Originally known as Fort Cottonwood. First Located in Cottonwood Canyon.
Later Moved Closer to the Town of Maxwell, Nebraska
Now a National Cemetery
Stage Station at Cottonwood Springs
In October of 1863, Lieutenant Eugene
Ware directed men to cut logs of cedar in Cottonwood Canyon, for the purpose of
making an outpost. Major George M. O'Brien selected the location a month before and had dubbed the outpost
"Cantonment McKean", after the Commander of the military district but changed the name to Fort Cottonwood
when the construction actually started. A post was direly needed to break the 350 mile stretch between
Fort Kearney and Fort Laramie.
One of the reasons for the post was to keep an eye on the Indians and nearby was a high hill
that overlooked the seasonal migratory route used by both the Pawnee and Sioux.
Fern Story rode the horse up in 1931 dragging the statue of the Indian to stand looking out over the valley below.
It is the highest point in the county and you can see for miles.
She was the only one small enough to not put addition weight on the horse yet could skillfully
manage the horse at the top with limited space to maneuver such a huge heavy item.
The main activities of the Fort during
its 17 years of activity, were escorting stagecoaches and immigrant wagon trains;
pursuing and punishing Indians for depredations; protecting the mail, and the telegraph.
The name of Fort Cottonwood was changed to Fort
McPherson on February 26, 1866, to honor General James B. McPherson,
who had fallen while fighting with General W.T. Sherman against the Confederate forces in the battle for Atlanta.
The Civil War ended in August, 1865. Nebraska became a State on March 1, 1867
Colonel George A. Custer led the 7th Cavalry from Fort McPherson
on June 15th, 1867, for operations against Indians in Kansas.
Phil Sheridan, Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody escorted Grand Duke Alexis of Russia
on a Buffalo hunting expedition from Fort McPherson in January of 1872.
Comanche the Only Survivor of Custer's Last Stand
25th, 1876, the telegraph at Fort McPherson told the news of Sitting Bull's victory
at the Little Big Horn and the end of Custer and his famous 7th Cavalry.
McPherson, after seventeen years of intense activity, with strong economic
and developmental influences for hundreds of miles, was abandoned by the Army in 1880.
The Indian Wars continued until 1891.
My Grandmother could remember the last Indian raid in Lincoln
County in 1905.
The people were ordered to go to the Union Pacific Railroad Roundhouse for protection.
The Indians were turned away before they reached the roundhouse. My grandmother
was a very little girl but recalled the fear and excitement vividly. They called it the Last Indian Raid.
Loggy at Maxwell c. 1897
The Fort McPherson buildings were
sold at auction in the spring of 1881.
The square logs were numbered and the building was totally disassembled.
It was reassembled where it still stands today. Our 'Loggy' was moved into Maxwell.
My Great Great Grandfather purchased it in 1897 to be used as a general store.
The only other log building from the fort that I know of is
at the Lincoln County Historical Museum in North Platte. It was originally bought
from the fort by John Feeny, who lived on the island just north of the fort.
The men waited until winter to move the building. This building
was not disassembled but was dragged across the frozen Platte River
to their homestead. It remained there for many years but finally was donated to the museum.
The only other log building still standing from the fort that
I know of is now located at the
Lincoln County Historical Museum in North Platte. The buyer of this log building waited
until winter to move the building. This building was not disassembled but was dragged across
the frozen Platte River to what is now the Feeney Farm. The Feeney Farm was once part of Fort McPherson.
On July 5, 1905, James T. Feeney purchased the farm, they lived on the island just north of the fort.
It remained there for many years but finally was donated to the museum.
There was one other log cabin that I know of from the fort in Maxwell, but it burned to the ground quite a while back.
Our Loggy at Maxwell c. 1940
Fort McPherson Enlisted Men and Dogs.
Pictured at Fort McPherson Albert Ginapp
Ginapp is a local family name from Brady.
Officers Quarters at Fort McPherson
Buffalo Bill was another piece of local
color, he was a great horseman. My Great Great Grandfather Lewis
bought horses from him and said, "If Bill sold you a horse you could be sure that it was a good horse".
His favorite horse that he ever owned was one he bought from Bill Cody.
He was a highly trained Tennessee Walker named Cody.
Cody was badly injured in an accident and was render unusable
but my Great Great Grandfather kept him anyway.
My Great Great Grandmother on the other hand was not too fond of Bill,
as she said he did not treat his wife right and was always quite a ladies' man.
Fort McPherson National Cemetery
#76 ~ Unknown Indian Scout
There are 584 unknowns.
Typically the headstones or boards were shipped with the caskets
from the cemeteries of the Army Posts that were relocated to Fort McPherson National Cemetery.
In many cases the boards which typically contained names and dates, were blank by the end of the 19th century.
Spotted Horse, a noted Pawnee Indian Scout,
was killed by a Sioux.
He is buried in grave # 258 near the center of section C.
Memorial Day at Fort McPherson
of the Listed Army Posts were relocated
|Fort Halleck, Wyoming||December 1878|
|Fort Hartsuff, Nebraska||November, 1881|
|Fort Sanders, Wyoming||May 4, 1883|
|Fort Fetterman, Wyoming||May 4, 1883|
|Fort Hall, Idaho||May 19, 1883|
|Camp White River, Colorado||January 8, 1887|
|Independence Rock, Wyoming||January 11, 1888|
|Fort Kearney, Nebraska||1890|
|Fort Sedgwick, Colorado||1891|
|Fort Bridger, Wyoming||May 29, 1891|
|Fort Laramie, Wyoming||June 13, 1891|
|Fort Hale, South Dakota||July 30, 1891|
|Fort Crawford, Colorado||December 4, 1891|
|Fort Lewis, Colorado||December 10, 1891|
|Fort McPherson, Nebraska||1892|
|Fort Steele, Wyoming||April 8, 1892|
|LaBonte P.O., Wyoming||May 26, 1896|
|Fort Atkinson, Nebraska||March 1905|
|Old South Pass, Wyoming||March 16, 1907|
|Baggs, Wyoming||June, 1909|
|Fort Mitchell, Nebraska||July, 1915|
|Fort Sidney, Nebraska||August 10, 1922|
|Fort Robinson, Nebraska||July 22, 1947|
Cemeteries of the Listed Army Posts were relocated
Time Photographs & History
My Family History and the History of the town of Maxwell, Nebraska
My Family History From Maxwell, Nebraska.
The early years from the 1800's
More of the Town ~ Early Years
More Recent Years
The School and Early Class Photos
The Lewis Ranch History From Doylville, Colorado
The early years from the 1800's.
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