Saunders County Historical Society and Museum | 240 N. Walnut Street | Wahoo, NE 68066 | 402-443-3090

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Saunders County Communities


Officially organized in 1866, the first inhabitants arrived around 1850. The area became a crossing point for many settlers and traders moving through the area. Early families to settle in the area included Decker, Augheys, Warbrittons and Stambaughs. As the community began to grow and prosper, Ashland became the county seat of Saunders County. In 1873, a vote was held by the residents of Saunders County. It was decided the county seat would move to Wahoo. Ashland had early names- Saline Ford and Flora city. It was named Ashland after Henry Clay’s home of Ashland, Kentucky. Today, Ashland is best known for the home of Nebraska’s first astronaut- Clayton Anderson.


Benton was a the sight of a post office from 1868 to 1877. A Swan was the postmaster Benton was located near the Platte River north of Cedar Hill.

Cedar Bluffs

Officially founded in 1887, Cedar Bluffs was a product of railroad expansion. The town quickly grew as settlers and businesses began to arrive. The community flourished for many years. Early residents included- Ferris, Stuart, Holdst, Chapman, Johnson, Perky, Henderson, Crinklau, Orme, Lictenberg, Killiaqn and Knapp. Today, Cedar Bluffs is much quieter, with only a handful of businesses remaining.


The first settlers to the area were in 1868- Ashel and Hoace Andrus. They had migrated from Ceresco, Michigan. Hence they named their new town the same. In Roman-Ceres means Goddess of Grain and Co means company of settlers. By 1869, the town began to grow. Soon after, the railroad arrived, requiring the original location to move slightly. Additional early settlers includes, Smith, Ashel, Yates, Nelson, Pearson, Whitney, Riddle, Oberg, Noyes, March, Swanson, Johnson, Skelnar, Haller and Gibbs. In 1909, Magnus Swanson opened a Ford and Overland dealership. Today, Swanson Ford is the oldest continuously owned Ford dealership in Nebraska.


First settled by the Wall family in the mid 1860’s. In 1886, the railroad moved through the area attracting more settlers. Leaner Taylor, a recent settler from Colon, Michigan settled and named the new town Colon. The town was relocated 2 times before a permanent location was established. Additional early families include- Phelps, Olander, Murren, Kirchman, Daily, McDermott, Murphy, O’Connor, Shanahan, TePoel and Malloy.


Eldred was located in what is now Center Precinct- just north of the Wahoo Airport. It was existed from 1869 to 1874. Early names associated with Eldred were- Eldred, Stocking, Coburn, Hasbrouck and Capp. The latter served as postmaster.


Estina was founded around 1870. One of the first Swedish communities in Saunders county, it was the sight of the First Swedish Baptist Church and a post office. William Estey was the first postmaster. And thus the name- Estina. The official name ceased to exist after 1883.


Located approximately 3 ½ miles southeast of Yutan, Headland was founded in 1868 with the sight of a post office. The location was on a stagecoach route from Fremont to Ashland. A few of the early settlers included Richardson, Hullhorst, Peters and Milek.


The first settler known to the area was Willian Dech. Sometime following, Fred Talbot, of Ithaca, New York arrived. Hence he named the town Ithaca. Additional pioneers included –Lucas, Roberts, Jardine, Eberhardt, Roll, Mielenz, Hanson, Kansenbach, Wagner, Hall and Olson.


Originally the home of a Pawnee Tribe, the town was named for it’s chief- Pita Lesharu. When the railroad arrived in 1905, the town of Leshara was created. Early merchants included- Johnson, Cords, Feist, Green, Behrens, Haessler, Estey, Rutt, Williams, Anderson, Krammer and Zaugg.


First settled in 1869. The first name of the town was Edensburg. Later named Malmo in 1887 after a town in Sweden. Early settlers included- Isaacson, Blomberg, Ostenburg, Olson, Bradenburg, Larson, Erickson, Hulsing, Frostrum, Johnson, Amberg and Frahm.


First founded in 1876 by the railroad. In 1877, the town was named Alvin. Later changed to Saunders and then to Mead. Early settlers included- Condit, Stirdevent, Ostenberg, Johnson, Anderson, Padget, Blomberg, Wilson, Gobson, Ohmstead, Carlson, Becker and Hall.


The town had it’s beginning in 1887 with the arrival of the railroad. Early settlers include- Owens, Grauerholz, Quincy, Barr, Grimes, Carey, Shupe, Iliff and Henry. In 1887, Armour Company came to Memphis. They created a manmade lake and built an ice house. The operation survived for almost 40 years. Today, Memphis Lake is a recreational lake.

Morse Bluff

The town was first platted in 1887, the same year the railroad came through town. The town began to grow with businesses and churches starting up. Early name associated with the community included- Gidley, Fleming, Hall, Wilson, Wolfe, Farris, Wilcox, Skinner, Roberts and Frahm. In 1917, Joseph Bauer began developing a recreational lake. At one point, there was a steam driven boat along with skating and picnicking.


Newton was located near the Butler County line. Founded in 1872 with the site of a post office. Early names in the community included- Sterns, Crawford, Stevens and Kastl. The post office closed in 1894.


Plasi was founded as an early Catholic community in 1877. A post office was located in Plasi in 1877. It was believed the railroad would come through the sight of the town. But the railroad did not. The post office closed in 1884. Plasi was first called Plizen and later changed. Early settlers in clued- Machs, Sousek, Hocarnick, Simaneks and Vaneks.


Prague was first homesteaded in 1867. Early settlers were of Czech origin and named their community after the capital of their homeland. The railroad arrived in 1888. The community began to grow as a result. New businesses opened- a flour mill, hotel, cigar factory, grain elevator, furniture store and blacksmith shop were among the mix. Early names associated with the community include- Kastl, Simanek, Kasper, Mach, Bures, Vavak, Pop, Kubik and Fisher.


Rescue is located in what is now Chester Precinct. Founded around 1887 with the arrival of the railroad. At one time, Resue had a dance hall, elevator, grocery store and machine shops. Early names in the community were- Wirks, Kratky, Micham, Smith, Petrasek, Fleming, Peterka and Frohner. Rescue had a post office from 1874-1900 and again from 1903 – 1933. WW I saw the demise of the community when the railroad abandoned the line.


Founded in 1872 with the opening of a post office. Renamed Cedar Hill in 1874. At one point, the community offered a general store, blacksmith shop and lodge hall and a church. Today- the church is all that remains. Early postmasters includes- Doubrava, Rice and Brownell.


Wahoo, from an Indian word meaning "burning bush", was founded in 1870 by a group of settlers who were predominately Czech, German, and Scandinavian immigrants.


The Sioux City and Western Railroad Company felt that the land through what is now Wann was a place for the railroad to build as it stretched its way to Sioux City. The company bargained for land to be used for the railroad right-of-way and in 1905 a town was platted.


A 16-block village was platted in 1876, when the Omaha & Republican Valley Railroad extended its line from Valley to Lincoln. The town was first called "Clear Creek." The name was changed in 1884 to honor Chief Ietan (pronounced "Yutan") of the Oto-Missouri Indian tribe, who had an encampment a short distance southeast of the town site from the early 1800s to 1835.
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