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RG0833.AM:  Royal Buck, 1820-1890

Papers:  1871, 1876

Nebraska City, Otoe County and Red Willow County, Nebraska:  Educator, publisher, land speculator

Size:  0.1 cu.ft.; 4 items


Born in Great Bend, Pennsylvania on May 2, 1820, Royal Buck moved to Wisconsin as a young man and taught at the first school in Madison, Wisconsin. He also helped establish the first newspaper in Madison, the State Journal. In 1860 the Buck family moved to Nebraska Territory and settled near Nebraska City in Otoe County. He served as editor of the local newspaper and was active in politics.

In the fall of 1871, a group of citizens from Nebraska City had the idea of establishing a settlement in the Republican River Valley along the Kansas border in south central Nebraska. The Republican Valley Land Company was organized in October of 1871 with Royal Buck, President and J. Sterling Morton, Vice-President. Buck organized and accompanied a party of exploration to determine the best location for settlement in the Republican River Valley. The party left Nebraska City on Nov. 9, 1871. The party selected a spot on the west side of Red Willow Creek as their settlement site for “Red Willow.” After returning to Nebraska City, a bill was prepared for the organization of “Red Willow County.” The bill failed to pass during that session of the Legislature, but at the next session it did pass. The boundaries of Red Willow County were officially set in February of 1873.

Royal Buck moved his family to Red Willow County shortly after the County was established. The Buck family remained in Red Willow County until 1889 when they moved to Branchville, Maryland. Buck’s wife, Thankful P. Reed, inherited property in Branchville from her brother, Governor Amos Reed. Royal Buck died at his home in Branchville, Maryland on Nov. 19, 1890.


This collection consists of four items relating to Royal Buck. The first item, a diary typescript, dates from Nov. 9 – Dec. 8, 1871. This item is a typescript of the diary kept by Royal Buck during his time with the exploration party of the Republican Valley Land Company. It describes the party’s journey west to the Republican River Valley and the daily camp life along the way. The entries include information on miles traveled each day, wildlife (including buffalo, elk, antelope, and wolves), weather conditions, etc.

The other three items (formerly RG1090) consist of a manuscript (original), manuscript (photocopy), and typescript of the “History of Red Willow County, Nebraska, 1872-1876,” by Royal Buck and I.J. Starbuck. The manuscript was written “…in accordance with the act of Congress of March 13th, 1876 & the Governor’s Proclamation in support thereof, issued April 25th, 1876…by I J Starbuck and Royal Buck, Historians & Revised by a committee appointed by the people assembled in celebration at Indianola on the 4th day of July, 1876…” The manuscript includes a description of the land, establishment of the county and its early towns, and the setting up of local government. It also includes descriptions of early businesses and farming, as well as names of residents. A subject index was added at a later date.



  1. Diary typescript, 1871, Nov. 9-Dec. 8

  2. “History of Red Willow County, Nebraska, 1872-1876” (original)

  3. “History of Red Willow County, Nebraska, 1872-1876” (photocopy)

  4. “History of Red Willow County, Nebraska, 1872-1876” (typescript)


Subject headings:

Buck, Royal, 1820-1890

Red Willow (Nebraska) — History

Red Willow County (Nebraska) — History

Republican Valley Land Company (Nebraska City, Nebraska)

Starbuck, I.J.

Surveying — Nebraska


Revised TMM            05-19-2008