Frank Joshua North, 1840-1885 [RG2321.AM]


RG2321.AM: Frank Joshua North, 1840-1885

Papers: 1864-1958, mostly 1864-1893
Platte County, Neb.: Scout
Size: 1.0 cu.ft.


Frank J. North was born in Tompkins County, New York, in March 1840. In 1842, the family moved to Richland County, Ohio, where Frank’s brother, Luther, was born in 1846. Hard times drove them to look for new land, and in 1856, Frank brought the family to Omaha where his father and older brother, James, had a contact clearing timber. The father froze to death while surveying on Big Papillion Creek in 1857 and Frank and James moved the family to Florence. In 1858 Frank and James staked a claim near Columbus, which they lived on until 1860 when Frank first went to work at the Pawnee Agency as a clerk and interpreter at the trading post. In 1864 he accompanied the first Pawnee Scouts to the field under General Curtis. After an unsuccessful campaign against the Sioux, he was ordered to organize his own company of Pawnee Scouts and given the rank of captain. In 1865 after the Scouts were mustered out for the winter, he married Annie Louise Smith at Columbus. Nearly every year until 1876, the Scouts were organized in the early spring and mustered out in the late winter, each time under Frank North, who was promoted in 1867 to the rank of major. The Pawnee Scouts under Major North participated in many important campaigns and earned a great reputation as a fighting unit. In 1877 the Pawnee were mustered out for the last time. Frank then went into partnership with William F. Cody in a cattle ranch at the head of Dismal River in Western Nebraska. The business was sold out in 1882 and Frank traveled with Cody’s Wild West Show as manager of the Indians after one term in the Nebraska Legislature. In 1884 he was severely injured in a riding accident in Connecticut. He was brought home to Columbus where illness and injuries killed him.


This collection is arranged in ten series: 1) Correspondence, 1870-1958; 2) Papers and records, 1862-1877; 3) Diaries, 1869, 1876-1877, 1893; 4) Manuscripts, undated; 5) Clippings, 1891-1933; 6) Autograph books, 1883; 7) Notebook, undated; 8) Biographical materials; 9) Stella North; 10) Miscellaneous.

This material relates to: pioneer life in Nebraska; the organization of Frank North’s Scouts; General Curtis’ 1864 campaign against the Sioux; General Connor’s Powder River Campaign in 1865; guarding the Union Pacific railroad against the Sioux in 1867-1868; General Carr’s campaign in 1869 which saw the Battle of Summit Springs and killing of Chief Tall Bull; the final campaign of 1876 under General Crook in which the villages of Red Cloud and Swift Bear were captured and McKenzie defeated the Cheyenne; life among the Pawnee Indians; and cattle ranching in Western Nebraska.

Correspondents include: George Crook, Thomas P. Kennard, Alvin Saunders, and William T. Sherman.

NOTE: The original diaries in Series 3 are RESTRICTED for preservation. Researchers must use photocopies.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1870-1958

Box 1

  1. Correspondence, 1870-1958

Series 2 – Papers and records, 1869-1883

Box 1

  1. Orders; a resolution of appreciation from the Nebraska Legislature
  2. Photostatic copies of Pawnee Scouts muster rolls [transferred to RG18]
  3. Tax Receipts

Series 3 – Diaries, 1869, 1876-1877, 1893

Box 1

  1. Frank North diary, 1869 [patron copy]
  2. Frank North diary, 1876-1877 [patron copy]
  3. Mrs. Jones A. North (Frank’s mother) diary, 1899 [patron copy]

Series 4 – Manuscripts, n.d.

Box 1

  1. Frank North’s autobiography as told to and written by Alfred Sorenson, copy 1
  2. Frank North’s autobiography as told to and written by Alfred Sorenson, copy 2

Series 5 – Clippings

Box 1

  1. Life of Major Frank North, Platte County Times, May 30, 1896-Jan. 1897. (Filed under COLUMBUS TIMES); Miscellaneous clippings 1891-1893

Series 6 – Autograph book, 1883

Box 1

  1. Autograph book kept by Frank North while in the Nebraska Legislature

Series 7 – Notebook, n.d.

Box 1

  1. One copy in which Frank North recorded words of songs he heard while in the service

Series 8 – Biographical materials

Box 2

  1. Biographical materials by Alfred Sorenson
  2. Miscellaneous biographical materials

Series 9 – Stella North

Box 2

  1. Autographs book given to Stella North by her father, Frank, in 1883
  2. Wedding book

Series 10 – Miscellaneous

Box 2

  1. Miscellaneous

Subject headings:

Bruce, Robert, 1872-1954
Carr, Eugene Asa, 1830-1910
Conner, Patrick Edward, 1820-1891
Crook, George, 1828-1890
Curtis, Samuel R.
Dennard, Thomas Perkins, 1872-1920
Diaries — Military life
Grinnell, George Bird, 1849-1858
Indian Scouts
Indians of North America — Wars
North, Luther Hedden, 1846-1935
Pawnee Indians
Pawnee Scouts
Powder River Campaign
Ranch life
Red Cloud — Sioux Chief, 1822-1909
Saunders, Alvin 1817-1899
Sherman, William Tecumseh, 1820-1891
Sorenson, Alfred R.
Summitt Springs, Battle of
Swift Bear
Tall Bull
Union Pacific Railroad Company

12-26-2006 Revised TMM

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