In 1872, settlement pioneered by Charles H. Jones in what is now Garfield County, followed the North Loup River northwestward to its junction with the Calamus River. In 1875, the post office serving the area near the confluence of the rivers was named The Forks. In 1884, it was renamed Burwell. This valley was a natural route for the Sioux when raiding the Pawnee Reservation southeast of here. In blocking the path of the Indian raiders, settlers invited the wrath of the Sioux. Conflict between the whites and the Indian was inevitable, and the battles of Pebble Creek (l874) and The Blowout (1876) were the result. Settlers found an abundance of wild life for food and giant cedars for building purposes. Many of these trees were used in the construction of nearby Fort Hartsuff in 1874. The government reserved five sections on land in this valley for hay and wood for the fort. Garfield County was organized in 1884 with the county seat at nearby Willow Springs. When the county seat was moved to Burwell in 1890, Willow Springs was abandoned.
Garfield County Centennial Committee
Nebraska State Historical Society
Courthouse lawn, Burwell