Cotterell Township, Dodge County, Nebraska

This subdivision of Dodge County comprises all of Congressional township 18, range 8 east, and about all of the north half of township 17, of the same range. It is bounded on the north by Ridgeley Township, on the east by Maple and Platte townships, on the south by the south bank of Platte River and on the west by Union Township. The Town of North Bend, second largest in Dodge County, once within Cotterell civil township. From an early day in the county's history, this subdivision was included in North Bend precinct, but upon the date of "Township Organization" in 1886, the division was made. The present townships of Cotterell and Union were both a part of North Bend precinct.

But few, if indeed any, portion of Dodge County can boast of better soil and improvements that Cotterell, in which township there is but a very small amount of land that can truthfully be classed as "waste land."


The United States census reports give the population of this township in 1890 as 701; in 1900 as 1,194, and in 1910 as 831. The change in extent of territory accounts for the decrease in population largely.

Pioneer Settlement

The township was named for its first settler-Hon. M. S. Cotterell. In company with James Humphrey, Alexander Morrison and John M. Smith, he came from Ohio and the party brought a steam saw mill in with them. Mr. Cotterell claimed a half section of land, including that upon which North Bend now stands. Other members of the party located across the line, west, in Union Township. The date of this settlement was 1857.

In 1858 came George O. Dodge, of section 11. He came in company with his father, and they soon went back to their native country, New England. He enlisted in the Union Army during the civil conflict and did not return to this township until 1866.

During 1858 another settlement was effected by James Sloss, who entered a quarter section of land near North Bend, he being among the first to make actual improvements in Cotterell Township. In 1880 he moved to the village of North Bend, leading a semi-retired life, although he had a landed estate in 1892 amounting to 1,100 acres. Richard Hooper came in the spring of 1858 and entered a quarter section of wild land four miles northwest of Fremont. Subsequently he took land near Scribner and at other points in Dodge County. He died July 13, 1887.

Robert McVicker, later a loan and insurance agent in North Bend, arrived in Dodge County in the spring of 1864, purchasing a quarter section of land two miles east of the village of North Bend. In 1875 he removed to Peru, Nebraska, lived there till 1885, when he engaged in business at North Bend.

A portion of section 11 was taken up by E. J. Howe, and in the spring of 1866 came Patrick O'Connor to section 22. He and his wife boarded some of the railroad hands in a sod shanty. In 1868 he took a homestead, to which he removed in 1869 and later owned considerable more land.

The same year last named came Thomas F. Keeton, who taught school in the winter of 1866-67. He was variously engaged and finally in 1889 was made the manager of the Farmers' Co-operative Association at North Bend.

A tree-claim and homestead was taken in section 14 in 1867 by John P. Eaton.

Thomas J. Cotterell, a carpenter, came to Dodge County in June, 1867. He was the son of a shipbuilder and was a soldier in the Union ranks in Civil war days. Later he settled in North Bend Village. Another who made his settlement here in 1867 was Andrew M. Jackson of section 30. The same time came Jacob Miller, who located at Fremont, started a blacksmith's shop and conducted it three years, then went to his farm in section 10, of Cotterell Township.

William J. Gregg located in this township in section 17, in 1867, remained some time with his uncle M. S. Cotterell, and followed school teaching winters. He pre-empted a quarter of section 8 in 1869 and later bought forty acres of land adjoining it.

Another settler should here find prominent mention-Charles R. Ogilvie is referred to. He was later of the firm of Cusack and Ogilvie. He came to this county in April, 1868, and worked at railroading for two years. He then spent many years in the far away west and followed railroading until 1885, then engaged in the newspaper business on the "Flail" in company with C. W. Hyatt. He sold out his interest in 1887 and became the manager of the Farmers Elevator Co.

In 1868, in the spring, came John Tym to section 4. He homesteaded land in this township and later purchased more adjoining it. John Haun, of section 2, settled in 1868 and became a prominent fanner.

Archibald H. Elson first claimed land on the low flats in Cotterell Township in the autumn of 1868, where he homesteaded, but later changed for land in section 8, where he died in January, 1891, an honored and successful citizen.

Leander Smith dated his settlement in Cotterell Township from the spring of 1869, when he homesteaded eighty acres.

In 1872 John T. Zorn arrived in the township with his parents and located in section 13. In 1876 he went to work for himself and farmed four years in Platte Township, when he bought a farm of his own. C. W. Hyatt settled on wild land north of the village in North Bend in 1873 but only remained there two seasons.

The same season came George Faist to section 11.

Thomas Acom settled in Cotterell Township in the spring of 1873, and claimed land in section 9, township 17, range 6.

George Mittonberger settled in the spring of 1878 in section 6, remained there seventeen years, when he traded it for a ranch in Holt County, Nebraska; but he never moved there. He conducted a dairy business until 1891, when he embarked in the livery business at the Village of North Bend.

William H. Divine, section 5, came to Dodge County in the early spring of 1879, locating and purchased over 200 acres of wild land in Maple Creek Valley.

Later settlements were effected by Messrs. Silas M. Stanley, section 29 ; Charles High, section 28 ; Albert McGahey in section 10 ; William Wheeler, section 9; Stedman P. Beebe, section 12, the last named locating on land of his own in 1885.

Dodge County | Nebraska AHGP

Source: History of Dodge and Washington Counties, Nebraska, Rev. William H. Buss and Thomas T. Osterman, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, Chicago, 1921.

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