|“Greeley County was settled by home seekers. People joined immigrant trains from eastern states or trekked overland with ox teams and white topped wagons to find land for homes.”Civil War veterans, immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Austria, miners from Pennsylvania, marble cutters, hatters, taylors, wagon makers, carpenters, laborers and skilled artisans from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. Men who were tired of the boss and were determined to be their own. College graduates from Yale, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Kentucky and Iowa. Men with money and men with none, found themselves neighbors engaged in the common task of making a home and a living.|
The first white inhabitant of the county appears to have been a legendary character, “Happy-Jak Swearington”, who lived and trapped up and down the North Loup Valley before 1869. This is where he lived for a time on the peak which bears his name in the Chalk Hills near Scotia.
The first homestead was taken in the southwest corner of the county by Alice P. Fish who filed papers in 1871.
County organization was effective in the fall of 1872. The first meeting of commissioners took place at Lamartine on January 20, 1873. By a special election on November 15, 1874, the county seat was moved to Scotia. Scotia became the first town in Greeley County in 1874, and it still exists.
Other communities established included O’Connor, Brayton, Horace, Belfast, Wolbach, Spalding and Greeley. Scotia, Spalding, Wolbach and Greeley are the only towns which still exist. At one time the population of Greeley County exceeded 10,000 people. Now, however, less than 4,000 reside in the county.
Greeley (Greeley Center) began in the spring of 1885 as a promotion of Thomas Fox. It was advertised as being located in the heart of Greeley County.
The B and M Railroad was built through Greeley and in August 15, 1887, the first train arrived in Greeley. Branches of the railroad went to Erickson and to Burwell. The railroad was to be extended to the Black Hills. This plan, however, never materialized.
The Methodist Church was completed in 1889 and the Catholic Church in 1904. These are the two parishes existing in Greeley today. An excellent relationship exists between the religious groups. On August 12, 1890, an election was held and the voters of Greeley County elected to move the courthouse from Scotia to Greeley where the Greeley County Courthouse exists today. The courthouse is an attractive building located in the center of town and is staffed with efficient and accommodating officials.
Greeley has a present population of 600 people. It is not a presumptuous town but on close scrutiny, one discovers excellent stores and dependable services available.
The greatest asset of Greeley is its people. Their friendliness is exceptional and they are understanding and supportive. Greeley is a good place for children where adults care for their welfare. The schools are attractive, well staffed and equipped. The youth have balanced recreational programs all through the year. The youth, our finest product, are outgoing, friendly, and participate with enthusiasm.
The pictures shown on this page celebrate the heroes that have served their Country, County, Community, and their Families. We in Greeley County wish them all Happiness in this life and Rest in the next.
Greeley County online http://greeleycounty.ne.gov/