The early settlement of Polk County in 1867 brings us in close touch with the trail of the pioneer. Then from year to year, others came and settlement advanced. These early settlers came by covered wagon, many with ox team. The nearest railroad was 40 miles distant and the roads were trails angling from place to place. The vast expanse of prairie grass, as far as the eye could see was broken only here and there by smoke arising from some sod house on a claim.
Osceola, the county seat and geographical center of Polk County is said to have been named after the Indian Chief Osceola of Florida. It was first located three miles southeast of the present site. The present location was made permanent October 10, 1871. The post office was established June, 1872 and the town was incorporated on August 26, 1881. At this date, Osceola was the terminus of the mail route from Lincoln via Ulysses. The Union Pacific Railroad ran its first train into Osceola June 23, 1879, giving direct communication with the outer world.
Polk County has been the home of three governors: Albinus Nance, John H. Mickey and Ashton C. Shallenberger.