Located in northeastern Nebraska along the Missouri River and the boundary with Iowa; County Seat: Pender.
Originally named Blackbird County, this county was named for Chief Blackbird of Omaha whose Indian name was Wagigasabey (Wazhinga Sabe). In 1804, Lewis and Clark were visiting Chief Blackbird's gravesite and recorded in their journals that he died in 1800. It is also believed by some that the Black Bird County form of the name comes from the mythological Thunder Bird of the Indians. Thurston County was named for United States Senator John M Thurston who led the effort to establish the county from parts of Dakota, Wayne and Burt Counties. (NE-T18/p139/40)