Cities, Towns, Villages
Once known as Beauvais Terras, or badlands, it would take nearly 20 years after Nebraska was admitted to the Union before action would be taken to organize this northwest region of the state. In fact, for many years the area known as Sioux County actually consisted of what today are 13 separate counties, stretching from Holt County westward to Wyoming.
This area had been primarily left to the Sioux Indian tribe before the mid 1800s. The present Sioux County was long a base of operations for many of the Indian raids throughout Northwest Nebraska. It was also in the county that the Indians made their final peace with the white man.
The boundaries for the initial Sioux County were established by the Legislature in 1877. In February 1885 they were redefined to reflect the current boundaries.
With the railroad passing through the county the following year, a tent town known as Bowen sprang up along the line. Years later it would become known as Harrison and the site of the county seat. Five sites vied to become the county seat and several interesting stories resulted. Bowen and Bodarc, located 12 miles to the northwest, were the principal contenders. Others were Andrews, Montrose and the S-E Ranch.
When the election was conducted in January 1887, an old-time cowboy was assigned to take Bodarc ballots to a polling site 50 miles away. He stopped for the night in Bowen, where townspeople kept him at the card table with ample liquor. The following morning he was handed another bottle and sent on his way. He arrived at the polling site to discover his Bodarc ballots had been replaced by Bowen ballots. Bowen easily won.
When it came time for a $10,000 bond issue election to build a courthouse, a similar incident occurred. Before the ballots could be counted, several men allegedly switched ballot boxes and the bond issue won easily.
The first courthouse was built in 1888 and stood for 42 years. In 1930 the present courthouse was constructed.