History of the Burt County, NE Court House
From: A History of Burt County, Nebraska
From 1803 to 1929
The Ludi Printing Co.
Wahoo, Nebraska - 1929
THE COURT HOUSE OF BURT COUNTY
During the early years following the first settlement in ]854 and the founding of Tekamah in 1855, the county
officials transacted the business in their homes. Terms of court were held in the Block House. W. G. Olinger, who
was elected clerk in 1867, was the first officer to have an office "down town". It was located in a frame
building, which stood about where the J. C. Penny store now is located. It had been erected by G. P. Thomas. In
1869 the first floor was used for offices and the second floor for a court room. Prisoners were taken to West Point
and later to Blair. After the coming of the railroad in 1876 the citizens began the agitation for a court house.
Four thousand dollars was raised for that purpose by Tekamah citizens. When the time to build it arrived, dissention
arose as to its location, one group with B. R. Folsom as its leader wished it on the north side of Tekamah creek;
the second group with G. P. Thomas, wanted it on the south side. The contract was let for the construction of a
frame building upon the site of the 'present court house on the north side of the creek. G. P. Thomas went ahead
and at his own expense erected a two story brick building now occupied by the H. & H. store and Willert &
Miller harness shop, with the Modern Woodman lodge on the second floor. When this brick building was completed
the county officers moved in and accepted it in December, 1878, by a vote of the county commissioners. The frame
building on the north side had been completed, but remained vacant. The following month, January, 1879, a new member
of the county commissioners took his seat. He favored the north side group, so when the reading of the minutes
of the previous meeting came up for approval he voted against the acceptance of the brick building. His vote was
enough to change the result and another vote was immediately taken accepting the frame building for which the four
thousand dollars had been raised by popular subscription. The commissioners immediately authorized J. R. Sutherland,
who was a contractor, to secure help and move the records and furniture and safes at once. This was accomplished
before midnight and before the opposition had time to get out a restraining order. Here the county continued to
conduct the business of the county until 1916, when as the result of a county election a four story building of
brick, stone and concrete, costing $100,000, was completed on the historic site of the old Block House and the
little frame court house.
County Superintendent: W. G. Olinger, 1869; J. M. Pebbles, 1870; G. Preston, 1871; D. C. Reed, 1874; W. T. Berry,
1875; W. E. Drury, 1876; George G. Gates, 1880; E. B. Atkinson, 1886; E. A. Sears, 1892; C. F. Beck, 1894; C. S.
Laughlin, 1898; Eugene Brookings, 1902; Eda C. Nelson, 1906; Nettie C. Nelson, 1911; W. T. Poucher, 1912.
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