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


Carol And Glenn Pearsall At Fort Larned National Historic Site

A Fort Larned Connection For Visitors
     The staff of Fort Larned met two visitors with an interesting connection to the fort. Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Pearsall from Johnsburg, New York, were traveling the designated auto route to Santa Fe with a planned stop at the fort for a bit of research. Several months earlier Glenn had contacted Chief Ranger George Elmore asking for information on Colonel Uri B. Pearsall.

     Colonel Pearsall, an ancestor of Glenn's was at Fort Larned with the 48th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He served as post commander from October 1 to December 6, 1865, and he is pictured in one of our museum exhibits. His biography was featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Outpost. His photo, obtained from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, shows a serious young man dressed as an officer, sporting a mustache and short beard. The fort has a couple of letters he wrote, one in the beautiful calligraphy practiced at the time and another painstakingly typed out.


Colonel Pearsall

     In one of the letters to a friend "Frank" the young officer wrote, "As will be seen by the above heading, I am still a 'soldier of the lamb', if not, a 'follower of the cross' and am dragging out the days of my existence away out here in the land of Buffaloes, Wolves, and Antelopes which are the only occupants of this part of Uncle Sam's dominion aside from the Indians and soldiers, both of whom are contending for their right of title by possession." Before the close of the letter, he wrote, "My regiment is doomed to remain in service until spring and we are all tired and discontent."

     Glenn was grateful to read the words of his distant relative. Glenn and Carol Pearsall live at the foot of Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks. Glenn has written several history articles and books pertaining to the history of the Adirondacks. His first book, Echoes in These Mountains: Historic Sites and Stories Disappearing in Johnsburg, an Adirondack Community (Pyramid Press, 2008), received many fine reviews. In 2009 the book was awarded a Letter of Commendation by the 35-county Upstate History Alliance.

     Echoes in These Mountains included the first documentary evidence of famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady's birthplace in Johnsburg. The local historical society used that documentation to place a historic marker near Brady's home site. Scholars had not known of the exact location of Brady's birthplace, and The Associated Press wrote a story acknowledging Mr. Pearsall's research. That article was picked up nationally and reprinted by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Daily News and newspapers across the country.

     In the past five years Glenn has written over forty articles on historic topics in the Adirondacks, including a series on his research of 175 men connected with the Town of Johnsburg who fought in the Civil War. Carol works tirelessly in the background editing his work and "tagging along."

     Glenn and Carol established and fund the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation in 2000 "dedicated to improving the lives of the year round residents of the Adirondack Park."

     When not pursuing a passion for history and philanthropy, Mr. Pearsall is a senior partner and portfolio manager for a wealth management team in Glens Falls, New York. Carol teaches life skills as a volunteer to middle school students.

     To complete their visit, Glenn and Carol enjoyed a tour of all the buildings before heading to Santa Fe. Glenn's journey on the Santa Fe Trail merged his footsteps with those belonging to his ancestor 150 years ago. Rangers are always very happy to meet visitors with personal connections to Fort Larned and certainly look forward to the Pearsall's next visit.

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster:
A Major Event You Will Not Want To Miss!
Saturday, April 27, 2013

     The date should be written on everyone's calendar in RED ink! It is the annual Old Guard Mess & Muster. What a day we have planned! The highlight will be a showing of the movie Daughter of Dawn. The movie, a 1920s silent film, was lost up until a couple of years ago. Its recovery and restoration is an amazing story. The movie features an all American Indian cast--300 Kiowas and Comanches. These Indians brought their own clothes, props, and tipis for the production. The movie includes a love story, two buffalo hunts, a battle scene, dances, Indian tipis, fights, a show of courage, and a happy ending. Two main characters are played by the children of the great Comanche Chief Quanah Parker.

     The opportunity to see this film is brought to us by the Oklahoma Historical Society and Board Member Tim Zwink. The film has sold-out wherever it has played. Future plans are to write it to DVD, but until then the only way to see this original masterpiece is to travel to one of its exclusive showings. Thanks to the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Old Guard, we are giving everyone that opportunity. We anticipate a large crowd. The movie will be shown at the Larned Community Center. The Center seats approximately 600. Oh, did I mention the movie is free. Yes, FREE. I have seen tickets for this movie sold for $10 each. We are presenting it free to all. Doors will open at 6:30. We will set a reserved seating area aside for Old Guard members.

     This truly will be a day and event you will not want to miss! During the afternoon, at Fort Larned National Historic Site, we will have speakers giving background information related to the movie and conduct the Old Guard annual membership meeting. The Chalfant Memorial Award will be presented.

     The Old Guard Board has another major announcement to make at the annual meeting. At this moment I am not at liberty to share the details. (Don't you just hate it when someone does that to you!) All I can say is you have to be at this year's Mess & Muster. The significance of the movie, the guests who will share about this movie and a special tipi featured in the movie, and our major announcement will be cause for great celebration.

     Come to the Old Guard Mess and Muster on April 27. History does not get much better than this!

Superintendent's Column
"On Our Watch" by Kevin McMurry
Dear Friends,
     As the best preserved Indian Wars military post on the Santa Fe Trail, Fort Larned National Historic Site is one of our nation's most compelling places to tell of the turbulent 1860s as different cultures clashed over control of the American West. For the Plains Indians, it is a story of fighting for homelands in the face of overwhelming numbers and superior weapons. For the military, it is a tale of Indian relations, some peaceful and others that weren't. Traders, immigrants, and other travelers on the Santa Fe Trail added their cultural exchanges as they traveled to settle new lands or simply to profit from trade goods.

     Any year in review at Fort Larned, Southwest Kansas's National Park always includes great Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day celebrations with hundreds of volunteer friends serving as "living history" reenactors bringing the historic military post to life. 2012 was no different with the summer holiday weekends presenting the largest living-history programs in western Kansas and bringing some of the largest crowds in years to experience the working 1860s frontier fort. For the year, park volunteers donated 10,326 hours of time to assist in visitor service and education programs, tended the historic post garden, cooked in restored kitchens, and provided music by again creating a post band. Park Volunteers of the Year were Gay and Lloyd Choitz of Geneseo, Kansas.

     In late April, the Fort Larned Old Guard held its annual Mess and Muster at the Cheyenne Indian Village site in Ness County, and at the Fort Larned post storehouse with dinner provided by catering services from Barton County Community College and entertainment by Chris Day and Janet Armstead from Wamego providing a wonderful program of historical music. The evening speaker was California author and actor Louis Kraft who had just finished his latest book, Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek, about the Indian Agent stationed at Fort Larned. David Clapsaddle was recognized with the Old Guard's first annual William Chalfant Award, named after the late Mr. Chalfant a Hutchinson attorney, author, and a founding member of Fort Larned Old Guard. The award recognizes one "who has performed outstanding work for Fort Larned and the Fort Larned Old Guard."

     Over Memorial Day Weekend, the recent restoration of the North Officers' Quarters was presented by Mr. John Beard of Congressman Huelskamp's office, and formally reopened with a ribbon cutting by reenactors dressed as Captain Nolan and wife, who lived in the building in 1868. Coinciding with the reopening of this structure, additional multi-year maintenance projects to reshingle one barracks and paint other buildings across the fort were underway with employees, college students seasonal employees, and inmate laborers from the Larned Correctional Facility.

     Also in May, the Fort hosted "Kansas Kids Fitness Day" for 500 Kansas 3rd graders from across western Kansas, and "Junior Ranger Day" with two special programs teaching knowledge and skills necessary to become a Fort Larned Junior Park Ranger. After completing the program and taking the Junior Park Ranger oath, the new Junior Rangers received their Junior Ranger badge, certificate, and a surprise souvenir. Drinks and snacks were provided by volunteers during this fun event for children and their families which is held annually.

     In June the Fort finished plans to display a very generous family donation from David and Alice Clapsaddle of two Frederick Remington Bronze statues, "The Buffalo Horse" and "The Horse Thief," in the fort's museum. Along with a third related bronze statue named "The Cheyenne," these represent different aspects of Cheyenne culture during the period of 1864-1868 when Fort Larned served as an Indian Agency.

     Having concluded July 4th and Labor Day weekend special programs, in late September Fort Larned co-hosted the biennial Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous in Larned with scholarly lectures and dinner programs at the Community Center, Trail Center, and Cheyenne & Sioux Indian Village, as well as at Fort Larned. More than a hundred participants from several states converged on Larned to take part in this 3-day celebration of Santa Fe Trail history. The next Rendezvous will be held in Larned, in 2014.

     After too short a summer with great visitors, seasonal coworkers, volunteers, and other community tourism and media partners, it was time for the fort's Volunteer Recognition Luncheon provided by Tagga's Catering of Larned and the annual Candlelight Tour. This year's Candlelight Tour, "Necessary Evil--Post Sutler/Trader," explored documented issues both good and bad taken from the actual post records about the dealings between the military and its civilian storekeepers. Beyond the historic scenes presented in each building, the fort lit by lanterns and candles is a spectacular sight to behold.

     In December and to conclude special programs for the year, the Christmas Open House was held in both Officers' Quarters and the Post Hospital. Starting in the early afternoon, this reenactment of holiday activity across the fort included tastes of foods prepared from historic recipes while the wood stoves kept the atmosphere everywhere cozy and warm. Later in the day, candles and lanterns lighted a path into the full fort celebration in the decorated hospital ward with music, caroling, dancing, general merry-making, and even a visit from jolly old St. Nick for the children.

     All during the year, the forts two educational exhibits "Buffalo Cavalry Soldier and Horse" and "Cheyenne Family and Horse," cosponsored by the Fort Larned Old Guard, had been traveling in different paths across the state, including the Pratt Museum and St. John Library, to partner sites in Larned, including First State Bank, First National Bank, Jordaan Memorial Library, and the Larned Antique Show, to Dodge City, Hays, and many points in between. Also, with assistance from the Fort Larned Old Guard, our bookstore partner Western National Parks Association, the Pawnee County Tourism Committee, and Rand Graphics in Wichita, the fort has produced new brochures which detail all the school programs provided by the Fort and its education partners, including the traveling trunks programs presented by David Clapsaddle. In cooperation with all area schools, the brochure has been mailed to hundreds of educators and is available anytime on request. Additionally, a weekly series of historical articles about the Santa Fe Trail and Fort Larned were written by David Clapsaddle and published in the Great Bend Tribune.

     Throughout all of 2012, the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, and the National Parks Denver Service Center provided design assistance to Fort Larned staff in finalizing plans and contracts for a replacement bridge that will be in the historically-accurate location. Along with a new paved parking lot, the bridge across the Pawnee River will replicate in style and appearance the original wooden army bridge from the 1870s. Construction, largely by contractors from Kansas, is underway, and by Memorial Day weekend of 2013 visitors will enter the fort viewing it much the same as soldiers, Indians, and anyone else arriving at the fort in its military heyday.

     Efforts of a community planning group continued throughout the year to utilizer a grant provided by the U. S. National Park Service, Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program. This opportunity is assisting in development of long-range plans for walking/hiking, biking, and fitness trails through Larned and possibly connecting the State Complex, Camp Pawnee, and Fort Larned.

     Planning has also begun to celebrate in 2014, the 50th Anniversary of National Park designation for Fort Larned. Legislation signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 created Fort Larned National Historic Site, the first National Park in Kansas. Since then many individuals and groups have influenced the ever-growing improvement and appreciation of the fort. Events planned and advertised nationally will commemorate the place, and people, who together have made Fort Larned so very special.

     Finally, and although there are more accomplishments and many more partners to recognize, in 2012 the fort again proudly achieved a 100% visitor satisfaction rating in its annual survey performed by the University of Idaho. By all accounts, it was another terrific year at Fort Larned thanks to the employees and many supporters and friends who deserve all the credit. 2013 will be another great year; be sure to plan family visits to your Southwest Kansas National Park site!

     "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 coming year.

"Ground Breaking" News
by William Chapman, Facility Manager
     In January the contract for a new pedestrian bridge was awarded with ground broken before the end of the month! This work is completion of more than six years of planning/design and environmental compliance efforts with many park partners. The original concept for this bridge dates back to a 1968 Master Plan developed for Fort Larned National Historic Site.


Excavation underway for new bridge at Fort Larned National Historic Site


Photo of historic bridge at Fort Larned, constructed by the Army in 1868.
Photo, showing Rambler car, from car magazine in 1906.
The new bridge will be in same location.

     This project will extend the entrance road to a new paved, circular parking lot with accessible parking, RV pull-through parking and a drop off area for busses. The pedestrian bridge will be in the same location as the historic military bridge and provide visitors with the same experience entering the fort as those arriving 150-years ago.

     In 2003, an inspection of the old bridge by the U. S. Federal Highway Administration lowered the load capacity to one-quarter of its designed capacity due to deterioration. The current project allows the fort to continue restoration of the historic viewshed while eliminating the rapidly failing highway style bridge.

     In addition to the new bridge and parking area, other extra improvements will also be completed while construction crews are here. The forts picnic area on highway 156 will be paved with accessible parking and a concrete sidewalk to the restroom and shelters, and educational text and exhibit panels will be added to better inform visitors to all Fort Larned has to offer. Planned completion of all the project work is June 2013.

Fort Larned Roll Call:
Betsy Crawford-Gore
     Administrative Officer Betsy Crawford-Gore wasn't a stranger to the National Park Service when she began her permanent Park Service career in 2005 as the Administrative Technician of Nicodemus National Historic Site. She had spent four years as a seasonal park ranger at Fort Larned National Historic Site in the late 1990s. As the Administrative Tech for both Nicodemus and Fort Larned she was duty stationed at the Fort. When she was fortunate enough to be given her current position, she didn't have far to move. Her current job duties include taking care of the budget, managing human resources, keeping track of property, maintaining the computers, payroll, arranging travel, and helping in other areas of the park when needed. Working in a small park provides opportunities for a wide variety of activities.


Betsy Crawford-Gore

     Although she sometimes misses being out and about around the park like she was when she was a ranger, Betsy says working at the Fort is the best type of office work. "I can see wildlife from my window and watch the changing seasons." Working in a small park gives her the opportunity to be involved in many facets of what it takes to keep the Fort running smoothly. Plus, having her office in the Visitors' Center means frequent contact with the Fort's guests.

     Betsy's interest in history goes back to childhood. "I come from a family of story tellers. Every car trip was full of information about the route along the way and what we would see at our destination. As well, many visits with extended family included stories about the past." With degrees in history, Betsy enjoyed her first career working in museums and special collection libraries. Among her memberships in historical organizations, she has been a member of the Fort Larned Old Guard for many years and was privileged to serve on the Board. She is also a charter member of the Santa Fe Trail. Betsy spent several years working at the Santa Fe Trail Center in Larned, sometimes collaborating with Fort staff on projects such as Rendezvous. Although she no longer makes her living doing history, she is very happy to work in such a wonderful historic environment. Betsy and her husband, Michael, live on the family farm northwest of the Fort. They share their home with three dogs and two cats. Some of her activities away from the Fort are keeping the books for their farm, reading a variety of books, magazines, and newspapers, cooking, and following her favorite sports.

Volunteer Roll Call:
Colleen Newman
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     Colleen Newman, Great Bend, Kansas, has been a volunteer at Fort Larned since 1997. You may have noticed her greeting visitors at the Front Desk or leading a tour during a Candlelight event. Her pleasant manner is welcoming to all visitors. One can always sense that she really enjoys volunteering at the fort. She studied history in college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Kansas University.


Colleen Newman

     Born in Ohio, most of Colleen's life to date has been spent living in Kansas. As a child she moved from Manhattan to Topeka, planning for a future as a Kansas State student. However, Kansas University offered her a bigger scholarship and off to Lawrence she went. In 1993, her husband James accepted a position as a forensic scientist with the KBI in Great Bend. This is where they are raising their two daughters, Lindsey and Dinah.

     Colleen works as a special education para-professional at Lincoln Elementary School but her passion is history. She recently studied the life of King Henry the VIII. Other hobbies Colleen enjoys include quilting, knitting, singing in the church choir, and reading.

     What Colleen enjoys most is spending time with her girls. Currently mother and daughters are studying the life of Cleopatra and are having a great time with that subject! When Lindsey and Dinah volunteer at the fort they like to pretend they are Mary and Laura from Little House on the Prairie. The girls have learned so much as volunteers at Fort Larned and enjoy encountering visitors. Colleen states that they in turn have become better visitors at other national parks. A favorite activity for Lindsey and Dinah is to participate in the Junior Ranger program at each park they visit. They enjoy interacting with the park rangers. With a mom like Colleen guiding them, one or both girls may become a park ranger someday! We are just grateful to have them as stewards of our park, helping us to further the mission of Fort Larned.

     Fort Larned National Historic Site is a unit of the U. S. National Park Service located six miles west of Larned on Kansas Highway 156. Open 8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, the park's Visitor Center/Museum and all furnished buildings are admission free. Information on Fort Larned may be found at {www.nps.gov/fols}, by calling 620-285-6911, or by sending email to {fols_superintendent@nps.gov}. For information on other area tourism partners, lodging, dining, and community services go to {www.larnedks.org} or call (620) 285-6916.

Fort Larned Old Guard Roll Call:
Robert Wilhelm
     (Bob Wilhelm will retire as director of Fort Hays State Historic Site on March 1. He has been a member of the Old Guard for many years. A special retirement celebration will be held for him at historic Fort Hays on February 24 at 2:00 p. m. The Old Guard extends thanks and best wishes to Wilhelm as he retires. He kindly provided the following biography for this issue of Outpost.)


Robert Wilhelm

     After serving 3 1/2 years in the Air Force in the 1970s, I attended Fort Hays State University where I obtained a Master's Degree in Biology in 1979. While going to school, I worked in the Museum of the High Plains, a biology research museum on campus. I liked museum work and after graduating took a job at the Laboratory for Environmental Biology at the University of Texas at El Paso. This was a temporary job funded by a grant that was not renewed, so after a year I was out of work. But a similar position opened up at FHSU, and I found myself back at my alma mater. This was also a position funded by a grant and, like the one at UTEP, it was not renewed and so after a year I again found myself unemployed.

     After working at a few temporary jobs to get by, I was eventually hired on as a farmer with the KSU Ag Research Station in Hays. I was not cut out to be a farmer but as it turns out I was in the right place at the right time. One of the Station employees was an amateur archeologist and often visited the staff at the Fort Hays museum. He learned of a job opening there and let me know about it. I interviewed and was accepted for the position as the Assistant Curator in 1984. I thought, well, it's not a biology museum, but it's a museum! I can do this for a few years until a biology job opens up. The rest, as they say, is history.

     I became the Director of Fort Hays State Historic Site in 1988 and now, after over 28 years here, have decided to retire. With all the ups and downs of state service, this has been a really fun job to have. I have an affinity for the military and used to play "cavalry and Indians" as a kid, so I really got into the real history as opposed to the TV and movie history. Reality is much more exciting than the movies! I hope I have done justice to the people who used to call Fort Hays home over its 25-year history. They deserve to be remembered and celebrated (even though the "PC" monster wants us to forget about them or to be somehow ashamed of our past).

     I owe a lot of thanks to George Elmore at Fort Larned. He helped me get started in living history and has been a great colleague and friend. After nearly 30 years of working at Fort Hays, I have learned a lot about the Frontier Army, but I still get stumped sometimes. A visitor might have a really odd question or someone will have an artifact they need identified and if I am unable to find the answer, I know I can always rely on George to help me out.

     Over my years here, there have been many improvements and changes to Fort Hays. One of the surviving officers' homes was relocated from Hays to the fort and eventually renovated and furnished for public viewing. Our living-history program was developed and programs such as our "Christmas Past" open house, a July 4th event, and our "Graveside Conversations" program, which is a tour of the Fort Hays cemetery, have all been very successful. A weekend-long camp for kids called "Young Troopers" immersed students (fifth and sixth graders) in the life of a soldier. It was a very successful and popular program for 13 years. It goes without saying (but I'm saying it anyway) that none of this would have been possible without our volunteers. They have been great!

     Our Friends group, The Society of Friends of Historic Fort Hays, has also been a very important and necessary part of Fort Hays and has helped the museum in so many ways. They have purchased living-history clothing and equipment, funded special programs, helped renovate buildings, and constructed reproductions of a well house, two outhouses, and the parade ground flagpole which have helped the historic interpretation of the site.

     I invite all Fort Larned Old Guard members to join the Society of Friends of Historic Fort Hays. Just contact Fort Hays at 785-625-6812 or email {thefort@kshs.org} and they will send you information and an application. Fort Hays and Fort Larned have always been connected and many of the historical articles published in the Friends newsletter, The Post Returns, (published quarterly) have involved Fort Larned.

     Although I am retiring, I will remain in Hays. Since Fort Hays and the frontier army have been such a big part of my life, I plan on donating some time to the fort by volunteering for tours and special events, but that will be several years down the road. My wife and I have a nice home and have been planting trees and gardens that will keep me occupied outside for quite some time. And I have a lot of personal projects to work on. Not the least of which are my four grandchildren who need to be spoiled by grandpa far more than they already have!

Post Commanders: Meredith Helm Kidd
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
     (This is thirteenth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
     Major Meredith Helm Kidd, 10th U. S. Cavalry, arrived at Fort Larned on May 20, 1867, to assume leadership of the post. Major Henry Asbury, the former post commander, returned to his position as an infantry commander. The situation Major Kidd inherited was one that required heightened vigilance from the fort's garrison. General Winfield Scott Hancock had intended his expedition in April to head off a summer Indian war, but it had the opposite effect. Especially inflammatory to the Indians had been the general's decision to burn the Cheyenne-Sioux village 32 miles west of Fort Larned, which made some Indians even more determined than ever to resist white intrusion into their lands.


Meredith Helm Kidd

     Including troops of the 10th Cavalry that he brought with him, Major Kidd had a total of 237 cavalry and infantry troops under his command that spring. The Cavalry troops were kept busy patrolling the Santa Fe Trail and scouting the countryside for any sign of Indian activity. Indian Agent Jesse Leavenworth set out in the aftermath of the Hancock Expedition to try and delay, or even stop, an Indian war. Agent Edward Wynkoop spoke with Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle to find out if his frightened people would even come to collect their annuities at Fort Larned that summer.

     There was a cholera outbreak in early July, brought to the post by soldiers of the 37th Infantry on their way to Fort Union, New Mexico. The two companies of 230 men under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Cuvier Grover, arrived on July 2 with several cases of cholera in their ranks. Any travelers with cholera on a public wagon train were immediately sent to a quarantine hospital two miles away but, despite the post surgeon's strong recommendation that the troops also be located farther away, their camp was only 500 yards from the fort's buildings. Within four days cholera had spread to the fort's garrison, killing Lieutenant J. A. Helm, the post commissary of subsistence and quartermaster officer, a surgeon attached to the 19th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and four civilian employees of the quartermaster department. At that point, Major Kidd had the camp moved half a mile away from the main post buildings.

     Medical knowledge of the day did not offer much in the way of prevention or treatment of deadly diseases like cholera. Prevention included the use of unslaked lime and strong acids to disinfect latrines as well as intense scrubbing of kitchen utensils. Doses of calomel, injections of starch, strong tea, brandy, and acetate of lead, as well as mustard plasters, were some of the ways doctors tried treating it.

     After appointing Lieutenant Henry Gibbons Cavenaugh of the 37th Infantry as the commissary of subsistence and quartermaster officer, Major Kidd left in the midst of the cholera outbreak on 15 days leave to bring his family to the post from Indiana. He had been born in Connersville, Indiana, in 1829, where he lived until he was eight years old, at which time he moved to his father's farm in Miami County. He was educated in country schools as a child and eventually attended Asbury University in Peru, Indiana. In 1850 he was admitted to the bar, but left in the spring of 1852 for the gold fields of California. After five years of mixed results, he returned to Indiana in 1857 and resumed practicing law again. In November, 1857 he married Millicent Fisher and the couple would eventually have six children.

     He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, first as captain of the 14th Indiana Battery for two years and then as a major in the 11th Indiana Cavalry. During the war he participated in the Battles of Corinth, Pulaski, Nashville, and other minor engagements.He had his horse shot out from under him at Nashville, but he managed to make it through the war without any wounds. By the end of the war he was mustered out at the rank of lieutenant colonel. In March 1867 he was appointed Major of the 10th Cavalry and soon after reported to Fort Larned.

     The summer of 1867 was a busy one at the fort. Construction of the stone buildings was in full swing with 24 of 46 wagons and 144 out of 216 mules used to haul stone, sand, lumber, and other building materials to and around the post. Five wagons and 30 mules were used for escort duty along the Santa Fe Trail. Other wagons and mules belonging to the post were involved in guard duty, used at the stone quarry, or reserved for wagon masters and Indian agents. The Army hired 224 civilians from the East to help with construction and to keep all these mules and wagons in operating condition.

     As predicted, Hancock's attempt at "chastising" the Indians actually caused various tribes to go on the warpath. Cheyenne who were still angry over the burning of their lodges in April went on a raiding spree through Kansas and Nebraska. They derailed trains and carried off the supplies as plunder while also killing some of the crew and passengers. Alarmed, Congress believed it was time to establish a "permanent and lasting" peace with the Indians. By August, Major Kidd sent word to all the area Indian Agents to have them bring the tribes to Medicine Lodge Creek for an October peace council. If the Indians met any whites along the way they were supposed to wave white flags to show they were friendly.

     Fort Larned served as a staging area for the Medicine Lodge meeting, so by late summer, in addition to the building construction and regular military duties, preparations for the meeting were added to the activities at the post. The quartermaster was busy gathering wagons to ship Indian annuity goods to Medicine Lodge, while 60 to 70 Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Comanche leaders stopped at Fort Larned on their way to the council site. Major Kidd provided them with tents for lodging and provided food from the post commissary stores. By mid-September, peace commissioners arrived, escorted by 500 men from the 7th Cavalry and two batteries of Gatling guns.

     In the midst of all this activity, the department quartermaster, Major M. J. Ludington, came for an inspection of the post buildings. He found many of the old adobe and sod structures still in use, although the stone buildings were going up quickly, with completion expected for most of them in the fall. The post commander's quarters would be finished in October of that year, and Major Kidd would be the first Fort Larned commander to occupy the spacious stone structure.

     The peace commissioners left Larned on October 13, headed for Medicine Lodge. Major Kidd received instructions from General William T. Sherman to halt all wagon trains 60 miles southeast of Pawnee Fork in case more supplies were needed at Medicine Lodge. Some of the Indians had been there for several weeks already and the general was afraid the supplies might run out. At least five thousand Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche Indians had shown up for the council.

     The formal negotiations began on October 19 and the treaties were signed on the 21st. The Indian signatures allowed unrestricted white travel over emigrant roads through the Southern and Central Plains and safety for the railroads and construction crews while ceding all their land in Kansas to the whites. The Cheyenne and Arapaho accepted new lands bordered by the 37th parallel, the Cimarron and Arkansas Rivers instead of1865 reservation lands. The new treaty provided a resident Indian agent, as well as mandatory schools for children, a doctor, blacksmith, and other permanent agency personnel. The head of each family could have 320 acres of reservation land for his own use, although Congress kept legal title to the land. Congress also authorized the payment of $20,000 a year plus any necessary clothes for 25 years and allowed the Indians to hunt bison north of the Arkansas River, as long as there were enough there to hunt.

     The treaty really resulted in a truce rather than any lasting peace. Most of the Indians had little understanding of what their chiefs had agreed to while many white people were outraged at what they saw as a reward for a summer of rampaging by the Indians. In his annual report for 1867, General Sherman summed up the accomplishments of the year, defending Hancock's actions in April, saying that attacking their homes and families was the most effective way to restrain the highly mobile braves. Sherman believed that Hancock's actions had kept travel on the Smoky Hill Trail open, making sure that New Mexico and Colorado were not isolated.

     Major Kidd continued as the post commander through an uneventful winter until replaced in March by Captain Nicholas Nolan, also of the 10th Cavalry. Major Kidd was transferred to Fort Riley and was mustered out in 1870 by his own request when the Army was reduced. He returned to Wabash, Indiana, where he practiced law until 1893, when he was appointed to the Dawes Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. He served on the commission for a year and half, then resigned to accept a mission to the Ute Indians in Colorado. Upon successful completion of the mission's goal to persuade them to turn over their lands and relinquish the residuals, Major Kidd returned to Wabash where he continued his law practice. He died in Huntingdon, Indiana, on June 11, 1908.

     During Major Kidd's tenure as post commander, Fort Larned was reaching the peak of its operations. Civilian construction crews worked on completing the stone buildings while the garrison's infantry and cavalry troops carried out regular escort and patrol duties respectively as part of the military's job in the area. As a staging area for the Medicine Lodge Peace treaty talks, the fort played an important role in the attempt to pacify the restive Indians. Though some attributed the heightened Indian activity to Hancock's actions in April of the same year, others defended the general's actions as a necessary brake on Indian raids. Regardless, the talks at Medicine Lodge resulted more in a truce than lasting peace, ensuring that the small post on the Great Plains would still have work to do in the coming year.

Little Red House Series, Part II
by David K. Clapsaddle
     (This series looks at the history of the Little Red House interspersed with information about events conducted at what began as the sutler's mess house at Fort Larned and became the first building in the infant City of Larned, Kansas.)

Sutler's Mess House
     In the previous installment, discussion focused on Sutler Jesse Crane and his role in the construction of the sutler's mess house.

     The mess house, constructed in 1863 at the cost of $1700, catered to the civilian population. Soldiers in the nearby barracks, paid $16 per month, could hardly afford the menu served at the mess house. Army records provide interesting details of the building's construction. The mess house measured 34.5 feet long, 21.5 feet wide, height 14 feet. The double-doored entrance was transomed, and the building boasted a patented cement roof.

Enter Henry Booth
     The building generally known as the sutler's mess retained that designation even after the title of sutler was changed to post trader in 1867. Such was the case when Henry Booth was appointed post trader at Fort Larned in 1869. Booth had previously served as captain of Company L, Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, commanding officer of Fort Riley, Chief of the Kansas Cavalry, and Inspector General of the District of the Upper Arkansas. Upon his discharge in 1865, Booth returned to Manhattan, the city of his former residence, where he established a store selling farm machinery, There he won the heart of Alicia Preston, the daughter of his Episcopal minister. There, too, he was elected unanimously by the citizens of Riley County to the Kansas House of Representatives.

     By the time Booth arrived at Fort Larned, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was laying tracks across Kansas. Seeking to capitalize on the establishment of a town adjacent the railroad's southwesterly route, Booth and others, including former Kansas Governor Samuel Crawford and Edward Wilder of Grasshopper Falls, Kansas, organized the Larned Town Company, with Crawford as president and Wilder as secretary. In 1871, officers of the town company met at Booth's Fort Larned home to select a site for their new town. The location selected was some six miles east of Fort Larned near the Santa Fe Trail crossing of the Pawnee River.

The Mess House Relocated
     In the spring of 1872, Booth elevated the mess house on jacks, placed wheels beneath the structure, and, behind a team of horses, moved the building down to the south bank of the Pawnee River to the location of present Schnack-Lowery Park. Floated across the swollen stream, the building was situated on the north side of the river, that site now identified by a marker placed by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail. In the following summer, George B. Cox, appointed postmaster, occupied the building. In addition to the post office, Cox operated what was called an eatery, also, a saloon.

     Regardless of claims to ownership, the building was illegally situated on government land. The Larned Town Company had not received title to the town site, and whoever the owner of the building, he had no claim to real property, only the mess house.

Girl Scouts Tour Little Red House
     Girl Scouts from Larned Troop 78 toured the Little Red House on November 17. Fifteen scouts and parents were on hand for Ranger Ellen Jones's presentation of The Traveling Trunk, appropriately named the Little Red House.

2013 Material Culture Conference At Fort Larned In September 2013
     Fort Larned Old Guard Board Member Ken Weidner has arranged to host the 2013 Material Culture of the Prairie, Plains & Plateau Conference at Fort Larned, September 19-22, with the theme "Historic Tipis and Daily Camplife." If there is enough interest, a field trip to the Cheyenne and Sioux Village Site will be included.

     The presentation planned include Matt Reed, "1865 Painted Lakota Buffalo Hide Tipi," Allen Chronister, "Dog Travois," Curtis Carter, "Indian Games," Scott Brosowske, "The Organization of the Southern Plains Indian Trade," Linda Holley, "History of Cloth Tipis," and Ken Weidner, "Plains Indian Horse Tack and Travois Packing-Buffalo Hides."

     Additional information about this conference will appear in later issues. Check online for details at {www.mcppp.org}.

Kansas Forts Series Programs Presented At Fort Larned National Historic Site
     On February 10, nearly 100 people from across the state braved cold winter winds howling across Fort Larned for a scholarly presentation of programs related to "Kansas Forts and Indians Wars." This event was the second in a series of five monthly programs at different locations that offer readings, conversations, tours, and scholarly interpretations of Kansas Military Forts and Plains Indian relations in the region. Facilitated by Leo E. Oliva, the series is coordinated by the Kinsley Library, cosponsored by the Edwards County Historical Society, and funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council.

     The afternoon began in the fort's visitor center theater with Dr. Oliva portraying 1st Cavalry Private Robert Morris Peck who served in the frontier army from 1856 to 1861. In 1901 Peck wrote his memoirs of military service and Oliva appears as Peck in 1901, recalling his stories of a soldier's life, including expeditions and service at military posts along the Santa Fe Trail. Peck served in the 1857 Cheyenne Expedition and was among troops that protected the trail and established Fort Larned in 1859 to escort mail coaches on the trail.

     After the presentation the audience was divided into groups for a guided tour around the parade ground and into the restored and furnished buildings. Living-history volunteers Lloyd and Gay Choitz from Geneseo and Sam Young from Leavenworth hosted the groups in the Officers' Quarters and refreshments were provided by the Fort Larned Old Guard in the Barracks Mess Hall. Wood stoves and candlelight kept the buildings warm and inviting. During refreshments, group discussion of the lecture and reading materials led to two more presentations. Greg VanCoevern a member of the Fort Larned Old Guard from Salina demonstrated the use of cavalry equipment, including the care of their most important piece of equipment, the horse. Rex Abrahams from Canton and chairman of the Fort Larned Old Guard demonstrated the use of infantry equipment, including the work and dress uniforms.

     For some participants, it had been years since they last visited Fort Larned. For others, it was a new experience that provided a physical connection to the best-preserved military post from the American Frontier West. The next Kansas Forts session will be at Fort Dodge on March 10.


Fort Larned Troop Photo - Date Unknown

     In late November 2012, Fort Larned had a visitor from Ohio who brought a copy of a tintype photo taken at Fort Larned, date unknown. He and his family visited here two years ago and enjoyed their visit, so he had seen the buildings. His aunt died recently and in going through her things found a stack of old photos. This photo was among them. The photo is not marked Fort Larned, and only by the fact they had visited previously did they realize that the view is of Fort Larned. Above is a scan of the original view. The owner offered to donate the original tintype after learning it is one the fort does not have and had never seen before. When received, Fort Larned will recognize the generous donation to the fort's archives.

Event Calendar
     April 27, 2013: Fort Larned Old Guard Annual Mess and Muster, featuring the Kansas premier of the historic film, "Daughter of Dawn."
The Daughter of Dawn Information-Front - - - - The Daughter of Dawn Information-Back

     Sept. 19-22, 2013: Material Culture Conference at Fort Larned.

Schedule of Annual 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 period, 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.

Deadline For Next Issue: May 1, 2013

Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2013, please send dues to membership chair Linda Peters, 1035 S Bridge St, Lakin KS 67860. Thank you for your support.

Fort Larned Old Guard Contact Information
     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.




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