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In the early times of Nemaha County history, Brownville was the doorway to the Nebraska Territory. The river boat transportation up the Missouri brought immigrants in the thousands. With its stone wharf, Brownville became the most important port on the Missouri River. From 1854 to the early 1870's, Brownville was the largest community in the area including Nebraska City and Omaha.

The good days for Brownville quickly ended. An attempt to have the transcontinental railroad go through the town fell short. In the misfortune the city paid for a railroad line it didn't receive. Eight years later the U.S. Supreme Court admitted it was immoral but it couldn't interfere because the city bonds were in innocent third party hands. Brownville had to raise taxes to pay the bonds and many of the citizens subsequently left.

A Tale of Two Cities - Nebraska Style
The town of Sheridan was established in 1867 by its founder A.W. Morgan. Mr. Morgan was a local farmer who figured the most likely place for the county seat was in the center of the county. In 1881 the Missouri Pacific Railroad arrived east of Sheridan. The town quickly grew to a population of more than 200.

Meanwhile J.L. Smith, J.B. Piper, J. Maxwell and G.R. Reynolds purchased land from Burlington & Missouri River Railroad executives to form Calvert in 1881. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad depot was completed there later that year.

Everyone in Calvert already knew B&M River was the best railroad in the county. Likewise, the people of Sheridan felt sorry for the Calvert residents because they didn't have a railroad like Missouri Pacific. But citizens of both towns could agree that the county seat should be in their town, not Brownville. The rivalries of Calvert and Sheridan were quickly put aside. They also understood, with the help of Church Howe and Charles Nixon, that the chance of moving the county seat was better if they could combine Calvert and Sheridan to form one larger town. In 1883, with a vote of 1,829 to 714, the county seat was moved from Brownville to the new town of Auburn.

This tale of two cities is the reason for Auburn's two business districts with Courthouse Avenue connecting them.

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The Carson National Bank, Box 290, Auburn, Nebraska, 68305-0290, 1(402)274-4333
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