Elkhorn Township, Dodge County, Nebraska

This civil township derives its name from the fact that its eastern border is washed by the waters of the Elkhorn River. It is situated in the extreme southeastern part of the county, and comprises parts of ranges 8 and 9 in township 17. On its north is Nickerson Township and Washington County; on the east is Washington County; on the south is Douglas County, and on the west is Platte Township. Originally, the boundary line between this township and Washington County was the Elkhorn River, but by an act of the Legislature in 1875, it was changed to conform to section lines regardless of the river, as it made great trouble in the assessment of lands.

Several small lakes, fed by living springs, are found in this township. Here are to be found fish, especially the wall-eyed pike species. Rawhide Creek courses through this township, entering from the west in section 18, township 17, range 10, flowing southeasterly three miles and then empties into the Elkhorn River. The topography of this portion of Dodge County is quite flat, as the bottom lands divide the Platte and Elkhorn rivers.

The railroads are the Union Pacific and the Chicago & Northwestern railways.

The population of the township in 1890 was 412; in 1900 it was 513, but in 1910 it had fallen off to 442. The present census returns (1920) have not yet been made public, but probably will show little increase.

Original Settlement

The following is an account of many persons who came to this township for the purpose of making a permanent settlement between 1856 down to 1887, when the territory was well taken by actual settlers. Elkhorn Township was first settled by Thomas Lee in 1856. He located in the northwest quarter of section 19, and there built him a cabin. At that place he lived about twenty-five years and then moved to Wahoo, where he soon died.

Albert Johnson, of section 19, township 17, range 9, came to Dodge County in the fall of 1857 and made a settlement and later became prominent in the development of his part of Dodge County. He worked at the carpenter's trade in New York until 1877, then had made enough to come back and make the desired improvements on his land in this township.

John A. Close, Union soldier of the Civil war from Wisconsin, after that great conflict had ended sold his property in Wisconsin and moved to section 26 of Elkhorn Township, Dodge County, Nebraska.

In 1863 Elijah G. Brugh, later of Fremont, came in 1863 to this county and was then but a sixteen-year old lad. He followed freighting across the western plains for four years, at a time when all was wild and dangerous. After having his fill of such a life he settled down on his land which was then all covered with a luxuriant growth of prairie grass.

Joseph Snyder, of section 16, came to Dodge County in the winter of 1865, establishing the first shoe shop in Fremont. Eight years later he bought his farm, going direct from the shoe shop to the plow field, where he made a successful and worthy farmer.

Section 14 was originally settled in by Montgomery Pollock, who came here in 1866. A part of his land he purchased and another portion he got through the United States liberal homestead law.

George Close came into section 25, in 1867, accompanied by his parents. He remained at home until he was of age, and then bought and also homesteaded land of his own.

Adam Hindmarsh, of section 19, settled here in 1869, first living fifteen years in section 30, then sold out, moving to section 19. Another settler in section 16 was William H. Hawley, who came in 1871. He located at Fremont as a contractor and builder. He commenced his farming operations in 1880.

About 1870-71 a colony of Scandinavians located in the eastern part of Elkhorn Township. This company was made up mostly of homesteaders, and as soon as they proved upon their lands, sold out and relocated in Burt County, near Oakland, on account of better religious privileges. Among this colony was Jonas Johnson, who remained ten years, took a homestead and bought other pieces of land.

At the same time came John Johnson, settling on the west half of the northwest quarter of section 30, township 17, range 10.

Andrew Johnson homesteaded a part of section 26, sold and bought in section 25, later owned by George Close.

William Harkness was another early settler. He came to section 24, township 17, range 9, and homesteaded in 1866.

John N. Foye homesteaded in 1866, proved up and left the county. Joseph Lamberson settled in section 33-17-9 on July 4, 1866, and died in 1880.

F. G. Parcell located in section 15 at Parcell's Lake.

John Castle homesteaded in section 30, township 17, range 10, about 1869. He died on his place in 1877.

Mrs. R. A. Cottle, of section 30, township 17, range 9, was among the very earliest pioneers of the township. Her husband operated the old stage station on the military road which passed her house. It was also an old freight ranch and had much interesting history connected with it.

Isaiah Crist, section 36, came to Dodge County in 1872 and took eighty acres of wild land.

Charley Johnson, of section 11, came to the township in 1874. At first he worked by the month a year or more, then rented land, and was driven from the farm by the ravages of the grasshoppers and went to Fremont and clerked in a store. Later he returned to his farm which finally consisted of a half section.

Other settlers were Samuel C. Wynn, section 28; Bertel Frandssen, section 22; first located in Fremont where he engaged in the dyeing business. Two years later he took up a homestead; also Gustavius G. Going, of section 33, came to this county in 1880. He located in Fremont and handled cattle, later engaging in the restaurant business.

The schools and churches of this part of Dodge County are mentioned in special chapters on such subjects elsewhere in this volume.

An Omaha man named Fauss came to this township and undertook to excavate a canal, and utilize the water power of the Elkhorn River for the purpose of operating a mill for grain grinding. But for various reasons this seemingly worthy enterprise failed to materialize.

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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