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Kenneth Mays
An old bank building, now a museum, in present-day Genoa, Nebraska.

As Brigham Young and the first pioneer company trekked westward in eastern Nebraska, several sites were established as temporary settlements to serve as way stations along the route. One of those was the little town of Genoa in Nance County. Genoa was founded and named by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the spring of 1857.

Kenneth Mays
Site where Brigham Young and the pioneers camped near Genoa, Nebraska in April 1847.

According to an interpretive panel near the site, this settlement was to service the “Brigham Young Express and Carrying Company, as well as travelers following the trail.” William Hartley and Gary Anderson note that the settlement was to be a “rest and resupply stop for annual LDS emigrating companies," according to "Sacred Places, Vol. 5," edited by LaMar C. Barrett.

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Initially, about 100 families settled Genoa. Living in sod homes, they fenced and farmed the land and constructed a steam powered mill among other projects. Shortly afterward in 1859, however, the site of Genoa became part of the Pawnee Indian Reservation. Although most of the Saints subsequently left, Genoa has continued as a town to this day.

About 7 miles from Genoa is an interpretive panel that explains an “unexpected windfall” for Brigham Young and the Pioneer Company who passed by in 1847. They came upon an abandoned Presbyterian mission with sundry implements and supplies. Some of those needed supplies were gathered by the Saints as compensation for one of the Saints who had worked at the mission without previous payment.