In 1865, James D. Brown settled three miles southeast of present-day Brainard and later established a post office called Urban. In 1878, Brown’s son-in-law, Thomas Logan, established the town of Brainard near the Union Pacific Railroad. Named in honor of David Brainerd, a missionary to the Indians, the town quickly grew with original settlers of German and English origin. Soon, there was a large influx of Czech pioneers from Bohemia and Moravia. The population varied from 61 in 1880, to 468 in 1920, to 275 in 1970, to 330 today.
The Community Club has 29 VHS tapes that have been transferred to DVDs and are available for purchase for $10 plus $2 shipping. These include Old Hometown Festivals, interviews of community residents in the 1990s entitled “Remembering Brainard,” Community Club activities especially Evening in the Park, and the Q125 celebration in 2003. View a complete list of DVDs that are available for purchase. For information, email Sharon Bruner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Hall has a display of historic pictures of early Brainard which may be viewed during visiting hours or by appointment. There are also many scrapbooks of town and community history that may be viewed. Information, stories, and photographs are being collected for files on Brainard history which will be stored in the City Hall for research and preservation. Scrapbooks of community events, NCIP entries, the Q125 celebration, and previous hometown festivals are available for viewing. For information on the history of Brainard, former residents, or to share photos and history that you may have, call (402) 545-4261 or (402) 545-3901.
Actor, Lyle Talbot (1902-1996), grew up in Brainard, living in the Talbot Hotel where his grandmother was the proprietress. He started his movie career in 1932 and made over 150 films and appeared in many TV shows. Lyle had fond memories of living in Brainard.
James Cabela (1869-1937), grandfather of Jim and Dick Cabela, co-founders of Cabela’s World’s Foremost Outfitters in Sidney, Neb., immigrated to Brainard in 1884. James operated several businesses in Brainard and served on the Village Board. The Cabela family left Brainard in 1932 and established a furniture store in Chappell, Neb.
Adam and Nannie (Bozarth) Hall homesteaded southeast of Brainard in 1870. Their three grandsons, Joyce, Rollie, and William Hall, pooled their money and opened the Norfolk Post Card Company in about 1907. In 1910, they started selling greeting cards in Kansas City. They named it Hall Brothers which later became the Hallmark Company.
Butler County Tombstone Project
Over 1900 tombstones have been photographed and all data written on the stones has been gathered for genealogical research and history preservation from the following local cemeteries:
One way to view the information is to click on “Image Search-All Graves”. Then type in a family surname. All gravestones with that name will be displayed, along with their birth and death dates, the cemetery name and the grave location within that cemetery.
Click on a name (in red) and you will be able to view that family genealogy, if it is available.
On this website you can also browse through hundreds of old photos from several old photography studios that once operated within the county. Photos and fact sheets can be ordered from this website.
Cemetery Maps and gravestone data are available for viewing at the Brainard City Hall.
Cemetery Directories will be placed at some of these local cemetery entrances in the near future.