As settlers moved into the Loup Valley in the 1870s, it was felt necessary to provide protection from possible Native American attacks. A US Army Infantry company bivouacked on both sides of the Loup River at the present site of Cotesfield.The town was named after a young lady guest of the commander. The first post office was established in 1871; many settlers and businesses had moved into the area by 1873. The railroad reached Cotesfield in 1882; a bridge across the river was built in 1905.

In 1906 the town’s population reached 200 and it had two elevators, grocery stores, a drug store, two banks, a Ford car dealer, an implement store, a barber shop, pool halls, several cream stations, a livery barn, hotels, and a large depot. Cotesfield had electricity by 1926.

Now it stands silently by the side of the highway, in one of the most beautiful sections of the Loup River Valley. Deadwood Trail, which parallels the river on the east side, just north of town, has stunning scenery and fascinating history. It was the site of the Halfway House, so called because it was halfway between Fort Hartsuff and the rail line in Grand Island. It was built of quick lime, the same material used in building Ft. Hartsuff. The kilns are still visible today.

This section of the valley was also the site of the home of the well-known scout, Conrad Wentworth, better known as “Little Buckshot.” Early historians tell of the plentiful elk and other game in the valley, so much that soldiers began to pine for plain old beef to eat.

Cotesfield’s population is now around 60.