In 1888, Nebraska became the first state to hold a statewide referendum, in which citizens could vote directly on proposed laws.
Jefferson County, Nebraska, located in the Midwestern region of the United States, has a rich and diverse history dating back to its establishment in 1856. The county was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and a key figure in American history.

The early settlers of Jefferson County were primarily of European descent and were drawn to the area due to its fertile soil and abundant natural resources. Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the local economy, with crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans playing a vital role in the county's prosperity. Over time, the county witnessed the establishment of numerous farms and the growth of small rural communities.

In the late 19th century, Jefferson County experienced a period of rapid development and expansion. Railroads were constructed, which facilitated transportation and allowed for the efficient distribution of goods. The arrival of the railroad sparked the growth of towns like Fairbury, the county seat, as well as other smaller communities in the area. With the advent of the railroad, Jefferson County became a hub for commerce and trade, attracting new businesses and industries.

The early 20th century brought further advancements to Jefferson County, as modern conveniences like electricity and automobiles became increasingly accessible. The county saw the rise of industries such as manufacturing and retail, as well as the establishment of schools and hospitals to cater to the growing population. Despite the challenges posed by the Great Depression and other economic downturns, Jefferson County managed to persevere and adapt to changing times.

Today, Jefferson County remains a vibrant community deeply rooted in agriculture, while also embracing modern developments and diversifying its economy. The county continues to cherish its historical heritage, with various museums and landmarks showcasing the rich history that shaped its identity.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Jefferson County, Nebraska.

  • 1780s: Native American tribes, including the Omaha and Pawnee, inhabit the land that would become Jefferson County.
  • 1803: The United States acquires the area as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • 1854: Nebraska Territory is established, and the area that includes Jefferson County falls within its borders.
  • 1856: Jefferson County is officially organized and named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States.
  • 1864: The city of Fairbury is founded in Jefferson County.
  • 1871: The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad reaches Fairbury, spurring growth and development in the region.
  • 1898: The Rock Island Railroad, later renamed the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, extends its line to Fairbury.
  • 1920s: Agriculture becomes the main economic activity in Jefferson County, with crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat being cultivated.
  • 1950s: Rural electrification brings modern amenities to the residents of Jefferson County.
  • 1996: The Veterans Memorial Building, a historical structure in Fairbury, is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Present: Jefferson County continues to thrive as an agricultural community while preserving its rich history and natural beauty.