Cities, Towns, Villages
Auburn; Brock; Brownville; Howe; Johnson; Julian; Nemaha; Peru
Another of Nebraska's counties that derives its name from Indian lore is Nemaha County. Years before the first white settlers, the Otoe Indians inhabited this area along the Missouri River. A stream which crossed the land and emptied into the Missouri was referred to by the Otoes as the miry water river. The Otoe name was Nimaha, ni meaning water and maha meaning miry. That name evolved into Nemaha.
Nemaha County was originally called Forney County, one of the eight original counties to make up the Nebraska Territory. Forney County's boundaries were defined in October 1854. The following year, in the first session of the Territorial Legislature, the county was reorganized and its name changed to Nemaha.
In 1854, Richard W. Brown became one of the first pioneers in the area. Brown crossed the Missouri River in a canoe and laid out a cabin claim along the west bank. Within two years the town of Brownville was surveyed and platted. Brown's original log cabin would serve as the county's courthouse until 1867.
There is an interesting history behind the present county seat of Auburn. Originally there were two settlements here -- Sheridan to the north and Calvert to the south. Sheridan was surveyed in October 1868 and named in honor of Civil War Gen. Phil S. Sheridan. Calvert was platted in July 1881 and named for Thomas E. Calvert, an official with the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad. The two rival towns agreed to unite and form one town in 1882. New York native Charles Nixon, who had an interest in the land through which the railroad ran, suggested the unified town be known as Auburn, after Auburn, N.Y.
According to historical accounts, a frame courthouse was built in the middle of the two former towns. For many years this united town would be referred to as North Auburn and South Auburn.
The original frame courthouse would soon be replaced when in 1900 the cornerstone was laid for the present courthouse.