Cities, Towns, Villages
Bloomington; Campbell; Franklin; Hildreth; Naponee; Riverton; Upland
Advertisements appearing in Eastern and European newspapers in the 1860s claimed the Republican River area, south of Fort Kearny, offered an abundance of fuel, wild game, and a beauty that could not be found elsewhere. Such advertisements led to an inpouring of early settlers.
The advertisements did tell prospective settlers the truth, as they found easily accessible creeks and springs and a vast amount of timberland that accommodated many of their needs, particularly in the southern portion of what would become Franklin County.
By an act of the Legislature, Franklin County was organized in March 1871. Named after American statesman and philosopher Benjamin Franklin, the county's boundaries were actually approved four years earlier. The first post office, according to historical records, opened in 1873. The following year the United States Land Office moved from Lowell to Bloomington and brought people in from a 10-county area. This move, combined with the fact that Bloomington was laid out along the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad line, resulted in a tremendous increase in business activity for the village.
A move of the county seat was next, as the inhabitants of the area voted to relocate it from Franklin City to Bloomington. As Bloomington continued to grow, Franklin City would soon cease to exist. At the same time, Riverton and Naponee would incorporate on the east and west ends of the county, respectively.
With the demise of Franklin City came the founding of Franklin, located just to the east of the former settlement in the south-central portion of the county. Franklin was incorporated in July 1883. Within 10 years, Hildreth, Campbell and Upland were incorporated.
Bloomington's boom was short-lived as in 1893 the U.S. Land Office was permanently closed. In the years that followed the population began to shift away from Bloomington and toward Franklin. By 1920, voters in the county chose to move the county seat from Bloomington to Franklin.