The boldest and bravest of pioneers headed west, by covered wagon and on foot, to carve out new lives from verdant prairie sod, near the riverbanks in the beautiful Elkhorn Valley. French fur trappers called the river Corne de Cerf, French for the “horn of the elk,” due to the river and its tributaries resembling the antlers of a stag. It then became known as the Elkhorn River. Catfish, bullheads, perch, and bass provided a welcomed change in sparse diets. Here settlers established churches, schools, and towns in a raw wilderness where Ponca, Omaha, Sioux, and Pawnee tribes lived. The prairie grasses fed herds of buffalo, elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. Coyotes, foxes, and wolves roamed in abundance. This land was named Stanton County in honor of Edward M. Stanton, Abraham Lincoln’s ex–secretary of war. Germans, Scandinavians, Bohemians, and Canadians settled in the picturesque river valley and were joined by settlers from Wisconsin and Virginia, as well as the Hoosiers from Indiana.
About the Author
The photographs selected for this book are from the Stanton Register archives and private collections. They help depict the agricultural and entrepreneurial endeavors of those pioneers. Mary L. Maas is a lifelong Stantonite and a member of the Historical Society of Stanton County.