As recounted in a prior post (Westerlins in 1900), before moving to Dawson County, August, Hedda, and their children had lived in Genoa, Nance County, Nebraska. To situate Nance and Dawson in Nebraska, here’s a county map:
In 1900, August is a farmer who is renting his land. In 1910, in Dawson, he owns. Maybe that’s part of why he ended up in Dawson. Checking the land records with different possible spellings of the last name so far has not turned up anything for August.
More on Nance, from wiki — “Nearly all the land in Nance County was purchased by settlers or by investors for resale, instead of the homestead provisions common to most of Nebraska.” This is perhaps because the land was originally part of the Pawnee Reservation, created by treaty in 1857 in exchange for the Pawnees’ ceding of land to Nebraska. After being admitted as a state in 1867, Nebraska extinguished the Pawnee rights to the land and sold it, while relocating the Pawnee to Oklahoma. (More on the Pawnees here.)
Some of the background to this is discussed in The Charles River Editors’ Native American Tribes: The History and Culture of the Pawnee, and I am currently reading Peter Cozzens’ The Earth Is Weeping (the link goes to the NYTimes review), which provides more context, as well as argument. I’m sure this topic will come up again.