Frank North

Frank North

Frank North was born at Ludlowville on 10th March, 1840. His family moved to Nebraska in 1856. He became involved in transporting goods between Omaha and Fort Kearny. During this work he made contact with local Pawnee. North learnt their language and in 1860 he was employed on the Pawnee reservation near Fullerton, Nebraska. Later he worked as an interpreter at the reservation.

In 1864 North became involved in guiding troops to Fort Kearny. He impressed Major General Samuel R. Curtis with his knowledge of the Pawnees. Curtis suggested that North should organize a company of Pawnee scouts to help the army during the Indian Wars. North agreed to this proposal and was given the rank of lieutenant and placed under the command of Captain Joseph McFadden.

The following year North was promoted to captain and was commissioned to raise a company of 100 Pawnees with headquarters at Fort Kearny. In 1865 North's Pawnee Scouts accompanied Brigadier General Patrick Connor on the North Plains expedition from Julesburg to the Tongue River. On 23rd August the Pawnees fought against a Sioux and Cheyenne war party and killed 34 warriors. Later that month the scouts directed Connor and his men to an Arapaho village and was able to capture 750 horses and mules.

In March 1867 General Christopher Auger commissioned North to enlist 200 Pawnee scouts. Major North was given the task of using these men to protect workers building the Union Pacific Railroad. They did this successfully and were able to defeat a Cheyenne war party that had derailed a train at Plum Creek.

North and his Pawnees played an important role in the victory over Tall Bull and his warriors at Summit Springs, Colorado, on 11th July, 1869. Over the next couple of years North and his men were based at Fort Russell, Wyoming with the 3rd Cavalry.

North served under General George Crook in the wars against the Sioux. Based at Fort Laramie the Pawnee Scouts combined with the men led by Ranad Mackenzie to defeat the Cheyenne at Powder River on 25th November, 1876.

The Pawnee Scouts were disbanded in May, 1877. North also left the army and joined up with his brother Luther North and Buffalo Bill Cody to purchase a ranch on the Dismal River in Nebraska.

In 1883 North joined Cody's Wild West Show. The following year he was badly hurt when he was thrown from his horse and trampled on at Hartford, Connecticut.

Frank North retired to Columbus, Nebraska, on 14th March, 1885.