When Fort Cottonwood was renamed Fort McPherson in 1866, its soldiers were already accustomed to fetching cold, great-tasting water from the well of John “Mac” McCullough. Soon, other travelers heard about the well and would stop. As a community formed, it was decided to name it after Mac’s well. Maxwell was born.

Fort McPherson National Cemetery glows with peace south of Maxwell and the Platte River. Soldiers from conflicts dating back to the Indian Wars have been laid to rest here with honor. Four Medal of Honor recipients are interred here. Fort McPherson National Cemetery was founded in 1873, and it is Nebraska’s only national cemetery.

The original Pony Express route and Oregon Trail passed through what is now the cemetery. One mile southeast of the cemetery a monument marks the site of the flagstaff of the military post.