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Adams County


This week is National County Government Week; fittingly, the county government of Adams County in southwestern North Dakota was organized on this day in 1907. The county itself was created from the southern portion of Hettinger County by proclamation of Governor John Burke on April 17, 1907. This explains why the location of the city of Hettinger, North Dakota is in Adams County, rather than its namesake county to the north. The creation of Adams County actually deprived Hettinger County of nearly one thousand square miles of land, in addition to its largest city. Hettinger became the county seat of the newly formed county, and remains so to this day, whereas Hettinger County named the nearby city of Mott as its own county seat.

Adams County was named for John Quincy Adams, but not the sixth United States president of the same name. This John Quincy Adams, although a distant relative to the sixth president, was in fact the General Land and Townsite Agent for Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroads. This railroad’s main line west was built through southwestern North Dakota in 1907, and the residents of Adams County believed that the county’s success was a direct result of the railroad’s placement through the county. Area newspapers echoed the sentiments of the county’s citizens: at the time, the Adams County Record reported that “One force has been more largely responsible for the peopling of the fertile prairies here than any other...the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway...” County residents showed their appreciation by naming the county for the railroad agent. Today, Adams County is home to nearly 2,600 North Dakotans.

Adams County will be joining the other fifty-two counties of North Dakota in celebrating County Government Week this week. The week has been set aside by the National Association of Counties in order to raise public awareness about the services provided by counties to the community. This year’s theme is “Protecting the Environment," and will be commemorated with open houses at county facilities and county speakers advocating the roles of both counties and citizens in the challenge of preserving mother nature.







--Jayme L. Job