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Incorporated as a village in 1871, and as a town in 1856, Ponca is the fourth oldest town in Nebraska. Named for the Ponca Indian tribe native to the region, Ponca is the county seat of Dixon County. Adam Smith, his wife, and nine other settlers crossed into Nebraska in 1856, camping south of the Aowa Creek, since Indian territory was to the north. Frank West and a Mr. Carson, said to be an uncle to Kit Carson, removed the warning signs and laid out a 24-block town beyond the safe zone on the present town site. A post office was established in 1857, and Ponca was named the county seat when Ponca County was organized in 1858. Development slowed during the Civil War, but Ponca became a wild Western town following the war, complete with gunfights, hangings, gambling, and Indian raids. Ponca recovered from the grasshopper plagues of the early 1870s when the Covington, Columbus & Black Hills Railroad came through in 1876. Ponca is northeast of Martinsburg, southeast of Newcastle, south of Elk Point, and northwest of North Sioux City, near Nebraska’s borders with South Dakota and Iowa.



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