In 1911 a proposal before the voters of Cherry County, Nebraska’s largest county, would have divided it into five sections: a new, smaller Cherry County to the east; two new counties, Lake and Green, in the north; and the remaining territory on the south to be added to Grant and Hooker counties. The Cody Cow Boy, a newspaper that favored the division, maintained that several smaller counties could be administered more cheaply than a larger one and that residents would save travel time and money in visiting closer county seat towns.
The Cow Boy editorialized on November 3, 1911: “On next Tuesday the voters of Cherry county will say by their votes whether or not they wish to have the county remain the same unwieldy shape as at present or have it divided in a way that will place its citizens within easy reach of a county seat and will have a tendency to decrease the taxes.” The opposing Valentine Democrat ascribed the Cow Boy’s support of the plan to its desire to see Cody made the county seat of a new Lake County.
What did the voters of Cherry County decide? Read about the election results on the county division question in a Timeline column on the Nebraska State Historical Society website. — Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor for Research and Publications