Banner County, Nebraska

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Banner County is a county located in the U.S. state of Nebraska. The population was 819 at the 2000 census.[1] Its county seat is Harrisburg.[2]

Banner County is part of the Scottsbluff, Nebraska Micropolitan Statistical Area.

In the Nebraska license plate system, Banner County is represented by the prefix 85 (it had the eighty-fifth-largest number of vehicles registered in the county when the license plate system was established in 1922).

Contents

History

When Nebraska became a state in 1867, a single county encompassed the entire Panhandle.[3] In 1870, the southern half of the Panhandle was organized as Cheyenne County. The arrival of increasing numbers of settlers led to the partitioning of the county in 1888: the eastern third became Deuel County; the middle third became present-day Cheyenne County; and the western third became Kimball, Scotts Bluff, and Banner Counties.[4] The last of these was named by citizens who declared that it would become the "banner county" of the state, and "the brightest star in the constellation of Nebraska counties".[5]

The initial settlement of the area was by cattle ranchers, drawn by good pastures in the Pumpkin Creek valley.[6] In the late 1880s, these open-range ranchers were displaced by an influx of settlers; by 1890, almost every quarter-section (160 acres, or 65 ha) was claimed by homesteaders.[3] However, the good moisture years that had attracted these settlers were succeeded by a severe drought in 1893 and 1894, which drove many of the new settlers away again; the number of farms in the county declined by more than half, from 565 in 1890 to 226 in 1900.[6] The land thus vacated was again used by ranchers, who raised both crops and cattle. The 1904 passage of the Kinkaid Act, which allowed homesteaders to claim 640 acres (260 ha) brought a new wave of settlers; however, even these larger tracts were often insufficient to support a family, and many of the Kinkaid claims were eventually sold to established cattle ranchers.[3]

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