The area known as Cuming County was among the Nebraska Territory, which opened up when President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1851. Soon, Thomas B. Cuming took over as acting governor of the new Nebraska Territory, replacing Francis Burt, who had passed away. Cuming County boundary lines were established by an act of the territorial legislature and approved in March 1855, and the county took its name from the governor.

For three years after the original boundaries of Cuming County were defined in 1855, fictitious “paper” towns were designated as the county seat. The first was “Catherine,” along the Elkhorn River. When the boundaries were redefined in 1857, the county seat was relocated to “Manhattan.”

County organization came the following year and the county was named after acting Territory Gov. Thomas B. Cuming. The seat of local government was once again moved. This time it was to an actual settlement that had been known as New Philadelphia, which by then had been renamed West Point. It was named as such because it was located at the western-most point of where the Elkhorn River Valley was settled at the time.

The first officials to serve the county did so without pay for nearly five years. During that time period they also paid for necessary county supplies out of their own pockets.

In the early 1860s the area developed rapidly. J.D. Neligh, founder of West Point, journeyed to Omaha and Fontanelle to encourage settlers to come to the lush river valley. Seven families accepted his suggestion and, upon arriving in the area, called it the “Garden of the West.”

As stores, hotels and a grist mill were built in West Point, the next move was to build a courthouse in 1870. The building, complete with a tower, would stand as a Northeast Nebraska landmark for many years.

The courthouse that serves the county today is a result of the foresight of residents and officials of the 1940s. Petitions were circulated and presented to the Board of Supervisors on May 6, 1947, asking that an election be held to approve a one-mill tax levy for five years to provide a building fund for a new courthouse. The election was held the following June and was resoundingly approved by a 3-to-1 margin.

Ground was broken on Sept. 1, 1953, immediately behind the old courthouse. Construction progressed so rapidly that the old courthouse was vacated and razed the following year. In December 1954, county offices moved into the new courthouse, which was dedicated July 21, 1955.