“Red Willow County” is named for Red Willow Creek. The term is a mistranslation of the Sioux word Chanshasha Wakpala, literally, Red Dogwood Creek. This shrub was abundant along the stream. Boundaries were defined by an act of the Legislature and approve February 27, 1873.” Perkey’s Place Names, revised 2003.

Population: 10, 702 (as of 2020)

County Seat: McCook

The town is “named in honor of Alexander McDowell McCook, Union general in the Civil War. City platted by the Lincoln Land Company. Won county seat election against Indianola April 15, 1896. (Perkey’s Place Names, revised 2003.) Photo is a Creative Commons image.

McCook Nebraska is named after General Alexander McDowell McCook

According to America Battlefield Trust:

Alexander McDowell McCook was the highest ranking officer of the “Fighting McCooks”, fourteen members of one family who all participated in the Civil War.  He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1852 after taking five years to finish a four year program.  He was posted to the 3rd Infantry and spent several years fighting Indians in New Mexico before returning to West Point to teach.

His career had its ups and downs.  According to the McCook Gazetteat least two other towns in the United States are named in McCook’s honor.

Two notable Nebraskans are from the McCook area.

George Norris is a notable Nebraskan who worked with rural electricity

George Norris is part of the Nebraska Hall of Fame for his work as a senator.  He lived in McCook, and his home is a Nebraska state historic site. To learn more about all that George Norris contributed to Nebraska and to the nation, check out the Nebraska Studies website.

Ben Nelson was a Nebraska governor and senator from McCook

Ben Nelson was the 37th governor of Nebraska. He also served as a senator. Ben also grew up in McCook. More about his house and life can be found here.

Other Red Willow sites

Indianola was the original Red Willow County seat.

Indianola is in Red Willow County Nebraska and has a historic marker


Author: neodyssey

My name is Gretchen Garrison. I started this blog about Nebraska in 2013. So far, I have written three books about Nebraska and Lincoln.