Valley

History

Valley County derives its name from the land conditions that exist in the area. Located between the North and Middle Loup Rivers, the terrain is mostly prime valley land which lies between the higher table lands.

The boundaries of what today is Valley County were originally created by the Legislature in 1871. Two years later the Legislature adopted an act to permit the county to organize. On March 18, 1873, the county's organizational election was held. In addition to the selection of the county's first officers, voters also selected the site of the present town of Ord to serve as the county seat. At the time it was selected, however, the county seat had no name. After it was surveyed in 1874, the site was named Ord, in honor of Gen. E.O.C. Ord, who was commander of the Army of the Platte at the time the county was organized.

The first settlers in this area are said to have been two distinct groups who had traveled from Wisconsin in 1872. The first was a small party of Danes who settled on the west side of the North Loup River near the present site of Ord. The second group of settlers consisted of a colony of Seventh-Day Baptists who homesteaded farther downstream near the present day town of North Loup. Their objective was to settle on the frontier in order that they might remain undisturbed by those who observed the first day of the week as the Sabbath.

Throughout the early years there were persistent rumors that Indian raids were about to occur in the county. Gen. Ord decided to station a company of soldiers in the northern part of the county just in case. Although there were some minor skirmishes and one that resulted in the death of one of Gen. Ord's soldiers, for the most part they were just rumors.

In 1884 the settlers of Valley County were looking forward to a large yield from their crops. That quickly changed when a wave of grasshoppers covered the state and completely destroyed every living plant in its path. Losing the crops they had counted on to survive the coming winter, many of the settlers left the area, never to return.