Seward 

History

The boundaries of what today is Seward County were defined by the Territorial Legislature on Jan. 26, 1856. The original name given to the county was Greene, after a Gen. Greene of Missouri. But when the Civil War broke out Gen. Greene joined the Confederacy so on Jan. 3, 1862, members of the Territorial Legislature voted to rename the county in honor of William A. Seward, Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln.

County organization began in 1865, but it was not until 1871 that a county seat was selected. The townsites of Seward, Milford and Camden each sought this honor. As can best be determined, the "election" that followed was simply a matter of "Seward, yea or nay." To quell any objections to the "election," a frame building was quickly put up to serve as a courthouse.

A unique part of Seward County's history was the development of the present courthouse and the benefactors who contributed to it.

As the number of county records accumulated, it became apparent that a larger fireproof building was needed. Several times between 1879 and 1900 the idea was proposed, but each time it failed due to the anticipated cost. In 1900, Lewis Moffitt, who owned the land on which the city of Seward is located, died. Moffitt's will stated that upon the death of his wife, Mary, his land should be sold and the money be used to build a courthouse and jail at a cost of not less than $100,000.

By 1904 a campaign was well under way to build the courthouse that Moffitt had envisioned. On Sept. 20, 1905, the cornerstone was laid amid a festive celebration that attracted what was estimated at between 8,000 and 10,000 people. As construction progressed there were numerous suggestions on how the county could show its appreciation to the Moffitts. Some even suggested renaming the county in their honor. It was ultimately decided that a plaque honoring the Moffitts be installed inside the courthouse. In 1980 the impressive building and tree-lined courthouse square that were the result of Moffitt's early vision celebrated its 75th anniversary.