A Presbyterian church was built in 1881, followed by a Congregational church. Spring Ranch Township is located in the southwest corner of Clay County bordering Adams and Nuckolls counties.
Sutton. Peak population (1910) 1,702. Post office established in 1871 with Luther French as postmaster. The first Clay County seat after an election with Harvard. Sutton lost the county seat to Clay Center in 1873. A Congregational church was built in 1874, Catholic in 1878, German Reformed in 1878, and Methodist in 1879. Sutton newspapers on microfilm 1877 to present.
Sweden. An early name for Verona.
Trumbull. Peak population (1920) 236. The village was platted in 1886 one and a half miles south of the Hamilton County line and one-fourth mile east of the Adams County line. Post office name changed from Ludlow in 1887. The first store building was Parker and Holderman. Salem Baptist church was organized in 1875, Methodist in 1879 and Christian in 1892.
Verona. Peak population (1910) 150. Post office established in 1887, discontinued in 1954. A Swedish Baptist church was organized in 1887 and Bethany Lutheran in 1901.
White Elm. Post office established in 1872 one mile east of present Fairfield, moved to Fairfield in 1873.