The City of O'Neill was founded by John O'Neill in 1880 and offers a unique blend of old world charm and 21st century technology. We invite you to take a break from the hustle-bustle of city life and see for yourself all that we have to offer. General John O'Neill, for whom the town of O'Neill is named, was born in Ireland, he fought for the Union during the Civil War.  After having been briefly imprisoned for his participation in the so-called Fenian invasion of Canada, General O'Neill began his trek to what we know today as O'Neill, Nebraska.

picture of pre 1912 O'Neill, Nebraska

History Timeline:


1875 General O'Neill brought three groups of people from Ireland and added to the town, then known as Holt City. Renamed "O'Neill" by Col. James H. Noteware.
1879 Designated the county seat of Holt county.
1881 The Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad come to O'Neill.
1881 Due to the railroad's location, the community grew from 57 to an established town of 1,226.
1881 Moses P.Kincaid, a young lawyer came to O'Neill. A second floor office in the building at the southeast corner of the 4th and Douglas crossroads later becomes his office and the first level a bank.
1882 Moses P. Kincaid elected as a state senator.
1884 The Kincaid Bank is built, along with the First National Bank built on the opposite northwest corner.
1885 The first Courthouse was built at a cost of $20,000.
1889 May 7, 1889 saw a new form of government take place in O'Neill, the Mayor-Council form with John McBride elected the first mayor.
1892 O'Neill achieves notoriety due to Barrett Scott case, treasurer of Holt County who disappeared with county monies. He was found in Mexico and brought back to O'Neill. While free on bail, he was hanged by a group of vigilantes. Twelve men were brought to trial and acquitted.
1902 Congressman Moses P. Kincaid introduced the Kincaid Act which provided for a 640 acre homestead in western Nebraska. Settlement in the Sandhills region greatly increased due in large to the Kincaid Act.
1913 The Golden Hotel was built, this being one of the town's largest buildings.
**** Other significant buildings that date back to the first part of the twentieth century include the O'Neill Elementary School, St. Patrick's Church, the Carnegie Library, St.Mary's Academy and the Post Office.
St.Patrick's Day in 1969, officially proclaimed "The Irish Capital of Nebraska"
by Governor Norbert Tiemann. 

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