Select Page


RG2322.AM:  Luther Hedden North, 1846-1935

Papers:  1874-1937

Platte County, Nebraska:  Scout

Size:  0.75 cu.ft., and 1 reel of microfilm


Luther H. North was born in Richland County, Ohio, in 1846. In 1856 the family moved to Omaha to join their father and oldest brother who had settled near Omaha and were clearing timber on contract. In 1857 his father froze to death while surveying on the Big Papillion Creek, and the Norths moved to Columbus in 1858. There, Luther carried mail from Columbus to Monroe until the Spring of 1860. His brother Frank went to the Pawnee Agency as an interpreter and clerk, and Luther spent 1861 hauling logs to the agency sawmill. In 1862 Luther enlisted in the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry, newly organized under Robert Furnas to fight the increasingly hostile Sioux, and in Spring of 1863, they made their first campaign which was marked by the battle of White Stone Hills. The 2nd Nebraska was mustered out in December, and Luther farmed the Columbus homestead until 1866 when he joined his brother’s Pawnee Scouts. When the Scouts were re-organized in 1867 he was commissioned a Captain, and they patrolled the Union Pacific railroad through 1868. Luther was out of Scouts from time to time, clerking at the agency and guiding trail herds. In 1871 he became one of the first three County Commissioners of Howard County, Nebraska. Luther was with the Scouts when they were mustered out for the last time in 1876 after General Crook’s campaign. He then went into partnership with his brother Frank, and William F. Cody at Dismal River Ranch. After sale of the ranch in 1882 he served as Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue, staying in the Black Hills until 1890. He then lived in Omaha until 1898 when he married Mrs. Elvira Sprague Coolidge, and they stayed there until 1917. They returned to Columbus, living in semi-retirement until his death in April 1935.


This collection consists of boxed manuscript material and one reel of microfilm arranged in four series: 1) Correspondence, 1874-1937; 2) Addresses by Luther H. North; 3) Manuscripts by Luther H. North; and 4) Miscellany. This collection related to pioneer life in Nebraska; the Battle of White Stone Hills in 1863; and other accounts of the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry; problems facing the U.P. Railroad crossing Nebraska; the Sioux Peace Commission and the Treaty of 1867; life with the Pawnee Indians; organization of the Pawnee Scouts under Frank North; the Battle of Summit Springs and the death of Tall Bull, 1869; capture of Red Cloud and Swift Bear, 1876; ranching in Western Nebraska, and the Norths’ relationship with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

Note: Items in Box 1 have been DEACIDIFIED. Researchers should wash their hands before and after using them. Items in Box 2 do not have this restriction. Some items, especially in Series 1, are available only as copies.


Series 1 – Correspondence of Luther North, 1874-1937

Box 1


  1. Correspondence with John Calvin North, 1874-1875

  2. Correspondence with George Bird Grinnell, 1877-1898

  3. Correspondence with George Bird Grinnell, 1903-1915

  4. Correspondence with George Bird Grinnell, 1916-1919

  5. Correspondence with George Bird Grinnell, 1921-1928

  6. Correspondence with George Bird Grinnell, 1929

  7. Correspondence with George Bird Grinnell, 1930-1934

  8. Correspondence with A. E. Sheldon, 1920-1935

    a. Letters to A. E. Sheldon after North’s death, 1935-1937

  9. Correspondence with Clarence Reckmeyer, 1927-1931

  10. Correspondence with William H. Fowler, 1922-1929

  11. Correspondence (copies) from South Dakota Historical Society. (includes letters from North to “Uncle Frank,” 1923-1924 and Frank Husten, 1923)

  12. Correspondence with Harry Coons, 1898

  13. Correspondence with Dr. R. W. Reynolds, 1927-1932

  14. Correspondence with Olga Steele, 1913

  15. Correspondence with Albert Watkins, 1909

  16. Correspondence with John Hunton, 1927

  17. Correspondence with Art Carmody, 1934

  18. Correspondence with Robert Bruce, 1929

Box 2


  1. Correspondence with Robert Bruce, 1928-1935

  2. Correspondence with Richard “Diamond Dick” Tanner, 1928-1934

  3. Correspondence with Ralph S. Ellison, 1929-1932

  4. Correspondence with Ralph S. Ellison, 1933-1935

  5. Correspondence with Albert W. Johnson, 1930-1935

  6. Correspondence with Emil Kopac, 1931; 1934

  7. Correspondence with A.E. Sheldon, 1928-1935

  8. Correspondence with Clarence Reckmeyer, 1928; 1931-1932

  9. Correspondence with George W. Webb, 1933-1934

  10. Correspondence with E.A. Brininstool, 1933-1934; 1936

  11. Correspondence with Joseph M. Sanger, 1931-1933 and undated

  12. Correspondence with George E. Hyde, 1933-1934

  13. Correspondence with A.B. Ostrander, 1928; 1930-1933

  14. Correspondence with Col. O.D. Randolph, 1932; 1935

  15. Correspondence with Marx Reimers, 1931-1932

  16. Correspondence with Maj. Montana Mack, 1934

  17. Correspondence with E.E. Allen, 1927; George ?, 1930; Lincoln Kiwanis Club, 1930; Clara S. Paine, 1932; Martha M. Turner, 1933; Boy Scouts of America, Bridgeport, CT, Council, 1933; Thomas Teakle, 1933; L.R. Hafen, 1933; Grace Raymond Hebard, 1934; Bayard H. Paine, 1934; E.P. Wilson, 1935

  18. Correspondence with family, 1928-1933

Series 2 – Addresses by Luther North, 1922, 1933

Box 1


  1. The Pawnee Battalion, 1922; The Pawnee Scouts, 1933 (also includes addresses by A. E. Sheldon, Chief James Red Cloud, Fire Thunder, and others)

Series 3 – Manuscripts by Luther North, 1896 and 1931, n.d.

Reel 1

Recollections of Capt. L. H. North (typed copy with handwritten changes), 208 pages

Box 1


  1. Life of Major Frank North, The Famous Pawnee Scout (typescript published in the Platte County Times), 1896

  2. Capture of Red Cloud on Chadron Creek; Crook’s Winter Campaign, 1876-77

  3. The Fighting Norths and Pawnee Scouts (published in Motor Travel, 1931)

  4. Indian Camps of the Plains (original typescript at South Dakota Historical Society)

Series 4 – Miscellany

Box 1


  1. Photostatic copy of letter from Jane (Mrs. Thomas J.) North to her cousin describing North family life in Nebraska, 1885; historical sketch of the North family

  2. Miscellaneous correspondence – includes research letters of Robert Bruce, author of The Fighting Norths and Pawnee Scouts, 1928-1935

  3. Clippings (photocopies)

  4. Clippings (photocopies)

  5. Orders for mustering out of Pawnee Scouts, 1877; map showing location of North and Cody ranch; programs for honors and memorials to Luther North, 1930-1937; story by Florence Brugger based on material given by Luther North


Subject headings:

Arikara Indians


Bruce, Robert, 1873-1954

Carmody, Arthur, 1899-1987

Cody, William Frederick, 1846-1917

Coons, Harry

Crook, George, 1828-1890

Custer, George Armstrong, 1839-1876

Fort Kearny (Neb.) — History

Fowler, William H.

Grinnell, George Bird, 1859-1938

Hunton, John, 1839-?

Husten, Frank

Indians of North America — Wars

Indians of North America as soldiers

Mackenzie, Ronald Slidell, 1840-1889

North, Frank Joshua, 1840-1885

North Family

Pawnee Indians

Pawnee Scouts

Petalesharo, Pawnee Chief

Plum Creek Massacre

Pony Express

Ranch life — Nebraska

Reckmeyer, Clarence

Red Cloud, Sioux Chief, 1822-1909

Reynolds, Robert W., 1882-1972

Scouts and scouting

Sheldon, Addison Erwin, 1861-1943

Siouan Indians

Steele, Olga

Summit Springs, Battle of

Swift Bear

Tall Bull

Thayer, John Milton, 1820-1906

Watkins, Albert, 1848-1923

White Stone Hills, Battle of

Yellow Hand, Cheyenne Indian


12-26-2006   Revised TMM