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part of the county, in the fall of 1871.
In the fall of 1871, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad
was completed through Fillmore County, and the towns of Exeter and Fairmont were surveyed and platted, and at once began to
be built up rapidly.
In the history of Fillmore County, the year 1872 is noted for the rapid settlement
over its entire area. During the year, nearly every acre of Government land had been entered, a large amount of railroad land
sold, and a very large acreage brought under cultivation. There had been a large acreage planted to crops, and the yield was
The spring of 1873 opened with a heavy immigration to the county, and, by the end of the year, all
parts had become quite thickly settled. The large acreage already under cultivation had been planted, which yielded an abundant
crop. Besides this, there was a great deal of breaking done during the summer.
In the fall of 1871, William Smith had been arrested for larceny and was confined in the
Pawnee County Jail at a great expense, awaiting trial; therefore, upon a request from the County Commissioners, Judge O. P.
Mason ordered a special term of the District Court, to be held on February 28, 1872. The first jury in the county was drawn
on February 7, and the first term of District Court was held on the appointed day at the residence of Mr. Pangle, on Turkey
Creek, a short distance northwest of the present, town of Geneva. Smith was convicted and sentenced to sixty days imprisonment
in the Otoe County Jail.
The first homicide in the county occurred in August, 1872, at which time Orlando
Porter shot and killed George A. Day. Porter lived on a farm east of Geneva, and Day, who had a homestead near, but had not
yet brought his family West, was boarding with him. He frequently complained of being too unwell to work, and remained at
the house. One day, while working in the hay-field, a neighbor told Porter that Day had been guilty of criminal intimacy with
his wife. Porter went to the house, and, taking his wife on his knee, made her confess to the truth of the report, upon which
he rose, with the exclamation, "He shall die." Just at