Cities, Towns, Villages
Anoka, Bristow, Butte, Gross, Lynch, Monowi, Naper, Spencer
Situated between the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers, this area was once referred to as a "shoestring" county because of the configuration of its boundaries. From east to west, Boyd County measures 48 miles; from north to south it ranges from 6¾ to 15¼ miles.
In the early 1800s the majority of this area was part of the great Sioux Reservation, while a small portion of the land was a part of the Fort Randall Military Reservation. In 1889 a treaty was signed between the government and the Sioux which permitted the area to be thrown open for settlement. Historical accounts reveal that the Indians were at first reluctant to sign the treaty. When government officials arrived from Washington, the chief would pick up dirt in his hands and let it slip through his fingers while repeatedly saying they could not eat dirt. After hours of talks, the chief finally agreed to sign.
Two years after the treaty was signed the county was established and named in honor of James E. Boyd, who was governor at the time the legislative bill organizing the county was approved. The settlement of Butte was designated as a temporary county seat. Shortly thereafter, the Fort Randall Military Reservation was thrown open for settlement as well.
It was not until 1895 that the state line between Nebraska and South Dakota was accurately surveyed. Prior to that time the settlers who lived in an area known as the "Three Mile Strip" were uncertain of which state they actually lived in.
The county seat of Butte is said to have received its name from a rocky area south of the town that was thought to have been formed by deposits from an iceberg that moved through the area centuries before. The area is known as the Harvey Buttes. About eight miles west of the town is a prominent landmark known as Twin Buttes. The summits of these buttes rise about 200 feet above the county's 1,650-foot elevation. The caps of these buttes are hard rock, beneath which are sand, a second layer of hard rock, and a base of clay and shale.