Founded in 1856
County seat: David City
Nebraska License Plate Number: 25
Butler County was named for a man who possibly never set foot in Nebraska even though he was asked specifically to do so. Still a well-known Kentuckian, General William O. Butler first found fame in the War of 1812. Throughout his lifetime, he served in both the state legislature and Congress. He found fame again in the Mexican War. Although he was appointed territorial governor of Nebraska, he declined the offer. Earlier in 1844, he had tried unsuccessfully to become governor of his own state. Maybe he had had enough of politics by this point.
Former Butler County Towns
Carmel. Named for the mountain found in the Bible. Probably. Unless this location was named for the town in Illinois. At some point, the mountain must be involved.
Pepperville. At one time, Hubert Pepper had his own place. Kind of sad this town went away. Wouldn’t it be a cool town to write on an envelope?
Savannah … Former county seat located on the old Gardner Ranch. Named for a town in Georgia. Or in Tennessee. Or in Missouri. Evidently the town’s exact origin is no longer known.
Current Butler County Towns
Brainard was named in honor of David Brainerd, a well-known missionary to the Indians.
David City. Three name origin possibilities: Mrs. Miles (nee David) who deeded a tract of land. Or William Miles’ relative, Mr. Davids. Or David Butler, the first actual Nebraska governor. No matter the origin, this town became county seat in 1873.
Garrison. As you can imagine, my kids get excited when we drive by this town. At some point, I want us to take family pictures by the town sign. For now, just know that this town has a great name and was named for a great man. William Lloyd Garrison championed the cause of freedom in the Civil War.
Rising City. Two brothers ran an area store and got the name nod.
Surprise – this land is better than we expected. Surprise – the town still exists, even though it is quite small.
Butler County Today …
A wonderful Nebraska place to visit is the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art. What I love about this place is the fact that they have rotating exhibits that feature agriculture. While not all of the artists or art featured are actually from Nebraska, all of them have created at least one piece that reflects the art of agriculture in some way.