Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

     Annual Mess & Muster The annual Old Guard Mess & Muster on April 28, 2012, was a grand day with many fine programs and wonderful camps provided by volunteers. Images from the events follow, thanks to photographer Ellen Jones.

William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award
Davaid Clapsaddle - Leo E. Oliva
Davaid Clapsaddle, left, receiving William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award for outstanding service to Fort Larned NHS, presented by Leo E. Oliva.

Fort Larned Old Guard Board Meeting Musical Program
Janet Armstead - Chris Day
     Fort Larned Old Guard Board members Janet Armstead and Chris Day presenting an outstanding musical program at the annual Mess and Muster on April 28.

North Officers Quarters
North Officers' Quarters
North Officers' Quarters Rededication, May 26
     Everyone is invited to Fort Larned NHS on May 26 to enjoy a day of living-history events and participate in the public reopening and rededication of the north officers' quarters. These quarters were constructed in 1867 and served the military until the post closed in 1878. They sat vacant until private ownership of the fort began in 1884. The former officers' quarters served as a residence for the ranching operation until Fort Larned National Historic Site, the first National Park in Kansas, was established by legislation introduced by Congressman Robert Dole and signed by President Lyndon Johnson on August 31, 1964. Fort Larned has been preserved as part of our rich heritage, a place where visitors can enjoy and learn about the frontier army.

     Over the years the barracks, shops, storehouses, and other buildings were restored by the National Park Service and opened for public visitation. Now, after years of being closed to the public, the north officers' quarters have been restored and furnished.

The schedule for May 26, 2012
     9:00am-4:00pm Living History at Fort Larned
         Blacksmith
         Buffalo Soldiers
         Officers and Their Families
         Horses and Wagons
         Laundressess' Camp
         School Teachers and Craftsmen
     1:00 pm Presentation of Colors, Third Infantry
     1:10 Invocation
     1:20 Welcome, Special Guests
     1:45 The Lifespan of the Structure,1867-1912
         Military History of the Officers' Quarters
         Civilian History of Farmhand Family Residence
         National Park Restoration of the Quarters
     2:15 Ribbon Cutting and Official Reopening with Cannon Salute

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
The Deed is Done!

by Rex Abrahams
     On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, April 28, 2012, the Old Guard accepted the deed to the Little Red House in Larned, donated by David and Alice Clapsaddle of Larned. This transfer has been a year in the making. Amongst family and friends, ownership of the structures, the property, and all of the furnishings were given to the Old Guard. What a generous donation from the Clapsaddle family. Thank You David and Alice!

     It is the intention of the Old Guard to hold ownership and carry insurance on the house while Fort Larned NHS Supt. Kevin McMurry and the NPS preside over the use and maintenance. The house serves as a visible link between the fort and the City of Larned. Originally built as the sutler's mess hall at the fort in 1863, it was ultimately moved to Larned where it served in numerous capacities; residence, post office, hotel, restaurant, saloon, dance hall, brothel, church, school, and courtroom. Quite the existence! The original structure has since been torn down and the current recreation was started in 1998 in a building with similar dimensions that was relocated from the US Army Air Force Base at Great Bend to Larned after World War II. The Clapsaddles purchased the property, remodeled the building, and furnished it to interpret the historic "Little Red House." While not the original, the ambience can be felt as one moves from room to room. The Clapsaddles did an outstanding job recreating the look and feel of the original structure. Well done.

     Dr. Clapsaddle presented the story of the Little Red House at the site as part of the annual Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster on April 28. The rest of the day was filled with first-class programs and authentic camps. Steve Schmidt, president of the Cottonwood Crossing chapter of the Santa Fe Trail, gave a presentation on surveying the Santa Fe Trail. With sextant and chain the entire road to New Mexico was measured. What a feat for the days of walking and mules. As Steve said, "What they wouldn't have given for a GPS!"

     At the fort, volunteers set up Indian tipis, buffalo hunters' camp, a sutler's traveling store, and a pioneer photographer's camp. Wow! Talk about authenticity. That is what I appreciate about out volunteers. They do it right! Ken, Tate, Danny, Minnie, Kirk, Ethan, Mark, Glenn, Ross excellent job. There was not a site in the country that could have topped the displays you guys had set up. . . . .and to think that it was free to the public. Where else but at Fort Larned, Kansas!

     The evening's festivities started off with a BBQ meal served by the Barton County Community College food service. I would have gone to school there just for the food! The smoked turkey and brisket left you wanting more, more, more. Then, to everyone's awe and amazement, Chris Day and Janet Armstead put on a musical program that left everyone saying "Was that Chris and Janet from the Old Guard Board???" They were outstanding! The ladies played at least a dozen different instruments and their harmony was right-on perfect. This was their first gig together and will surely not be their last. When they retire from teaching they plan to take this show on the road. I think it will be enthusiastically received. Great job ladies!

     Kevin McMurry followed with a special citation presentation to David and Alice Clapsaddle for their donation of the Little Red House. After a brief business meeting, Chris Day and Ruth Olson Peters were each presented Old Guard Honorary Colonel Certificates. The newly-established William Chalfant Memorial award, presented annually by the Old Guard to honor the memory of longtime Fort Larned Old Guard board member Chalfant and to recognize a person who has performed outstanding work for Fort Larned and/or Fort Larned Old Guard, was presented to David Clapsaddle. Who else! David is a perfect recipient who had done many things for the fort. His traveling trunks program over the past few years has taken the story of the fort to the students when they can no longer make trips to the fort. Congratulations and Thank You David for your many contributions!

     Our guest speaker for the evening was Louis Kraft from North Hollywood, California. Kraft's book, Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek, recently published by the University of Oklahoma Press, was available for sale and autographing. He gave a heartfelt presentation on Indian Agent Wynkoop (who lived in the sutler's house at Fort Larned while serving as Indian agent) and why Wynkoop resigned his position after years of trying to help his Indian friends. Kraft's thorough knowledge of the subject made for a very interesting, informative, and entertaining lecture.

     Now, I have gone on much too long, but as you can see, there is a lot to be excited about. Thank you to each and every one who has made the Old Guard what it is. For those not yet joined, please take a few minutes and send in your membership application now. You will not be sorry. I guarantee it. We have more Big news on the horizon.

     See you at the rededication of the north officers' quarters at Fort Larned on Saturday, May 26, 2012!

Superintendent's Column
"On Our Watch" by Kevin McMurry
Dear Friends,
     As you will read elsewhere in this issue the annual Mess and Muster was another big success, I hope you were able to attend. Chris Day and Janet Armstead provided a wonderful historical music program and it was great to have author/actor Louis Kraft back at Fort Larned. Thank You to all our Great Volunteers and employees who helped, and Congratulations to everyone involved and particularly to Dr. David Clapsaddle who was recognized with the first annual William Chalfant Award recognizing one "who has performed outstanding work for Fort Larned and/or Fort Larned Old Guard." David and wife Alice are long-time friends of the fort and the Old Guard, and this honor is certainly well deserved!

     In other news from the fort, the Indian Exhibit is currently at the Pratt Museum and the Buffalo Soldier Exhibit is in the lobby of the First State Bank in Larned. Also, with valuable assistance from the Fort Larned Old Guard and our bookstore partner, Western National Parks Association, the fort has produced a new brochure which details all the educational opportunities provided by the Fort and its education partners. The brochure has been mailed to hundreds of area educators and is available anytime on request.

     The Fort has recently received a very generous family donation from David and Alice Clapsaddle of two Frederick Remington bronze statues, "The Buffalo Horse" and "The Horse Thief," and we have also acquired a third, related bronze statue named "The Cheyenne" to complete the exhibit. Enhanced lighting and special pedestal bases have been constructed for permanent display in the Fort's museum.

     The North Officers' Quarters will be officially reopened to the public on May 26, 2012. Although Chief Ranger George Elmore will continually improve the furnishings with "better" finds, we can say the structure is now truly finished with great leadership from George and Facility Manager William "Chappy" Chapman. The restored shell of the structure is the result of Kansas contractors and the spectacular beauty and fully-furnished interior is the result of great work by the fort's employees and many volunteer friends, including Sam Young and Gay and Lloyd Choitz! After being closed to the public for more than 30 years it's great to provide this to visitors. The formal reopening celebration begins at 1:00 p. m. with numerous political representatives invited. A brief history of the structure as a military officers' quarters, civilian farmhand family residence, and a National Park restoration project will be presented, and the fort will be alive with living-history volunteers throughout the day.

     Finally, for now the project to reconstruct the historic wagon bridge in its original location is proceeding with completion of the Environmental Assessment and 100% design and construction documents finished by the Federal Highway Administration. It is expected that work will begin October 1, 2012.

     "On Our Watch," and with the generous assistance from employees, partners, and great volunteer friends, we continue to provide Fort Larned and Santa Fe Trail history for all to learn and enjoy. I personally invite you to be active in supporting the work of the Fort Larned Old Guard and hope to see you at Fort Larned soon, and often during the upcoming Kansas Summer!

Vicki Gillett
Vicki Gillett
Fort Larned Old Guard Roll Call:
     Vicki Gillett of Larned was elected to the Fort Larned Old Guard board in April. The Old Guard welcomes her to the board and presents her to our readers. She writes:

     I grew up in Edwards County--west of Kinsley--very close to the Dry Route of the Santa Fe Trail--which I did not know until I became involved in learning the history of the Santa Fe Trail 15 years ago or so. I went to school in Kinsley, college in Wichita, and got married and moved to Larned in 1968 where I raised three sons, mostly as a single parent. I worked for the City of Larned for 16 years, 13 of those as City Clerk. I bought the Country Inn Motel in 1995 and have been operating it since.

     I have been involved in the community since working for the city, serving on various boards and committees. I am a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Modern Homemakers F. C. E., the Larned Planning Commission, American Legion Auxiliary, Larned Chamber Ambassadors, and serve on several Chamber committees. I got more involved in tourism after becoming a motel owner and have been chair of the Tourism Committee for the past 10 years. I belong to the Fort Larned Historical Society where I served on the board for nine years and am a member of South Central Kansas Tourism, Kansas Explorers Club, and the Santa Fe Trail. I have enjoyed learning about the history of our area and working with many people to promote tourism in Kansas and especially in our local area.

     I am hoping to retire sometime soon as the motel is for sale so I can travel and visit family and friends. I plan to remain in the Larned Community and continue to volunteer and be of service in the community. I am looking forward to getting to know members of the Fort Larned Old Guard, learning even more of the history surrounding the Fort and Santa Fe Trail, and helping in any way to promote tourism in Pawnee County.

Volunteer Roll Call: Gay & Lloyd Choitz
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     Fort Larned has many dedicated volunteers who come together and bring life to the fort. It seems appropriate and very timely that we feature Gay and Lloyd Choitz from Geneseo, Kansas, in this issue. With the rededication of the North Junior Officer's Quarters much attention will be on the detail of the various living quarters. Gay and Lloyd have stepped into the roles of Captain and Mrs. Nicholas Nolan under the direction of Chief Ranger Elmore, on the north end of the building. The sparse decorating shows style and the feminine touch along with the mark of military life, They have no doubt left their indelible style with their presence, sharing the stories of the fort through the lives of the army post. A few creative touches here and there would leave us to believe the three rooms are lived in by Nicholas and his devoted wife, Annie.

     Gay is originally form Salina and Lloyd hails from Ellsworth. They are true blue Kansans but history enthusiasts at heart. Gay is a trained nurse retiring after the couple's two daughters secured their college education. Lloyd, who grew up on a farm and continued farming for a time, has been and continues to be an environmentalist for Northern Natural Gas Pipeline.

     One of the hobbies Gay and Lloyd share, other than living history, is raising horses. Lloyd grew up on a homestead that began with his great-grandfather who arrived here from Germany. Horses were a part of the everyday work of each Choitz generation. Gay has been around horses all her life, too. The natural instinct they possessed, when it came to horses, was passed on to their daughters who learned to ride well enough to perform tricks. The family moved to the Geneseo area in 1990 and found a property that perfectly supports the raising of horses.

Guy and Lloyd Choitz
Gay & Lloyd Choitz interpreting Christmas traditions on Officer's Row

     In 2000, Gay and Lloyd signed up to volunteer at Fort Larned. Both are comfortable and confident speaking to the public about history. To step into the Nicholas and Annie Nolan's shoes is not an easy undertaking and they are serious about what they depict. They continue to read about the Nicholas Nolan family, the history of that time period, and especially about the Buffalo Soldiers, the 10th Cavalry who were under Captain Nolan's command.

     Gay commented on the men of the 10th Cavalry, "Nolan wasn't just their commanding officer; he was a guide to them. They learned from him." She explains that Nolan guided the newly-free slaves into a life of promise with a brighter future despite the prejudices of the day. Gay also enjoys telling the students about Nolan and the 10th Cavalry. She wants each child to know the value of preserving history by conveying to them the importance of their role. She said, "Show them respect, and you will receive respect." She tells it like it is!

Rick Roberts
Rick Roberts
Fort Larned Roll Call: Rick Roberts
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     If you happen to stop by the Visitor Center on a Sunday or Monday, you may see the gift shop manager, Rick Roberts. Rick is the employee of Western National Parks Association, a nonprofit cooperative association of the National Park Association. Rick faithfully carries out this mission quite well in his part-time capacity. When asked what he enjoys the most about his Western National Parks Association job, he is quick to answer, "Coming to a national park to work with a great supportive staff."

     Rick is a native of Larned but left for a number of years after graduating from high school. He experienced the big city life in both Wichita and Phoenix, AZ. He returned to the Larned area in 1995. Through the years Rick has gained much work experience in retail sales. He currently works full time in sales at Doerr's Ace Hardware, Larned.

     While working a full-time and part-time job Rick earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Fort Hays State University in December 2011. He enjoys teaching kids and undoubtedly his organizational skills will come in handy in a classroom! In the meantime he enjoys the occasional opportunities to talk with visitors at the fort.

     Rick has three grown children and a three-year old son, Ricky, whom he parents with fiance Tatyana. Tatyana has another son who is important in this close family. Next time you are visiting the Fort Larned Gift Shop say hello to Rick Roberts!

Quartermaster Report; Sod & Adobe Buildings
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
     (This is twelfth in a series on the structures at Fort Larned. None of the buildings included in this report exist today, but they were the first permanent structures at Fort Larned.)

     Although Camp on Pawnee Fork (which would become Fort Larned) was established in October of 1859, permanent structures at Fort Larned were not constructed until the spring of 1860. Until then, there had been mostly tents, one of two dugouts, and some hastily-constructed sod buildings at the original location of the post, According Private Robert Morris Peck, a member of Co. K, First Cavalry, among the troops that established Camp on Pawnee Fork and detailed to spend the winter of 1859-1860 at this newest outpost along the Santa Fe Trail, the soldiers also built a few sod structures in the fall and early winter of 1859 to help them endure the intense cold of a plains winter (see excerpts from Peck's memoirs following this article). However, it wasn't until the following spring that the War Department authorized the construction of all the buildings needed to form a more permanent post, at which time the location was moved a short distance from the original camp.

     When Major Henry Wessels took over as the fort's commander in May 1860, he received authorization from the War Department to construct adobe and sod buildings, including officers' quarters, commissary storehouse/enlisted barracks, quartermaster storehouse/enlisted barracks, laundresses' quarters, and the post hospital. Army policy at the time required the use of the least expensive building material from the local area. In central Kansas that meant adobe and sod. The War Department suggested the use of buffalo-grass sod, to which Wessels pointed out that adobe was more durable and easier to use than sod.

     Building a sod structure requires a special plow that turns up foot-wide slices of sod. The plow has to slice at least six inches deep in order to get under the tough web of roots put down by prairie grass. Once it was plowed up, soldiers chopped the sod into smaller, brick-like chunks, loaded them onto a wagon, and deposited them at the sites for the various buildings. They were then stacked up and sealed with mortar to make the seams as tight as possible. Since no shingles were available, they cut poles and brush from beside streams and dug clay out of the banks for the roofing materials. Canvas sheets served as ceilings.

     The original budget for the project was $9,500, later reduced to $5,000. In a letter to the Secretary of War, Quartermaster General Joseph E. Johnston, wondered why the Army was being so stingy with the funds needed to build Fort Larned: "The sum of money applicable to building in the Department of the West is so small that it seems impracticable at present, to attempt, at the new post, anything beyond the cheapest structures possible, such as Mexican huts (adobe buildings)."

     Major Wessels struggled all spring and summer to get funding and building supplies from a War Department apparently reluctant to ship anything west to make the quarters and life, better for the men stationed at these remote frontier posts. Though not quick to send the resources and material necessary for constructing buildings, the Army's Western Department did not hesitate to order Wessels and his men to take part in various military-related tasks in the area. Wessels finally received the go-ahead in August to begin construction, though at this point it would be a race to finish the buildings before winter arrived. In September, Wessels asked for heating stoves, telling the War Department that his men did not have enough time to build chimneys. He also requested shingles, flooring, doors, and windows. Although these supplies were slow in coming he would eventually receive enough items to make decent housing for the men that winter.

     Although sod and adobe do make relatively sturdy buildings, they would all be in need of replacement by the time construction on the stone buildings began in 1866. Spending on Civil War in the East, and a garrison of mostly volunteer state militia units were the main reasons the Army had not invested in more substantial structures until then. After the Civil War, Fort Larned became one of the main posts guarding the Santa Fe Trail and needed more permanent quarters and storage buildings.

     Though not as "luxurious" as the later stone buildings, these adobe and sod structures were much better protection from the elements than the tents and temporary sod buildings at the fort's original location. Though intended to be temporary, the onset of the Civil War meant they were used for six years before the Army built suitable, permanent buildings for Fort Larned.

Robert Morris Peck Memoirs
First Structures at Camp on Pawnee Fork

     Private Peck, Company K, First U. S. Cavalry, was among the troops that established Camp on Pawnee Fork in October 1859. His memoirs, published in the National Tribune in 1901, contain the following information about construction of buildings during the autumn of 1859 at the first site of the camp (which later was called Camp Alert and then Fort Larned). Peck wrote:

     Officers and men were now as busy as bees making all the preparations we could to establish ourselves as comfortably as possible before "the cold, chilly winds of December" strike up, for it is now the fore part of November. Two parties of 10 men, each under non-coma., are kept going, escorting the mails; another detail of 10 men is sent down on the river bottom, about seven miles south of our camp, to cut hay, while the rest are busy building quarters, stables, etc.

     We built the houses of sod, turned over with a breaking-plow, cut into convenient lengths with shovels and laid up in walls like brick. For roofs we split slats out of the timber and lay closely overhead to support a foot thickness of mud, which, when dry, forms the Mexican style of roof, but which will certainly be a poor protection against rain. Our floors are the earth. Having no lumber, we hew and split out rough pieces of timber to make doors.

     A few window-sash were brought out from Riley, but as there were not enough of them for all the windows we need, for the rest we cut holes in the sod walls and cover them with canvas. We manage to find stone enough, by hunting over the country for several miles around, to build fireplaces and, by fastening up some old wagon-covers on the inside of the walls and overhead to keep the dirt from falling down on us, our quarters begin to look somewhat comfortable.

     While building we still occupy our tents near by.

     (In December) Our quarters and stables being finished, hay stacked, and other preparations about completed for making ourselves as comfortable as possible for the Winter, our hay-makers were recalled from their camp on the bank of the Arkansas, and the Captain, with his party, taking the company horses, rolled out for Fort Riley.

     (Spring 1860) During the past Winter we made an ice house in the bank of the creek, and filled it with fine ice. But this, of course, is for our successors, the "dough-boys," who will occupy the post during the Summer, as we cavalrymen are certain to be kept on the move all Summer against the Indians. We are always required to put up ice in Winter, wherever we may be, and the "dough-boys" eat it for us in Summer, while we are out hunting Indians and enduring the extremes of heat, hunger and thirst.

     Early in the Spring (1860) our commanding officer, Lieut. Bell, was notified from Department headquarters that the War Department had concluded to build a permanent military post at or near the site of our present camp, to be called Fort Larned; and that some companies of infantry would be sent out to relieve us and to build the new post as soon as the grass was up sufficiently to subsist stock; that we (the detachment of cavalry) would then join our company with Maj. Sedgwick's command, which was coming out from Fort Riley to hunt the Kiowas.

Major Hiram Dryer
Major Hiram Dryer
Post Commander: Major Hiram Dryer
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is tenth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
     Major Hiram Dryer, 13th U. S. Infantry, assumed command of Fort Larned on December 4, 1865, relieving Colonel Uri B. Pearsall of the 48th Wisconsin Infantry. Major Dryer left Fort Leavenworth on November 44 with six companies of the 13th Infantry. He arrived at Fort Larned with companies A, G, and F, which altogether had a total strength of 114 men. Men from the other companies had been left at Fort Ellsworth and Zarah as Dryer made his way to Larned. The end of the Civil War meant that the volunteer state troops were being disbanded and sent home while regular U. S. Army troops were returning to the frontier posts.

     According to his wife, Alice, the scene that met the troops at Fort Larned was "not particularly inviting to weary travelers. Very cold weather, dead frozen cattle lying all around outside the fort, and for officers' quarters a row of one story log rooms all connected, lined with canvas, thatched roofs, mother earth for floors, etc." Besides the poor conditions of the quarters, Mrs. Dryer also reported that the volunteer troops they relieved had "stripped the fort and left nothing."

     The command situation Major Dryer inherited at Fort Larned was less than desirable as well. Severe winter weather hindered the Army's activities in the area while the continuing tension between the Indians and white traders, as well as between the traders and the Army, made it difficult for the officers and men at Fort Larned to do their job. The main cause of friction between the civilians and the military was the Army's decision to stop traffic along the Santa Fe Trail for safety reasons. The traders saw this as undue interference with their ability to conduct business in the area and felt that the military had no business restricting their movements, even if the restrictions were for their own protection.

     Hiram Dryer was born in New York in 1809. He enlisted in the Army in 1846 at the start of the Mexican War, eventually rising to the rank of 1st Sergeant. By the end of the war in 1848, he had been brevetted to 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th U. S. Infantry. After the war, Dryer spent several years at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, until the 4th was sent to the west coast in 1852. In the days before the transcontinental railroad, the only way to get west was either a trek across the interior or across the much shorter distance of the Isthmus of Panama. Cholera broke out almost as soon as the 4th reached Panama, killing 104 men and 1 officer before they crossed to the Pacific side of South America. In 1859, now with the permanent rank of 1st Lieutenant, Dryer married Alice Garrison of Detroit. They returned to the west coast in early 1860 by way of the isthmus and took up residence at Fort Yuma i Arizona Territory where Dryer was stationed until the Fall of 1861. In May of that year, he was promoted to Captain.

     In the Fall of 1861, the 4th U. S. was ordered back East, arriving in New York just before Christmas. After a brief period of leave, the regiment was assigned to the 5th Army Corps commanded by Major General George Sykes for service in the Civil War. Dryer would be brevetted twice during the war, the first time to major on Dec. 13, 1862, for gallantry and meritorious service during the Battle of Fredericksburg and the second time to lieutenant-colonel on May 3, 1863, for the same reasons during the Battle of Chancellorsville. He received his permanent rank of major on February 2, 1865 at Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio. They were sent to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in the fall. Shortly after their arrival there they received orders sending them to Fort Larned.

     Besides dealing with Santa Fe Trail merchants reluctant to accept conditions on the protection offered them by the Army, regular troops on the frontier did not end troubles with Indians in the area. Dryer asked Col. William Bent, who was living with a band of Indians at Mulberry Creek, to keep him informed of the indians' movements and intentions. One problem Bent reported was that Kiowas, Comanches, and Arapahoes were stealing horses and cattle in Texas, driving them up to Kansas, and selling them to Mexican and Anglo-American traders at the campsite at Mulberry Creek. Bent asked the traders to stop buying the horses and cattle, which only encouraged the Indians to steal more, and he told Major Dryer that he was afraid "the government will have to give the Kiowas and Comanches a drubbing before the summer is over."

     Indian Agent Colonel Jesse Leavenworth tried to bring peace to the warring Indian factions, who were fighting each other and the whites moving into their homeland. He suggested that instead of chasing the trouble-making Indians with soldiers to make them stop (which only incited them more) the government should ask the less hostile Indians to try and persuade the tribes on the war path to stop their hostile actions. Leavenworth had determined that some Cheyenne Dog Soldier bands, along with a few Arapaho and Sioux warriors, were responsible for many of the raids along the Smoky Hill and Santa Fe trails. Whenever soldiers tried to track them down, they simply broke up into smaller groups and disappeared into the countryside. Clearly, trying to chase them down with the military would not work.

     On February 28, 1866, conditions along the Santa Fe Trail were so bad that the Military Department of the Missouri halted all travel along the route between Forts Larned and Union unless the trains had at least 20 wagons and 40 armed men. Colonel Leavenworth's suggestion to try and bring some peace to the area was to pay the friendly , non-hostile Indians to go to the more hostile tribes and essentially bribe them with goods, weapons, and food provided by the government in order to get them to stop their raids.

     In the same month, Major Dryer had accompanied Special U. S. Agent to the Plains tribes, Major Edward Wynkoop, in his attempt to bring 14 wagonloads of supplies to Indians camped 75 miles southeast of Fort Larned. On the way Dryer received a note from the commander of Fort Dodge to investigate the death of a white boy by Indians. After looking into the matter, he determined the boy's father was partly responsible because he had swindled the Indian who committed the murder. Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle assured Major Dryer that the perpetrator would be handed over to the Army as soon as the rest of the Northern Cheyenne made peace with the whites.

     On March 1, 1866, Major Wynkoop signed a treaty with the Dog Soldiers and handed out annuity goods to them. Major Dryer used this occasion to suggest that post commander once again be allowed to legally inspect all public and private wagon trains to ensure that contraband goods were not slipping through.

     Major Dryer left Fort Larned in April and was relieved by Lieutenant James Cahill, 2nd U. S. Cavalry, who assumed command on April 26, 1866. Dryer went on to command Fort Randall further north of the Missouri River in Dakota Territory. During the first week of March 1867, Major Dryer caught a severe cold that developed into pneumonia. He died at 7:00 pm on March 5, 1867. He was one month shy of 58 years old at the time of his death and was buried in Detroit.

     Fellow officer Lieutenant William McCaskey wrote to his brother a few days after Dryer's death that he had met "but few men in my time to whom I have become so attached. . . . .The Col. (Bvt. Rank) was a dear good friend to me. Always kind and friendly, his family as well as the whole command are grief stricken."

National Volunteer Week
Girl Scouts Kick Off National Volunteer Week
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     Girl Scout Troop #78 came back this year to plant the 2012 Fort Larned Heritage Garden. The timing was perfect! The girls rolled up their sleeves and got a little dirty for National Volunteer Day on April 21-the start of National Volunteer Week.

     The same troop adopted last year's garden--the first garden in the 21st Century at the fort--and is looking forward to another successful year. The garden will be slightly larger than last year and will include a few rows of heritage blue corn from the Hopi Reservation, donated by volunteer Bill Wolfe. Bill helped the scouts measure the rows both years and has become the garden layout expert! Beth Burke, Troop leader, managed the girls well while taking the opportunity to teach about the soils and germination. We are fortunate to have volunteers that share their time and talent.

     Fort records indicate that garden vegetables added to the variety and taste of the bland diet served at the post. More often than not the gardens were failures because of the hot winds, insects, and lack of irrigation. But there was sure to be cause to celebrate when the gardens did produce. In June 1870, Assistant Surgeon A. A. Woodhull wrote, "The experience of this year fully demonstrates that gardens may be cultivated at Fort Larned with results sufficient to warrant the labor."

     Other vegetable seeds planted include beans, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, squash, leeks, radishes, turnips, and melons. These garden crops are listed in the records of Fort Larned.

     After planting was done the girls were led on a scavenger hunt using a lensatic compass. Park Ranger Mike Seymour introduced the topic of how to use a compass and its reliability when used correctly. Each participant was given two clues-paces and degrees-that led to natural landmarks. Later, to celebrate the garden, the scouts were treated to watermelon.

     The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, presented National Park Week. This year's theme for National Volunteer Week was to "picture yourself in a park!" Hopefully, the scouts are picturing themselves at a beautiful vegetable garden and will return frequently to volunteer and explore.

New Memberships
     Fort Larned Old Guard welcomes the following new members:
     Ruth M. Eastin, 510 S. Main, Lakin, KS 67860
     Della Enslow, 510 S. Main, Lakin, KS 67860
     Vicki Gillett, 135 East 14th, Larned, KS 67550
     Steve & Glenda Schmidt, 1120 Cobblestone Ct., McPherson, KS 67460

Calendar
     May 26, 2012: Rededication of North Officers' Quarters
     Sept. 21-22, 2012: Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous

Schedule of Events
     True to life stories of the Indian Wars along the Santa Fe Trail, brought to life by some of the greatest volunteers in the West. . . . Visit the most complete fort surviving from the days when Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody rode through this part of the West on their missions. Original restored buildings to that time peroid, a visitor center, Park Rangers will guide you through this adventure of the Old West.

     Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday & Monday) largest living history event in western Kansas - experience a working frontier fort.

     Labor Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday, & Monday) Reneactors bring the fort back to life for the holiday weekend.

     Candlelight Tour (2nd Saturday of October) Entertaining evening tours with vignettes from the fort's history.

     Christmas Open House (2nd Saturday of December) Old-fashioned Yuletide celebration with hot apple cider, cookies and Christmas carols.

Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2012, please send dues to membership chair Linda Peters, 1035 S Bridge St, Lakin KS 67860. Thank you for your support.

Deadline For Next Issue: August 1, 2012

     The officers, members of the board of directors, dues information and email's are listed on this page of information. Please feel free to contact any of us.




Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
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