If you’re a member of Miletta Vista’s Book Club, (aka wine Club, because we all know “Going to Book Club” is code for getting together to drink wine) you’ve probably wondered how we could go a year without even mentioning a book, (if you’re not a book club member we can help make you one).  Well, this edition of my blog will actually touch on a great account of a Nebraska settler, pioneer and leader of men.  I purchased this book, off the internet this week and it came all the way from Columbus, NE. The first few chapters are captivating. 

A book written by Ruby E. Wilson about the life and times of, “Frank J. North, Pawnee Scout- Commander and Pioneer”.  Ruby craftily relates personal accounts, as well as historical accounts of others close to the Norths with mesmerizing skill.  An account sure to built your appreciation of who Frank and his brother Luther North truly were.

My first introduction to Frank and Luther North came during my term as president of the Howard County Historical Society.  Both Frank and Luther North were instrumental in the founding of this place Loretta and I have chosen to settle, Saint Paul in Howard County, Nebraska.

Loretta and I have read several books about the North brothers, including, Man of the Plains, Wolves in Blue, Two Great Scouts and the Pawnee Battalion by George Bird Grinnell.   Amongst the Pawnee, Frank North, came to be known as, “White Chief of the Pawnee”.  Someone trusted, fair and reliable, who the Pawnee sought advice from to solve disputes and issues of concern.

In the first six chapters of this book, author Ruby E. Wilson is so descriptive, the book seems to provide the perfect frame work for a great modern western movie.  A true tale which reminds me of the Lieutenant Charles B. Woodgate story told in the 1993 movie, Geronimo: An American Legend.

The truth is, that without the brothers North and their Pawnee Battalion, building the railroad across the Plains and beyond could have easily taken another 10 years to build. The accounts told herein are both chilling and heroine and a worthy read by anyone loving accounts of the west.

The North’s befriending of the Pawnee began October 1857 when two families hustled up tepees on the family’s 80-acre wooded parcel, near Florence (outside Omaha) as a blizzard trailed them.   Concerned that anyone would have to be moving in such weather, Franks mother Jane North wrapped two slabs of hot corn bread in dishcloths, and divided a pot of venison and bean stew for Frank to take to them.

It turned out these tipi/lodges were those of Chief Buffalo Bull (Image right) and a descendant by the same name of the famed Peta-La-Shar. The Peta-La-Sha, Oct 1857 was the dignified head chief of the Grand, or Chaui Pawnee band.  The North family’s act of benevolence charted a course of friendship with the Pawnee that would prove lasting and true throughout both Peta-La-Shar, Buffalo Bull and Frank’s lives.

Accounts of life on the plains have always fascinated me and this writing is no exception and thus far, the best account of their endeavors I’ve read.   No doubt I’ll have to taste test some of our cheese upgrades on our new charcuterie as well as a glass or two of some BBPP (bourbon bar petite pearl) or a glass of Workhorse, or even a dry white glass of Itasca which has developed some minimalistic character amidst those subtle melon tones.  In either case, I’ll have to enjoy just a few more chapters of book club before retiring the day.