The big ole five-oh
While it was officially established in 1867, many of Franklin County’s first settlers left because of hostilities from the local Native Americans. The Pawnee tribe was the main tribe in the area and used it as bison-hunting range. So the first official group of settlers were from the Rankin colony. The population of Rankin Colony in 1870 was 26 people.
The population of Franklin county was steady to decreasing until the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad extended its lines through the county. After the railroad reached it’s point in Franklin county people started flocking to Franklin, NE and it was incorporated as a village in 1883.
In fact, the population of Franklin County increased by 20,919.2% from 1870-1880.