The Fort McPherson National Cemetery

Photographer Solomon D. Butcher’s view of Memorial Day at Fort McPherson National Cemetery in 1911. NSHS RG2608-2926-b (right).

The approach of Memorial Day calls to mind Nebraska’s Fort McPherson National Cemetery, located  south of Maxwell in Lincoln County. If the men who lie underneath its peaceful sod could tell their stories, a living panorama of the winning of the West would unfold. Here are interred veterans of some of the bloodiest Indian wars in the nation’s history. Spotted Horse, the famed Pawnee scout, is also buried here.

From its founding in 1863 to its abandonment in 1880, Fort McPherson played an active role in the Indian wars, with many important campaigns and expeditions launched from the fort. The site of the post, at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon, was a strategic location in the Platte Valley.


Front entrance to Fort McPherson National Cemetery in 1909. NSHS RG2154-4-3 (left).

In addition to the regular troops,  Maj. Frank North’s Pawnee Scouts were stationed at Fort McPherson. Buffalo Bill also was a frequent visitor at the post, and Gen. Phil Sheridan headquartered there for a time.

On October 13, 1873, a tract of 107 acres was set aside as a national cemetery, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Subsequent reductions have limited the size of the cemetery to twenty acres. Burials in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery have included soldiers who served in the Indian wars throughout the West, as well as those who have served in the Civil War, Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War.

– Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

How pioneer trails shaped Omaha streets

How pioneer trails shaped Omaha streets

Marker Monday: Atlas D Missile Site A

Marker Monday: Atlas D Missile Site A

The Woman on the White Horse

The Woman on the White Horse

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

Education Digital Learning Resources

Find games, lists, and more to enhance your history education curriculum.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

History Nebraska Services

Digital Resources

Find all of our digital resources, files, videos, and more, all in one easy-to-search page!

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.