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

Special Program at Fort Larned July 4
     Everyone is invited to Fort Larned on July 4 for a special program about Frank Baldwin, his sword which is now on display, his military career (including service at Fort Larned), and the history of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Other activities include living-history programs and talks on military weapons of the Fort Larned era, including the firing of the weapons and artillery demonstrations.

Glenn & Carol Pearsall $5000 Challenge Grant
     In the last Outpost, Glenn and Carol Pearsall from Johnsburg, New York, were featured. Their ancestor, Colonel Uri B. Pearsall, was post commander at Fort Larned from October 1 to December 6, 1865. Colonel Pearsall led the 48th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry when he served as Post Commander. Glenn and Carol visited Fort Larned on their way to Santa Fe last Fall. They contacted Chief Ranger George Elmore and asked about information the fort might have on Colonel Pearsall. The fort actually has two letters he wrote. They enjoyed reading those letters and a subsequent tour of the post.

     Following their visit they contacted the fort about making a donation. Superintendent Kevin McMurry and Chief Ranger George steered them to the Old Guard. Here is the exciting news. The Pearsalls have offered a $5000 challenge grant to the Old Guard. They will match $1 for $1 any donations we receive during the coming year, up to $5000. What a tremendous opportunity for Fort Larned and the Old Guard! Now every dollar you contribute will be matched by the Pearsalls.

     The Old Guard relies on donations to purchase items which the National Park Service is unable to fund, such as the Rucker Ambulance, Cheyenne and Sioux Village Site, and the Frank Baldwin sword. The Old Guard is currently seeking donations to match the Ticket to Ride grant which provides funds for schools to offer field trips to Fort Larned Natonal Historic Site. Your donation may be used to satisfy both grants.

     Fort Larned Old Guard Chair Rex Abrahams declared: "We cannot thank the Pearsalls enough. They are new life members in the Old Guard. We plan to honor them next year at our annual Mess & Muster. For now, please consider making a donation to the Old Guard. Your money will go twice as far! Thank you Glenn and Carol Pearsall."

     Please send donations to Fort Larned Old Guard Treasurer Leo E. Oliva, PO Box 1, Woodston, KS 67675. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.


Baldwin Sword Display at Fort Larned National Historic Site

Lieutenant Frank D. Baldwin Sword Donation
     (The following is a recap of Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman Rex Abraham's presentation of the Baldwin Sword to Fort Larned National Historic Site Superintendent Kevin McMurry and Chief Ranger George Elmore at the Old Guard Mess & Muster, April 27, 2013.)

     It was July 12, 1864, at Peach Tree Creek in Georgia. A young, 22-year-old captain was leading his company, Company D of the 19th Michigan Infantry, in a countercharge against Rebel lines. This captain led from the front; not from the side and certainly not from the back. He was always in front of his men. In doing so, under intense fire, he personally crossed the Rebel line and single-handedly captured two fully-armed Confederate commissioned officers and brought them back to the Union side along with a Georgia Regiment guidon.

     For his Bravery and Gallantry he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

     Fast forward 10 years. This same captain is now a 1st lieutenant of the regular U. S. Army, an officer of the 5th Infantry. He is a part of General Nelson Miles expedition into the staked plains of Texas and Indian Territory. They are trying to force the Kiowa, Comanche, and Cheyenne back to the reservation. They are also on the lookout for four white girls that were taken captive one month earlier. They are reported to be in the campsite of Cheyenne Chief Gray Beard.

     The lieutenant's orders are to strike out with one company of cavalry, one company of infantry, one howitzer, and 23 six-mule-team drawn wagons. A total of 76 men. His instructions are to head toward Camp Supply on the Washita and, if he encounters any Indians, his next course of action is up to his discretion.

     They start out and on the morning of the 4th day an advance scout rode back to tell this lieutenant that Gray Beard's camp has been spotted several miles away. He takes his men and wagons and proceeds to the village. They skirmish with some Indians who have come out from the village, but they proceed on. When they get close to the village, he does what has probably not been done before in military history. He draws his wagons forward in double columns, flanks the sides with the little cavalry he has, and puts several infantry men in each wagon and "Charges!" He drives the Indians completely out of the village and follows them for 12 miles back into the staked plains. When the Indians have scattered into small groups so that following them is fruitless, he returns to the village. Upon inspection, they find two of the young girls, 5-year-old Julia and 7-year-old Adeline German. The girls are bruised, scared, hungry, wearing tattered and torn clothing, but they are alive! He returns them to civilization.

     For this heroic deed, this lieutenant is awarded his second Congressional Medal of Honor. He is just the 4th person, at this point in U. S. history, to receive two Medals of Honor and the first to have received them in separate engagements. He is currently only one of nineteen persons in U. S. history to receive two Medals of Honor.

     Now, what does this have to do with Fort Larned? Well, this captain, this lieutenant was stationed at Fort Larned for about eight months in 1872-1873. He lived and breathed at Fort Larned. He walked the boardwalk, he strolled the company streets, and he stayed in officers' row along with his wife, Alice. His name was Frank Dwight Baldwin.

     Fast forward 140 years and the Old Guard is presented the opportunity to purchase this two-time Medal of Honor winners personal, engraved military sword. It is a Model 1840 Cavalry Saber nicknamed, "Old Wrist breaker." It was made by Tiffany & Co. It was an enlisted men's model but was nickel plated for use by an officer. It is inscribed:
     Lt. Frank Dwight Baldwin
     Michigan Horse Guards
     Sept 19, 1861 by his Seargents (sic)

     September 19, 1861, was the day Baldwin first entered the service as a 2nd lieutenant of the Michigan Horse Guards--at age 19!

     What a tremendous opportunity to acquire something of this magnitude, owned by an officer who actually was stationed at Fort Larned.

     Some who heard about our acquisition of this sword have asked, "How did you find this?" Well, how do you find anything now a-days? You look on. . .e-Bay. George Elmore found this sword on e-Bay and contacted Leo and myself. We talked about it and whimsically wondered what it would be like to purchase a sword of the magnitude for the fort. Amazingly the sword did not sell. I was in contact with the seller and told them who we were, what the Old Guard was all about, and what our intentions were with the sword. They liked the idea of a permanent display at Fort Larned. The seller was not the owner. The owner wanted to remain anonymous, but I can say it was an older lady who was selling the sword from a collection of her deceased husband. We negotiated a price of $6000 with their being able to get the sword professionally appraised and allowed to deduct the difference of our payment and the appraisal (since we are an IRS 501(C)3 nonprofit organization) We have not heard back on the final appraisal, but it had a guest-a-ment appraisal of $10,000, with ranges of 15 to 20 to $25,000. It is hard to estimate. After all, how many two-time Medal of Honor, personally-engraved swords are out there? I venture to say. . .1.

     I mention the price only to let our members know that when the opportunity arises, we need to act quickly. We are all volunteers in this organization. No one is paid. We all do what we can with the funds we have available. We will be asking for donations to help support this purchase.

     At this time, Superintendent Kevin McMurry and Chief Ranger George Elmore were asked to come forward and receive the historic sword. I said: "Kevin, on behalf of the Fort Larned Old Guard, we present Fort Larned National Historic Site this engraved, personal sword, of 2X Congressional Medal of Honor Winner: Lt. Frank Dwight Baldwin. This sword was a prized possession of his. And it is significant to have such a special artifact from an officer actually stationed at Fort Larned in the 1870s. Please accept this sword on behalf of the Old Guard so that it may be placed in Fort Larned's museum for all of our visitors and guests to see and appreciate its significant history."

Frank D. Baldwin's Congressional Medal of Honor citations follow:
1st Congressional Medal of Honor:

     The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (First Award) to Captain Frank Dwight Baldwin, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action on 12 July 1864, at Peach Tree Creek, Georgia, while serving with Company D, 19th Michigan Infantry. Captain Baldwin led his company in a countercharge, under a galling fire ahead of his own men, and singly entered the enemy's line, capturing and bringing back two commissioned officers, fully armed, besides a guidon of a Georgia regiment.

     General Orders: Date of Issue: December 3, 1891
     Action Date: July 12, 1864
     Service: Army
     Rank: Captain
     Company: Company D
     Division: 19th Michigan Infantry

2nd Congressional Medal of Honor:
     The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor (Second Award) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Frank Dwight Baldwin, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action at McClellan's Creek, Texas, on 8 November 1874. Lieutenant Baldwin rescued, with two companies, two white girls by a voluntary attack upon Indians whose superior numbers and strong position would have warranted delay for reinforcements, but which delay would have permitted the Indians to escape and kill their captives.

     General Orders: Date of Issue: December 3, 1891
     Action Date: November 8, 1874
     Service: Army
     Rank: First Lieutenant
     Division: 5th U. S. Infantry

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
     Daughter of Dawn * Baldwin Sword * Fort Larned (Race Horse) * $4000 Ticket to Ride School Grant and a $5000 Challenge Grant! - Where does one start?

     What an exciting time for the Old Guard. I do not even know where to start! Guess I will just jump in and swim.

     Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster - Saturday, April 27, 2013. What a success!!! Thanks to all of you, we had a tremendous event. I did not hear final tallies, but we had around 130 for the afternoon programs and roughly 350 for the evening program. What a turnout. It will be hard to top this day, but we will try. The bar has been raised. Here is a brief recap:

Excellent Historical Programs
     Two outstanding afternoon programs were put on by the Oklahoma Historical Society. Vanessa and Carl Jennings talked of Kiowa, Comanche, and Fort Larned. Mrs. Jennings is a Kiowa Elder and presented insight into the Kiowa way of life. Very informative! Matt Reid spoke about "the tipi with battle pictures." This tipi was a special gift to the Kiowa from the Cheyenne in the 1830s. It was a pictorial calendar of "the" significant events in Kiowa history. Matt's explanations made the evening movie (which includes this special tipi) a much anticipated showing.

The Daughter of Dawn, 1920 silent movie
     We were honored to present the Kansas Premier of The Daughter of Dawn silent movie. The 300 member cast was made up entirely of Kiowa and Comanche. What a treat! Vanessa Jennings, Matt Reid, and Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, gave a running commentary during the movie. Rather than take away from the film, it added greatly to our understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the characters and props. Vanessa's comments, "You exit a tipi the way you go in" and "That is just Hollywood" still ring true in my ears.

$4000 Ticket to Ride Grant to Fort Larned
     Ranger Ellen Jones and Board Member Chris Day worked together on securing a $4000 Grant from Disney and the National Park Foundation supporting the Ticket to Ride program. The award said in part: The National Park Foundation would like to congratulate Fort Larned National Historic Site for being selected to receive a 2013 Ticket to Ride Grant in the amount of $4,000 for the "Kansas Kids Fitness Day and School Field Trips at Fort Larned National Historic Site" project.

     This project will help fund transportation costs for students traveling to Fort Larned on school-sponsored field trips. This is a wonderful grant in the face of cutbacks in school financing. The Old Guard is required to raise matching donations to assist with this project.

Fort Larned Race Horse honored
     We honored Janis Whitham and her outstanding race horse, "Fort Larned." Fort Larned was a 9-1 underdog but won the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall. We were pleased to present Mrs. Whitham with a membership to the Old Guard, an Honorary Colonel commission in the Old Guard, and a framed picture of Fort Larned National Historical Site. From my conversation with Mrs. Whitham, she and her granddaughter, Amy, had an enjoyable time. Do not underestimate Fort Larned!

$5000 Challenge Grant
     Glenn and Carol Pearsall from Johnsburg, New York, stopped by the fort recently to do a little research on their ancestor, Colonel Uri B. Pearsall. Colonel Pearsall was post commander at Fort Larned from October 1 to December 6, 1865. Like many at Fort Larned, his time was brief. The Pearsalls enjoyed their visit to the extent they offered a $5000 Challenge Grant! For the next year, they will match $1 for $1, up to $5000, any monies donated to the Fort Larned Old Guard. What a tremendous gift! Thank you Very Much Glenn and Carol! Your donation will be put to good use.

Baldwin Sword Donation
     The Fort Larned Old Guard was able to acquire 1st Lieutenant Frank Dwight Baldwin's personally engraved sword and donate it to the museum at the fort. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity fell in our hands to the extent that one thinks of providence or divine guidance. A recap of the Baldwin sword donation is in another article in this issue. If you are like me, you will be impressed with this officer's story. You will be equally amazed that we were able to acquire his sword. I am still in shock!

     Congratulations to Margaret Linderer, recipient of the William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award, recognized for her many years of volunteer service to Fort Larned.

     The Old Guard continues to be "your" conduit for the enhancement of the Fort Larned experience to our visitors and guests. We thank each and every one of you for your membership. Together we can do fantastic things. The Mess & Muster events of Saturday, April 27, are a prime example. Thank you!

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 and I'm sure it will be remembered for years to come! The program support from the Oklahoma Historical Society was incredible and thanks also go to the Old Guard Board Members and all the great volunteers who helped. For me, it was wonderful to spend the day and evening with so many longtime friends and supporters of Fort Larned and to meet new friends like Janis Whitham and her family who own a racehorse named Fort Larned! Congratulations to Margaret Linderer, recipient of the annual William Chalfant Award recognizing one "who has performed outstanding work for Fort Larned and the Fort Larned Old Guard." Margaret is a long-time, and dear friend of the fort and the Old Guard, and her husband Steve is the former superintendent of the Fort.

     With great assistance from the Fort Larned Old Guard, the Fort has received a sword once owned by career Army officer and double Medal of Honor winner Frank Baldwin who served at Fort Larned in 1872 and 1873. The Fort has also recently received from Mr. and Mrs. Pat Hall, Hutchinson, Kansas, the very generous donation of an 1806 Spanish lance point found just south of Larned decades ago. Both the sword and the lance point have been built into displays in the Fort's museum and flank a new temporary exhibit recognizing Fort Larned the racehorse who won the 2012 Breeders' Cup Race. We are very proud of these great additions to the Visitor Center and Museum Stop by soon to take a look and bring the whole family!

     It's been a busy spring at the Fort with the Fort Larned Old Guard Mess and Muster, Kinsley Library's Kansas Forts and Indian Wars series, Kansas Kids Fitness Day, Ghost Tours hosted by "Catch a ghost tours" of Kansas, special Jr. Ranger Programs, numerous offsite educational programs, and almost daily school or other group tours. All these activities are enhanced by grateful assistance from Volunteer Friends including David and Alice Clapsaddle, Lloyd and Gay Choitz, Sam Young, Marla Matkin, Mark Berry, and members of the Old Guard among others! The Fort's great maintenance folks, with assistance from State Prison crews and heavy equipment loaned by Arkansas Post National Memorial have been clearing trees and brush from the cemetery and oxbow. In addition they are supporting all the visitor programs as well as painting, completing window and porch column repairs, gearing up the grounds maintenance to keep the Fort looking sharp, and keeping all the utilities including the alarm and camera systems working.

     Chief Ranger Elmore was busy preparing for Memorial Day activities with many great friends again volunteering to help "bring Fort Larned to life" for visitors over the holiday weekend. Additionally, the Frontier Brigade, from Tulsa and Wichita areas visited Fort Larned May 17-19, utilizing the barracks and officers' quarters while training and drilling in living-history programs for visitors over that weekend.

     Big plans are underway for July 4, with living-history and special presentations about the Frank Baldwin sword and Congressional Medal of Honor. Plan now to be here for this program.

     In other news, the Indian Exhibit is currently at the Edwards County Museum and the Buffalo Soldier Exhibit is being prepared for delivery to the Hays Library after parts of it were recently used at the Kansas Sampler Festival in Liberal where the fort and all area partners were represented by members of the Larned Tourism Committee.

     Fort Staff are monitoring plans to build a massive new high-voltage powerline across Kansas with possible routes very near Fort Larned and sections of the Santa Fe and other historic trails. We've met with their planners and have expressed our preliminary concerns in person and by letter. We continue to watch closely this project and are bringing specialists from the National Park Service, Department of Interior, and other U. S. Government Agencies into the process to assist planners in safeguarding historic resources.

     Finally for now, the project to reconstruct the historic wagon bridge and associated parking facilities is proceeding with completion anticipated in June. The existing parking lot and bridge are fully accessible during construction so don't hesitate to visit!

     "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!

Fort Larned Old Guard Honors Presented
     The Old Guard presented special recognition to the following during the annual Mess & Muster on April 27.


Janis Whitham
     Janis Whitham, Leoti, KS, owns the race horse Fort Larned, winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup. For naming her horse Fort Larned, Whitham was named an honorary life member of the Old Guard, given the commission of colonel in Fort Larned Old Guard, and presented a photo of historic Fort Larned. Her winning horse has brought worldwide attention to Fort Larned.


Margaret Linderer
     Margaret Linderer, a life member of the Old Guard and longtime volunteer in many capacities at the Fort, was presented the William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award "for years of outstanding service to Fort Larned National Historic Site." This award includes a recognition plaque and copy of Chalfant's final book, Hancock's War. Margaret's many contributions were chronicled in the Autumn 2012 issue of Outpost.

     Congratulations to both recipients.


Margaret Smith
Fort Larned Roll Call: Margaret Smith
     Seasonal Park Ranger Margaret Smith, Great Bend, will spend her 19th season working at Fort Larned this summer! She has greeted thousands of visitors and has seen staff members come and go. But the one thing about her work that has not changed is the enjoyment she experiences when sharing Santa Fe Trail and Fort Larned stories.

     Margaret was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, and grew up in Nevada, Missouri. Her father owned and operated a grocery store and her mother ran the dairy farm where the family lived. Margaret remembers playing with her brothers and sisters on the farm with the goal being not to get into trouble. Her mother worked hard getting the cows milked and wasn't too happy about being interrupted!

     Margaret married her high school sweetheart, Dennis Smith, who also has a long history with Fort Larned as a volunteer! The newlyweds settled in western Kansas and had three children, Renie, Eric, and Donovan. In 1980 Dennis accepted a teaching position at the high school in Great Bend. But this was after Margaret obtained an EMT license and a cosmetology license, the latter is still current. She worked for these licensures for her family, not for profit in a job or business. "We were so far from any services and the children would have minor accidents--well, sometimes not so minor." Indeed, one of the boys lost part of his vision from a freak accident involving a sharp tool. He was very lucky to recover almost 100% of his vision.

     Margaret really enjoyed being a homemaker but as the children grew she became more interested in teaching outside the home. She accepted a position with the Great Bend Public Schools as a para-professional for special education. Along with her work at the Fort during the summer, Margaret has become versatile with a plethora of experiences. Working at the Fort comes natural to a national park enthusiast like Margaret. She is professional, friendly, and an expert at visitor services, helping to orient visitors that walk the fort each summer. On the flip side, each year Margaret and her two sisters visit various national parks. This year they are headed to Washington D. C. to visit monuments and memorials.

     The next time you are visiting the fort notice the beautiful calligraphy in the Quartermaster Storage Building. And the front doors to the Visitor Center are boasting the script too. This is the painstaking-honed skill of Margaret! She advises, "It takes hours of practice to learn calligraphy. One must be very patient about learning the skill if you want to get anywhere." The staff at Fort Larned is very grateful that Margaret is patient about it. Her practice has paid off! It looks wonderful!

     When asked about her favorite memories of the Fort, Margaret does not hesitate, "When I got to work with Renie, we had a lot of fun ." Her daughter, Renie, was a ranger for several summers--and those summers Margaret will never forget.


Susan Ploger
Volunteer Roll Call: Susan Ploger
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     Fort Larned Volunteer Susan Ploger has a wide range of interests in history. The Kinsley resident says, "Living so close to Fort Larned, I can't help but love that era." She enjoys living-history events and helping visitors enjoy their visit to the Fort.

     Susan earned a Bachelor's degree from Southwestern College in Winfield and a graduate degree from Kansas University, both in history. Her primary study areas were American Colonial, English, and Russian history. After graduation she taught history in both Kansas and New Mexico.

     Susan felt strong ties to the terrain and ranching in New Mexico for a time. She grew up on a ranch in the area of Ashland, Kansas, and has preferred traveling west for as long as she can remember. In 1976 she and her husband John moved to Kinsley and raised their two daughters, Tara and Heather. Heather is a physical therapist in Kinsley and Tara, a nurse practitioner, has lived in Larned for the past ten years. Susan is proud of her ties to Larned and the Fort. Currently Susan is an agent for land titles and John is a land appraiser.

     A rewarding experience both Susan and John have enjoyed in the past was hosting exchange students in their home. They have successfully kept in touch with these students, now adults with children of their own. One exchange student, Jan from Sweden, is in the latest hit movie about the Tsunami, The Impossible, along with his young son Johan, who has a leading role. The film has won numerous awards.

     Susan especially enjoys the Fort's annual candlelight tour event. She does a great job "setting the stage and getting the visitors to the right place at the right time," as she puts it. Most of the other special events you can find Susan in period attire, often on Officers' Row, visiting with the officers' wives. Mostly, she enjoys strolling about the Fort and promoting our mission to visitors. Thank you Susan and all our wonderful volunteers for helping us further the mission of preservation and history coming to life!


Rodney Booth
Fort Larned Old Guard Roll Call: Rodney Booth
     Rod Booth, Lenexa, KS, is no stranger to Fort Larned, and he is a new member of the Old Guard. A native of Missouri who has lived in Kansas more than 30 years, he is retired from sales, finance, banking, and educational careers. He is a decorated U. S. Army Vietnam veteran. He earned degrees at the University of Missouri and Indiana University. Today he is a self-employed independent film producer, and one of his projects is a documentary about the Santa Fe Trail, including Fort Larned. A recent documentary film of his won a national award.

     He loves history and presents school programs in the Lenexa area-taking a historic wagon from the Lenexa Historical Society Museum to the schools to explain the story of the Road to Santa Fe. He has served on the board of the Lenexa Historical Society and was recently inducted into the Volunteer Hall of Fame for the City of Lenexa.

     The Old Guard welcomes Booth to membership and looks forward to his documentary film. The photo below shows him with the third-grade class at Rosehill Elementary School in Lenexa.

Post Commanders: Nicholas Nolan
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is fourteenth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
     Captain Nicholas Nolan of the 10th U. S. Cavalry took over from Major Meredith Helm Kidd as the post commander on March 27, 1868. He had arrived the previous summer with Company A of the 10th Cavalry, one of the first of the new "colored" troops authorized by Congress after the Civil War. Although there was racial tension between White and Black soldiers, conditions at Fort Larned were better for the Buffalo Soldiers (the Black cavalry units were commonly known as the Buffalo Soldiers) than they had been at Fort Leavenworth.

     Captain Nolan had command of 264 men when he assumed command of Fort Larned. The men included soldiers of Company C, 3rd U. S. Infantry (the Old Guard), as well as the troopers from the 10th U. S. Cavalry. The previous summer and fall had been a busy one for the post. Construction of the stone buildings had been fully underway, and the post had served as a staging ground for the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty. That had been followed by a fairly uneventful winter, but the spring and summer of 1868 were shaping up to be busy. By May 30, Captain Nolan had been replaced by Captain Henry Asbury.


Nicholas Merritt Nolan
     Although Cheyenne and Arapaho were at peace with their neighbors and the White people in their territory, the Kiowa and Comanche were apparently preparing to go to war against the Navajos. The soldiers at the Fort would be kept busy throughout the spring and summer with mail escorts by the infantry and patrols by the cavalry.

     The men of Co. A were mostly from Missouri and Kansas, as well as a few cities in the Northwest. With 96 men, they were actually one of the few companies at the fort close to the full 100-men regulation strength. These men participated in the daily routine at the post, which included work details and guard duty, as well as going on regular patrols. They even fought with Indians twice in 1868. One battle took place on October 26 at Beaver Creek, while the other was a 20-mile running fight on November 19 between Forts Larned and Dodge.

     Captain Nolan also helped them improve their shooting skills by purchasing ammunition with his own money so they could have daily target practice. At the time the Army did not allow ammunition, or time, for men to improve their shooting skills since it was something most men already knew how to do. While some of the men in Co. A were Civil War veterans who would have had some experience with guns, there were some former slaves in the company who would never have had a chance to hold a gun, much less shoot one, until now.

     By all accounts the men acquitted themselves well in battle and worked hard at whatever duties they were assigned. They also did their best to deal with the loneliness and hardships of frontier duty. For the men of Co. A those hardships were compounded by the racism that was common during that time. In fact, that racism would eventually lead to their transfer from the post.

     On January 2, 1869, the cavalry stables at the Fort burned, killing 39 horses and destroying the grain, saddles, and ammunition stored there. It's possible that it was the result of an altercation between three troopers from the 10th and some White soldiers from the 3rd Infantry at the sutler's store the day before. That's only speculation, though. The cause was never determined for sure since the post commander at the time, Major John Yard, chose not to investigate. Instead, he sent the 10th to Fort Zarah to avoid any more trouble.

     This incident would actually have an effect on Captain Nolan's career. Nicholas Nolan was born in Ireland on March 10, 1835, and came to the U. S. before the Civil War. He joined the Army in 1852, starting out as an artilleryman in the 2nd Dragoons. He eventually rose to the rank of First Sergeant before receiving a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 6th U. S. Cavalry. Lieutenant Nolan had a distinguished record with the 6th, being present for duty for most of the battles they fought. He was wounded twice, once lightly at the Battle of Fairfield and then seriously at the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House. He received two brevet promotions and numerous citations for gallantry and bravery in action.

     After the Civil War, Nolan accepted a commission as captain in the 10th Cavalry. Although there was some stigma attached to White officers who choose to command Black troops, the promotion opportunities were often better. Many officers waited 10 years or more for a promotion to the next rank, so some decided a little social stigma was worth the chance for quicker advancement.

     Despite his stellar record during the Civil War, Nolan had some trouble in the frontier Army. In January 1869 he was charged with inhumane treatment of the soldiers under his command and was ordered to appear before a board in Washington, D. C. to answer the charges, which were dismissed. In the same month, a Board of Survey convened at Fort Larned to investigate the circumstances of the cavalry stables' fire and assigned responsibility for the loss of the government property, valued at $5,085.93, to Captain Nolan. The recommendation worked its way through Army command channels until it was endorsed by Office of the Secretary of War, which ordered Captain Nolan's pay stopped until the amount was paid back. He would eventually be vindicated and have his pay restored.

     Nolan continued to serve in the Army, eventually becoming a Major in the 3rd Cavalry in December 1882. He died from an apparent stroke on October 24, 1883, at Holbrook, Arizona, at age 48. He was interred at San Antonio National Cemetery.

     The burning of the cavalry stables at Fort Larned, and the circumstances surrounding it, highlighted the difficulty the frontier Army had in integrating the African-American troops who chose a military career after the Civil War. More often than not, when trouble arose between White and Black troops, the Army's response would be to remove the Black troops from the area rather than deal with the situation. Despite these hardships, the Buffalo Soldiers served with distinction throughout the Indian Wars.


Spanish Lance Point
Spanish Lance Point Donated To The Fort
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
     Fort Larned received a generous donation of an authentic Spanish lance point from Pat Hall, member of the Old Guard. The Spanish government sent many expeditions through the plains between the mid-1500s and early 1800s and several of these expeditions passed through the Larned area. Somewhere along the way one of the soldiers lost his lance and after centuries in the ground all that was left was the iron point, which was dug up by a local farmer in the 1940s.

     Vasquez de Coronado led the first Spanish exploration to the Great Plains in 1541. He was looking for a golden city full of riches but all he found were the grass-covered huts of the Wichita Indians near present-day Lyons. He named the village Quivira and then returned to New Mexico, using a route that would later become a portion of the Santa Fe Trail.

     There would be no more officially sanctioned expeditions onto the plains until Juan de Onate, led a group of colonists into New Mexico in 1598. After establishing a new settlement, he sent groups out to explore more of the plains, even leading one expedition himself in 1601. He didn't cover any new ground, going only as far as present-day Wichita, but his was the largest expedition to venture out on the plains up to that point, and the first to use wagons while crossing the plains.

     During the 1700s the Spanish focused on military reconnaissance to counter foreign threats to their territory and opening trade relations with their neighbors. The last Spanish military group to venture onto the plains was led by Lieutenant Facundo Melgares who went in search of the increasing number of people from the United States who were intruding into the disputed territory known as the Louisiana Purchase. He was sent, in part, to capture the Lewis and Clark Expedition (which he failed to do) and visit Plains Indians. Melgares visited a Pawnee village in present Nebraska which was visited a few weeks later by Captain Zebulon Montgomery Pike's Southwest Expedition. Later, when Pike was detained in Mexico, Melgares and Pike became friends. During his travels on the Plains in 1806, Melgares left 240 of his troops with more that a thousand horses and mules camped along the Arkansas River for a couple of weeks a few miles southwest of present-day Larned. It is possible this lance point was lost by one of those soldiers.

     In 1821 Mexico gained its independence and Spain's influence on the North American continent came to an end. As is always the case in history, though, the decline of one nation usually leads to the rise of another. Spain's exit from North America opened the way for the United States to settle the vast plains region and acquire lands to the Pacific Ocean. The lance point, now on display at Fort Larned National Historic Site, is an artifact from that struggle for control of the region. Special thanks to Pat Hall for this generous donation.

Maintenance News
by William Chapman, Facility Manager
     Here are updates on several maintenance projects along with the progress of the new bridge.

     Bridge construction returned to full speed once the early spring snows abated. The foundation for the center pier is formed with reinforcing steel and is awaiting concrete. The fill for the parking lot and roadway continues to be delivered, placed, and compacted. Shortly, the gravel base will be installed.

     We have partnered with the Larned Correction Mental Health Facility for an additional crew of inmates to assist with the oxbow restoration. They began work April 16, which included chainsaw safety training held at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Arkansas Post National Historic Site has loaned us a Bobcat tractor with bucket and stump grinder attachments to assist with this work as well.

     We successfully burned six piles of tree debris from the oxbow restoration effort two years ago with the assistance of fire staff of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. We have also assisted them in a prescribed burn of grass lands.

     We completed some office space modifications in the visitor center. We have also repaired and painted walls in the barracks, hospital kitchens, and cooks' rooms.

Saving Plaster
     One of the biggest challenges of any preservation work is maintaining original fabric (plaster in this case) that is failing. Following is the process we use to save this fabric.

     We have a section of original plaster over a stone substrate in the cooks' room of the barracks that has detached from the stone. The area to be treated is approximately 3-foot square, there is a small section completely missing though most just detached and has pulled away from the stone.

     The process we use is an acrylic-based product to reattach the plaster to the stone. We prepare the wall and plaster for this product by removing loose debris from between the two surfaces by gentle compressed air and a vacuum. Then the plaster back and stone face are cleaned and conditioned with a solution of 25% Acrylic Polymer, 70% water, and 5% Isopropyl Alcohol. Immediately after completing the conditioning the acrylic binder is applied. Two to three squirts from a caulking tube (if filling through drilled holes). In this case we are filling the void and visually checking to see if we have applied a sufficient amount. Once this is completed pressure is applied to the plaster to clamp the plaster against the stone until the binder is cured.

     If we were working with plaster on wood lath application the process is different; a 3/16 inch hole is drilled every few inches along the edge of cracks and in the field of the loose plaster. Then the conditioner and binder are applied, a drywall screw with a plastic washer is placed in the hole and fastened to the plaster lath, thus clamping the plaster to the lath. After the binder has cured the screws and washer are removed. At this time gypsum plaster can be used to fill holes and cracks.


Failed plaster before preservation

Applying the cleaner/conditioner

Applying the acrylic binder

Little Red House Series, Part III
by David K. Clapsaddle
     In the previous installments, the relocation of the mess house from Fort Larned to a point which was to become the City of Larned was discussed. In August, 1872, George B. Cox occupied the building as Larned's first postmaster. How long Cox remained in that position is unclear. However, he shortly moved to newly-founded Dodge City where he partnered with A. H. Boyd to open the Dodge House, Dodge City's finest hotel.

     The ownership of the mess house is murky. It had several owners during 1872-1873. Two men, identified as Murray and Young, operated a saloon and dance hall in the building into 1873. It was during that period that someone shot through one of the saloon's windows, Larned's first murder. A Mrs. Beck was wounded and John Morris was killed outright. Mrs. Beck was taken by train to a Leavenworth City hospital; Morris's body was taken to what was known as the top of the hill, today's Fourth Street. Those who are familiar with Larned will readily recognize that from the location of the saloon near the Pawnee River, a rapid ascent from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Streets leads to 4th Street.

     Yet, another first was the wedding on September 15, 1873. The ceremony was conducted in the saloon/dance hall by the Rev. R. M. Overstreet. Miss Emma Post was united in marriage to D. A. Bright. At that time, the saloon was the domicile of Mr. Adams, president of Larned's school board. This writer has some claim to the old mess house as he now owns the home built by Norman Grove, grandson of Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Bright.

     Perhaps, the most notable first was Larned's school. Sixteen-year-old Isabel Worrell was recruited to teach Larned's school. Henry Inman described the saloon/dance hall as follows: "It was a long, low structure, standing close to the railroad track on a level little plateau remote from the so-called 'center' of the town, and had served, during the incipiency of the place, as a resort for the lowest element. Now, when a more moral class, whose members came 'to stay,' demanded its better uses, it was converted into a school-the only available building for that purpose. One half was occupied as a residence, and the other, a single apartment only 20 feet square, was the schoolroom. This room, which was in front of the building, possessed two large windows, one on each side of the wide door. These were of 'stained glass'-stained with white paint and dirt. They were also decorated with crude inscriptions, on yellow and red, the whole forming a unique and startling combination of letters, when considered in connection with the use of which the place was now devoted. The letters were, probably, nine inches long, and it was the daily amusement of the smaller scholars, who were just beginning to put words together, to spell out in shrill, childish treble-'s-a-l-o-o-n, saloon!' followed by a general discussion on the signification of the strange legend. The room was very low-ceilinged, covered on every side with what had once been gaudy, cheap, flowered paper; but was now smoke-begrimed, torn and hanging in mouldering shreds from the brown board that formed the walls and roof of the hastily constructed shell. The black and dirt spotted floor seemed never to have known aught of water or broom, and one corner was an ineffaceable bloodstain, where a man had been deliberately murdered during the initial days of the weird building's checkered history.

     "The desk used by the teacher through two consecutive terms, per necessity, because of the poverty of the people of the district, was what had been the bar over which had passed innumerable glasses and gallons of beer, whisky, wine and all the other vile decoctions known to primitive frontier civilization, the tastes of which were not those of the connoisseur, but demanding something that had 'a searching effect'--more of the nature of sulphuric acid, perhaps.

     "Her chair, too, was an abandoned beer keg, and the seats of the scholars were rough boards resting on beer kegs for supports. There were no maps, no blackboards, no globes, no library, no bell, no register; there was absolutely nothing that would convey to the stranger that the gloomy looking place was a school room were it not for the presence of the determined young teacher, only 18 years old, surrounded by her patient scholars.

     "Suspended over her unique desk by buckskin thongs was a breech-loading rifle, while from a peg hung a waist belt of cartridges, a curious adjunct to the simple curriculum it will be thought-nor were they intended facetiously, as symbols of 'teaching the young idea how to shoot,' but for literal use by the brave girl who had charge of that pioneer school, and she could handle that rifle effectively, too, if occasion required."

     Inman drew from second-hand sources for his account. Perhaps, Isabel Worrell's article is more enlightening.

     "September 23rd, 1873, I began the first school in the county in that front room. There were thirteen pupils the first morning, and the number was increased to thirty-two before the term closed in December. No teacher ever worked harder to earn thirty-three and a third dollars per month. The august superintendent, Captain Booth, nearly frightened the senses out of me when I appeared before him to answer as to my capabilities for the onerous and honorable position, and when he finally 'supposed that I would do,' he told me to hunt up a school room and go to work. So 'I hunted' that big front room with a broom, concentrated lye and scrub brush. I believe I borrowed the last two from Mrs. Frank Elliott who had purchased the last installment brought to the one little store in the town. A case of tomatoes, two sacks of flour, a barrel of molasses and samples of other necessaries of life were all that the 'storekeeper' could afford at that time. He was probably afraid that the styles in groceries would change before he disposed of his stock.

     "That school room looked awfully bleak and bare on that first Monday morning. I had no desk, so I passed behind the bar, above which two frightened eyes were about all the thirteen children could see of their even then tall teacher. The formidable director and county superintendent were on hand to see that I started off in good style. They commended my ingenuity in supplying school furniture and then left me to my fate. The big boys, and there were two or three of them larger and older than myself, sat on beer kegs. The very little ones sat on board laid over big flat stones brought from the hill close by. Of course I had no blackboard or bell, and every child was in a class by itself because no two sets of books were alike. The walls of the room, hung with wall paper of fantastic figure, and this loosened by dampness and age, hung in cobwebbed festoons rustling in the soft autumn wind. The canvas ceiling was mildewed, dust-stained and malodorous. Bullet holes were numerous. With the snakes and lizards that made that section of the townsite their habitat, stampeding Texas cattle, the dread of Indians who never came and of cowboys who came every day--the saloon had been placed almost on the trail to accommodate thirsty cowpunchers--the children and myself lived in constant dread.

     "One hour I rescued some mother's darling from the old well nearby and the next yanked a venturesome kid from under the hoofs of a Texas steer. Sometimes prairie fires singed the clothes of my pupils, as they came from their homestead homes, and again a sudden blizzard would call upon our hospitality to shelter a frightened brood till anxious parents cold come for them. Despite the drawbacks and discouragements, the fatal thirteen and all the rest, the school prospered. Early in October Dr. Wampler sent up some benches which he had brought with his goods from a dismantled church in Illinois, and somebody loaned me a bell. This was quite an acquisition as the nearness of the Pawnee often tempted some of the larger boys to overstay the noon hour fishing."

     By the way, the building known as the sutler's mess and Murray and Young dance hall was first called the Little Red House by Isabel Worrell.


On May 21, 2013, third graders from Northside Elementary School in Larned visited the Little Red House
for a program presented by David Clapsaddle and Ellen Jones.
Here Clapsaddle is speaking from the front door of the Little Red House.
Photo courtesy of Michael Gilmore.


Zach Voelker

Zach Voelker, Volunteer Gardener
     Zach Voelker, Larned High School freshman, decided a project outdoors would be the best way to spend a beautiful weekend afternoon. He assisted the Fort Larned staff with planting the officers' row vegetable garden. Zach has been a Junior Ranger and park volunteer since 2011. Although he doesn't like to eat vegetables much, he does enjoy planting seeds and various other projects at the Fort. He plans to assist with the weeding and watering over his summer vacation. Thank you Zach, for contributing to Fort Larned and to your community!

Fourth Graders Challenged By Fort Larned
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     The Fourth Graders from Northside Elementary School in Larned have proved they can tackle a challenge with determination and success! The challenge was a Treasure Box and Essay contest presented by the staff of Fort Larned National Historic Site. The contest was introduced in conjunction with one of the Fort's Traveling Trunk Programs called the Tale of Two Towns. The program consists of listening to a story, written by volunteer Dr. David Clapsaddle, and examining objects that connect to the story. The story is about the beginnings of the Santa Fe Trail trade route as seen through the eyes of an eleven-year-old boy living in Franklin, Missouri.

     At the program's conclusion all 78 students were given a small cardboard box. The students could decorate their box however they wanted, but the "treasures" had to be what a child might find along the Santa Fe Trail in 1821. They had two weeks to spend on their treasure hunt and contemplating the meaning of those items. Then they were assigned to write an essay describing their treasures and how such items connect to the Tale of Two Towns story.

     The assortment of items found was interesting: turkey feathers, bird's nests, arrowheads, rocks, and shells--to name a few. Some of the boxes were decorated to look like a covered wagon, others like treasure chests. The boxes and essays were judged by two educators from USD 495. It probably was not an easy task being a judge because, in the end, there could only be three winners--one from each Fourth Grade class.

     At a special assembly in the Northside gymnasium the winners were announced and their essays read aloud. The three students were awarded a $20 gift certificate to spend at the Fort Larned gift shop. We congratulate Ethan Haas and teacher Jennie Erway, Andreas Tucker and teacher Blake Ploger, and Halle Barker and teacher Doug Anderson. The staff at Fort Larned considers all the students winners because they used their creativity and honed their writing skills by participating in the project!


Park Ranger Ellen Jones, right, announcing the winners
of the contest at Northside Elementary School.

Indian Material Culture Conference At Fort Larned September 2013
by Ken Weidner, Conference Host
     The 2013 Material Culture of the Prairie, Plains & Plateau Conference at Larned and Fort Larned, September 19-22, with the theme "Historic Tipis and Daily Camplife."

     The Thursday and Friday meetings will be at the Larned Community Center. It has a nice 700-seat auditorium with modern sound and PowerPoint system. It also has a full-size basketball court where vendors can set up display tables.

     Thursday will be registration and vendor setup. Thursday evening will be open for socializing and vendor shopping.

     Friday will be formal lectures all day, with lunch and supper on your own. Evening hours will bring more socializing and vendor shopping.

     Saturday the conference will move to Fort Larned National Historic Site. We will hold more lectures in the Quartermaster Warehouse, which was built in 1867. There will also be a small Cheyenne-Sioux tipi village of the 1860s time period set up at the fort. Well, I'd better clarify this and state that the participants are very dedicated white re-enactors. Various lectures and hands on activities will be held here. Some of the things planned include games, traditional foods and cooking, travels and horse packing, etc.

     The Fort Larned Old Guard, will serve lunch of hamburgers and brats so we don't have to drive to town to eat. We will have pizza delivered for an evening meal. To end the day, the evening will be spent hanging out in tipis and talking about Indians.

     Sunday an auto tour will be arranged to visit the Cheyenne-Sioux village site on Pawnee Creek. This village was captured and burned by General Winfield Scott Hancock, and it is here that Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer learned that you have to try to surprise the Indians in their village. This is a lesson he learned well and resulted in the Washita and eventually. . . the Little Bighorn. The village site is a very beautiful spot in the middle of the prairie. If you read My Life on the Plains, you'll see Custer describe this location in exact detail. I recommend William Chalfant's recent book, Hancock's War, to acquaint yourself with this incident and the general area.

     Please check the website at {www.mcppp.org} for registration information and additional details.

New Memberships
Fort Larned Old Guard welcomes the following new members (*designates life membership):
     Rodney P. Booth, PO Box 15328, Lenexa KS 66285
     Kit Carson Farwell, 6000 Burnside Landing Dr., Burke VA 22015
     * Stanley & Janet Crawford, 1809 200th Ave. Larned KS 67550
     Kathleen Foster, 2010 N Jefferson, Hutchinson KS 67502
     * Ron & Karla French, PO Box 473, Tipton OK 73570
     * Glenn & Carol Pearsall, 1187 Garnet Lake Rd N, Johnsburg NY 12843
     Wesley & Shirley Radcliffe, 330 W Hwy 4, Hoisington KS 67544
     * Mike Rogers, 2121 Rustic Circle Terrace, Edmond OK 73013
     Joan Weaver, 1588 P Rd, Lewis KS 67552
     * Janis Whitham, PO Box 877, Leoti KS 67861
     * David & Alice Clapsaddle, 215 Mann, Larned KS 67550, upgraded to life membership.


Fort Larned National Historic Site Aerial View

     The Old Guard offers this photo of Fort Larned National Historic Site, full color printed on canvas (approximately 12" x 36"), plus handsome frame, ready to hang on your wall for the price of $110 plus shipping. For more information or to order contact Fort Larned Old Guard Treasurer Leo E. Oliva at {oliva@ruraltel.net} or 888-321-7341. Credit cards accepted: no shipping charges if picked up at Fort Larned National Historic Site.

Event Calendar
     July 4, 2013: Special programs at the Fort, including presentations about the Frank Baldwin sword, Medal of Honor, and weapons used at Historic Fort Larned

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

     October 12, 2013: Annual candlelight tour at the Fort

Deadline For Next Issue: August 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.

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) Re-enactors 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.




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