Cities, Towns, Villages
Lewellen; Lisco; Oshkosh
Garden County is one of two counties in the state whose name is a direct result of the way in which early inhabitants viewed the area or intended it to become.
Garden County was established in 1909 after a successful election effort to create a new county from the northern portion of existing Deuel County. The name "Garden" was suggested by Oshkosh real estate agents John and William Twiford because they explained that the locale was or could be the "garden spot of the west." Oshkosh itself, the county seat, dates back to 1886 when a group of settlers formed the Oshkosh Land and Cattle Company. One of the company's founders had come from Oshkosh, Wis.
Much of Garden County's more significant history spans the 100 years before the county was actually organized. Throughout the decade of the 1800s, the area was a haven for the Sioux nation, a resting place for Mormons and Forty-Niners who were heading west, and the site of some of Nebraska's bloodiest battles involving the Army and the Sioux tribes. An interesting note about the county is that famous Sioux Chief Red Cloud was born here in 1821. It was Red Cloud who forced the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868 after refusing to allow immigrants to travel the Bozeman Trail into Montana.
On the eastern boundary of the county lies Ash Hollow, which was the scene of many dramatic and significant incidents in local history. Ash Hollow was the converging point of the Mormon Trail and two branches of the Oregon Trail. The area may be most famous for the 1855 battle between the Army cavalry and a band of Brule, Ogalala and Minneconjoe Sioux. After the battle, Gen. Harney erected a small post at the site to support the immigrant wagon trains and to furnish escorts for the monthly mail deliveries between Forts Kearny and Laramie.
Today, northern Garden County is one of Nebraska's leading cattle ranching areas, while the North Platte River Valley and the fertile silt soil to the south support prosperous farming operations.