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DIXON COUNTY

Courthouse
Churches
 
OVERVIEW AND HISTORY
 
Dixon County Nebraska consists of 486 square miles and is ranked 28th in size out of the 93 Nebraska counties. Located in Northeast Nebraska, it is bordered on the north by the Missouri River, on the east by Dakota County, on the south by Thurston and Wayne Counties, and on the west by Wayne and Cedar Counties. The topographic features include the loess-covered uplands, sand outwash-loess areas, the bottomlands of the Missouri River, and valleys of creeks that drain from the uplands.
 
The readily available water from the county's many creeks, natural timber, and rich soil were the assets that enticed early settlers to Dixon County. The first pioneers moved into the county in the mid-1850s and settled near the winding creeks, building dugouts and sod huts to live in while breaking the tough sod with a wooden plow pulled by a horse or ox. A "squatter's club" was organized to protect against claim jumpers. Problems were solved in the club's office, the Adam Smith home.
 
In August 1856, Frank West and a Mr. Carson came from Iowa City, Iowa, and platted the first 24 blocks of the town of Ponca along the Missouri River. In the late fall of that same year, Henry, Frank, and William Hoese built a comfortable log one-story building near the creek. In December, "Old Man Whitcomb" built a steam sawmill on the Missouri River bottomland and did a prosperous business sawing boards for settlers' homes. In 1857 C.F. Putman built the first frame house in the county on his farm near Ponca. On May 8, 1858, a map of the town of Ponca was completed and filed with the County Clerk of nearby Dakota County. A large two-story building designed as a hotel was the first frame building built in Ponca in 1859. It was used for all types of public gatherings until the floor fell through in 1862. The first church in Dixon County, a German Lutheran Church, was built in 1861 in Ponca. The first county school was built in 1862 on the site of the present Ponca Public School.
 
Settlers continued to arrive and prosperity seemed in sight until grasshoppers arrived and a 15-month drought devastated many early settlers' hopes. Those who could afford to do so left, others stayed and sold logs that floated down the river and killed wild game for food and sold the furs. Even with the adversities, Dixon County was organized on November 1, 1859, and other towns were established in the county.
 
In addition to Ponca, nine towns were settled and are still in existence in the county. In the fall of 1856, the town of Concord was established on Lime Creek in Hooker Township. It later became the site of the Dixon County Fairgrounds. In 1955, a 320-acre farm east of Concord was founded in the spring of 1857 by Gustavus Smith, a rich immigrant from Germany. The town was not incorporated until 1893. Smith lived until 1880 at which time he donated land for much of the town, including land for both the Congregational and Catholic churches and two cemeteries. In 1872 Jonathan Martin, founder of Martinsburg, began wading up the Aowa Creek from Ponca looking for a site for his grist mill. He stopped at the fork of the creek where Martinsburg now stands. A year later the town had a grist mill, a store, hotel, blacksmith shop, and several dwelling places. Allen, named after Henry Allen who donated 40 acres of his land to the railroad if it would put a depot at that place, replaced the town of Springbank, located 2 miles east of Allen but not located along the railroad line. This caused the demise of Springbank and the growth of Allen and its establishment in 1891 and incorporation in 1893. Emerson, located at the far southeast corner of the county, was started in 1881 and platted in 1883. It was named after the author Ralph Waldo Emerson. Wakefield was incorporated in 1883. Philo Graves a townsite proprietor, and George W. White, manager of the flour mill and leading businessman, are considered as the "town founders." Mr. Graves donated the land upon which the town was located, helped the churches in town build their buildings, donated land and helped lay out the cemetery, built and donated the town's first library, and gave the town its city park. In 1889 William Herrick donated land to the Pacific Townsite Company to establish the town of Waterbury, named for a large spring which railroad men stopped to pump water out of for the steam engines. The last town to be established in Dixon County was Maskell, platted in 1907 by St. Paul Township Company when the railroad was extended from Newcastle westward. The town was named after A. H. Maskell, a Dixon County sheriff for 35 years, who donated his land for the townsite.
 
A variety of jobs are available in the county. Dixon County is primarily an agricultural county with principal crops of corn and soybeans and raising of livestock. Many farmers have their own cow/calf herds. Large livestock endeavors include dairy farms, Dixon County Feedlot, and Michael Foods, which has large flocks of laying hens and one of the world's largest egg processing plants. Although these places employ many people, many other Dixon County residents commute to work in neighboring Wayne, Nebraska, South Sioux City, Nebraska, and Sioux City, Iowa. Dixon County is also the site of the Rattlesnake Creek wind farm with 101 wind turbines built to supply electricity to a Facebook facility near Omaha, Nebraska. 
 
LOCATION OF PRESENT-DAY TOWNS
  • Allen is located in Springbank Township in the SW¼ of Section 9, Township 28 N, Range 5 East
  • Concord is located in Concord Township, part in the SW ¼ and part in the SE ¼ of Section 20, Township 28 N, Range 4 East.
  • Dixon is located in Concord Township, in the SW ¼ of Section 8, Township 28 N. Range 4 East
  • Emerson is located in Emerson Township, part in the SE ¼ of Section 28 and part in the NE ¼ of Section 33, in Townships 27 and 28 N, Range 6 East. Emerson has the distinction of being at the junction of three counties, Dixon. Dakota and Thurston therefore part of Emerson extends into Dakota County to the east and part into Thurston County to the south.
  • Maskell is located in Hooker Township, in the SW¼ of Section 5, Township 31 N, Range 4 East.
  • Martinsburg is located in Galena Township in NW ¼ Section 10, Township 29 E, Range 5 East.
  • Newcastle is located in Newcastle Township in the NW¼ of Section 20, Township 31 N, Range S and 6 East.
  • Ponca is located in Ponca Township, part in Section 21 and part in Section 22, Townships 30 & 31, Range 6 & 7 East.
  • Waterbury is located in Otter Creek Township in the SW ¼ of Sec 28, Township 28 & 29 N, Range 6 East.
  • Wakefield is located in Wakefield Township, part in NE ¼, part in SE¼ & part in SW ¼ of Section 32, Township 27 N, Range 5 East. Part of Wakefield is located in Wayne County to the south.
  • Past Towns, villages & settlements of Dixon County, NE
  • Exact locations are vague in the histories used to compile this list.
  • The Aoway post office was located in the northwest part of the county, eight miles west of Ponca.
  • The first Concord was located in Booker Township near the mouth of Lime Creek.
  • About a mile awhile was North Bend. During the rivalry for the county seat in 1858, Concord and North Bend decided to band together, platting a town between them called Dixon. They lost the election and the three towns soon disappeared into history. The present-day towns of Concord and Dixon are located further south in the county.
  • The Daily Branch post office was located in the western part of the county.
  • The Ellis post office was located in the southern part of the county at the junction of two railroads.
  • Galena became the town of Martinsburg in section 10 of Galena township.
  • Hawkeye village later renamed  Waterbury located in section 28 of otter township.
  • Ionia had a post office and several businesses and homes, located in Section 3 of Ionia Twp. Ionia township was later added to Newcastle township. Ionia was near the
  • Missouri river bottom and was washed away when the river changed course, flooding the town.
  • Logan Grove post office was located in Clark Precinct in the western part of the county,
  • Lime Creek post office was situated in Lime Creek valley about three miles from the Missouri River in the northwestern part of the county,
  • South Creek post office was located in the southern part of the county near the head of South Creek in Springbank township.
  • Silver Ridge post office was located five miles west of Ponca in section 22 of Silver Creek township.
  • Springbank post office was located about ten miles south of Martinsburg in section10 of Springbank township.
 
COUNTY CEMETERIES and GPS COORDINATES
 
Calvary (Emerson)      42.28399 -96.73106
Concord                      42.39416 -96.98031
Daily (Daily Branch)    42.57526 -96.93697
Dewitt                          42.62480 -96.74375
Eastview                      42.41668 -96.81257
Evangelical Emanuel Lutheran (Concord)      
          42.29315 -96.96292
Gibbs {private property, unknown burials)      
          42.69851 -96.8518
Halvorson                    42.69086 -97 .00135
Holmes                        42.53893 -96.73162
Ionia                            42.68951 -96.83012
Jordan                         42.46917 -96.84419
Lime Creek                  42.65693 -97.00031
Lime Grove                 42.66324 -96.99905
Marquis                       42.40897 -96.74827
Martinsburg South       42.50387 -96.83864
Maskell                        42.68792 -96.99805
Newcastle                   42.65505 -96.87087
Pleasant Hill                42.46808 -96.88943
Ponca                          42.56887 -96.71336
Rose Hill (Emerson)    42.28335 -96.73092
Salem (Ponca)            42.52519 -96.69388
Silver Ridge                 42.56860 -96.81890
Southcreek                  42.52641 -96.75633
Springbank Friends     42.41268 -96.80421
St. Annes (Dixon)        42.41638 -96.97948
St. Paul (Concord)       42.39452 -96.92361
St. Peters (Newcastle) 42.65338 -96.87447
Tara Hill                       42.59116 -96.98270
Trinity Lutheran           42.51276 -96.83392
Wakefield                     42.26532 -96.87368
 
McCorkindale Private Family
 
GENEALOGICAL/HISTORICAL SOCIETIES
 
Dixon County Historical Society
PO Box 95
2215 South Clark Street
Allen, NE 68710
Gloria Oberg (402) 287-2885
gloriaobe37@gmail.com
Dixon County Museum in Allen, NE
Open June-August, Sunday afternoon 2 to 4 or by appointment.
 
Ponca Historical Society
PO Box 403
Ponca, NE 68770
Jackie King Coughlin
(712) 898-5679
coughlin­_jackie@hotmail.com
City Hall (402) 755-4165
Adams House Museum and Cook's blacksmith shop are open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend on Saturday 10-12. Also by appointment by contacting Jackie King Coughlin.
 
Wakefield Heritage Organization
PO Box 216
Wakefield, NE 68784
 
Graves Library Museum
206 West 2nd
Wakefield NE 68784
Open Saturday 10-12 or by appointment
Contact. Barb Stout (402) 369-0449
 
Wakefield Depot Museum
101 East First Street
Wakefield NE 68784
Open Saturday 10-12 or by appointment
Contact Jim Clark (402) 287-2355
 
LIBRARIES
 
Ponca Carnegie library
203 W Second Street
P.O. Box 41
Ponca, NE 68770
Phone # of contact person (402) 755-2739
 
History of Library's Founding
The Carnegie Corporation of New York granted the town of Ponca, Nebraska, $4,500 to build the Ponca Public library in 1911. The neo-classical designed building has numerous steps leading to the doors that opened in 1913. In 2006, to celebrate Ponca's 150th birthday, a fundraising project provided $365,000 to refurbish, remodel, and triple the size of the building, all while preserving the historic fabric of the original structure. The expansion provided for a meeting room open to the public, two public restrooms, small office space, the addition of approximately two dozen donated bookcases, a children's play platform, a large curved computer wall, and two wooden reading tables with chairs. Three-quarters of the original external wall is devoted to recognition plaques for donors. A new stained glass window was installed above the main door. The library name was officially changed to Ponca Carnegie Library.
 
Books in the library about Dixon County
  • A Picture History by Norvin Hansen
  • Dixon County History by Dixon County Committee
  • History of Dixon County by William Huse
  • Stones of Time, Dixon County Cemeteries
  • Leading Industries of Dixon County
Gardner Public library
114 W. Third Street
P.O. Box 150
Wakefield, NE 68784
Phone # of contact person (402) 287-2334
 
History of Library's Founding
The original library was founded in 1915 by Philo Graves in memory of his only son who died in childhood. In 1923 Mr. Graves donated 300 books to that facility. In 2004 a new library was built ½ block east of the Graves Library. The new library is a one-story building of 7,110 square feet. The library has technology facilities, numerous books, and a conference meeting room.
 
Books in the library about Dixon County
  • History of Dixon County
  • Stones of Time, Dixon County Cemeteries
  • A History of the Dixon County Fair
  • Dixon County, Nebraska History
  • Dixon County, A Picture History
  • Dixon County, Nebraska County, Plat Ownership Maps
  • Seedlings in a Shoebox - A History of Wakefield
  • 1891-1991 Allen, Nebraska
Springbank Township Library
100 East 2nd Street
Allen, NE 68710
Phone# of contact person (402) 635-2914 Greg Carr, Chairman of Library Board
 
History of Library's Founding
In 1936 a group of ladies in Allen saw the need for a library in Allen. With space in the American Legion Building and 100 donated books, the library began. The first librarian received $5.00 a month. The next year a one-room building was given to the Library Board and after cleaning, painting, and purchasing new shelves, the library moved to new quarters.
 
The group of ladies who attended the annual Springbank Township Board meeting convinced the group to give $175 a year to finance the town's library; hence the name Springbank Township Library. The library was moved to better facilities in 1994, 1945, 1967, and its present location in 1988. It was extensively updated using a major monetary donation to better accommodate the inventory of books and magazines for all ages. The library receives its funding from Springbank Township and is open three days a week.
 
Books in the Library about Dixon County
  • History of Dixon County
  • Stones of Time, Dixon County Cemeteries
  • The Aisles of the Forgotten Graveyard
  • Irish-American Immigration in Dixon and Dakota Counties
  • Swedish-American Immigration in Dixon County
  • Nebraska Historic Building in Dixon and Dakota Counties
  • 1891-1991 Allen, Nebraska
Emerson Public Library
110 Main Street
Emerson, NE 68733
Phone# of contact person (402) 695-2449 LaVaille Reifenrath
 
History of Library's Founding
In 1931, the Emerson Women's Club undertook to establish a library in Emerson. They located the library in the Corner Store (site of the present-day post office parking lot) and opened the library with donated books from the Women's Club and other interested citizens. By October 1932 the library was successfully opened with a librarian receiving $10 a month. In 1934 the Women's Club donated the library to the community, and the Board of Trustees agreed to levy a tax for financial support. The library was moved to better facilities in 1941, 1954, and 1980 to its present location. The community is proud that the Emerson Public Library is one of the few of its size to be completely cataloged and circulation system automated. Progress in ongoing at updating its technology facilities.
 
Books in the Library about Dixon County
  • Dixon County, Nebraska History
  • History of Dixon County
  • Stones of Time, Dixon County Cemeteries