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Grant’s doubtful claim to fame PDF Print E-mail

By Shari Friedel

Tribune Staff

According to the free online encyclopedia, “Wikipedia,”  Grant, Nebraska has quite a colorful history.

The popular website details facts about the town, including the population, location, time zone, coordinates and zip code, all of which seem to be fairly factual.

The credibility seems to end there, though, as the site goes on to claim that Grant is the site of the “False Pawnee War, an 1888 episode in which settlers from Perkins County dressed as Pawnees attacked a garrison in order to incite the soldiers to attack the real Pawnee. The 21 settlers, however, were massacred by fire from the newly invented Gatling gun.”

Local historian Robert Richter refutes the claim, saying, for one thing, “the date is way wrong.” 

At that point in Perkins County’s history, all ground was already homesteaded with very little free land available. The railroad was firmly established, leaving the area not at all conducive to permanent Indian settlements. 

Pawnee were located in the eastern part of the state, and not seen in this region except for occasional buffalo hunts.

Additionally, there were no soldiers or garrisons in the area at this time, said Richter.

If something as notable as the “False Pawnee War” had occurred, said Richter, there would surely be oral and written accounts somewhere, as well as entries in history books, but he has never come across anything referring to the supposed incident in his extensive research on Perkins County.


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