Beatrice, Nebraska

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Beatrice is a city in and the county seat of Gage County, Nebraska. The name is pronounced /biːˈætrɨs/, "Be-AT-russ".[4]

Beatrice is located 40 miles (64 km) south of Lincoln on the Big Blue River. It is surrounded by rich agricultural country. The population was 12,496 at the 2000 census.



Gage County was one of the 19 counties originally established by the Nebraska Territorial Legislature in 1854. At the time of its establishment, there were no settlers living within it.[5]

In 1857, the steamboat Hannibal, carrying 300 passengers up the Missouri River from St. Louis, Missouri to Nebraska City, Nebraska, ran aground near Kansas City, Missouri. While it was stranded, 35 of the passengers agreed to form the "Nebraska Association", under which name they would unite in seeking a townsite and establishing a settlement in the territory.[6][7]

After reaching Nebraska City, the Association divided itself into two exploratory parties, one of which went directly westward and the other southwest. The latter party located the site of Beatrice, at the point where the DeRoin Trail crossed the Big Blue River; and the whole Association decided to settle there. The settlement was named after Julia Beatrice Kinney, the 17-year-old daughter of Judge John F. Kinney, a member of the Association.[6][7][8]:120

The Territorial Legislature selected Beatrice as the county seat of Gage County in 1857. The decision was challenged by Blue Springs, but was confirmed by the Legislature in 1859. In 1864, the Legislature dissolved the original Clay County (not the current Clay County, Nebraska), dividing its land between Gage and Lancaster Counties. The addition of this ground in the north placed Beatrice near the center of the enlarged county, strengthening its claim to the county seat.[5] It continues to hold that position today.[9]

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