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

Material Culture Conference Held At Fort Larned National Historical Site
by Park Ranger Ellen Jones and Conference Director Ken Weidner
     The Material Culture of the Prairie, Plains and Plateau made Fort Larned their home base for their 2013 Plains Indian Seminar, September 19-21. Over 60 people attended from as far away as Germany and with good representation from a total of 18 states. The first full day featured special speakers and PowerPoint presentations at the Larned Community Center's auditorium.

     Presentations included the following topics: History of Cloth Tipis; Two Crow Painted Tipis; Animal Effigies in Art; Southern Plains Trade and Traders; Sioux Buffalo Hide Tipi; Dog Travois; Southern Plains Men's Leggings; Northern Cheyenne Ledger Art; Lakota Tipi Etiquette. Art and textiles were displayed along with a large painted Crow tipi in the adjacent room. On Saturday the seminar continued at the fort. Several tipis (see above photo) and a Council Lodge were set up on the north side of the Visitor Center and barracks. The tipis featured mid-1860s furnishings. There was a hand-sewn Kiowa tipi, patterned after an original in Oklahoma State Historical Museum, as well as a handmade brain-tanned buffalo hide tipi on display. More lectures and PowerPoint programs were held in the Quartermaster Storehouse.

     As the day progressed to a beautiful sunny afternoon, activities commenced to the grounds north of the Visitor Center. Bison stew was cooking over a primitive fire while two Plains Indian women demonstrated the making of pemmican. Other samplings of traditional foods were prairie turnips, stuffed guts, blood pudding, and stewed chokecherries. Indian games were introduced by Curtis Carter. Other presenters during the seminar included: Matt Reed, Allen Chronister, Scott Brosowske, Linda Holley, Ken Weidner, Peter Gibbs, Barry Hardin, Denise Low, Rich Edwards, and Bruce VanLandingham.

     On Sunday the group took a field trip to the Cheyenne Sioux Site on the Pawnee Creek about 30 miles west of the fort. The village was captured and destroyed by General Hancock in 1867.

     Tribes represented at the seminar include Kiowa, Cheyenne, Lakota, Otoe, Menominee, and Pawnee. This group started as an offshoot from a Plains Indian Seminar held in Cody, Wyoming, about 12 years ago. Their objective is the study of the material culture which includes items such as beaded clothing and jewelry, tomahawks, hides, parfleches, and any household item fashioned and used by the tribes.

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
What A Year!
     I will start with the obvious and then put it to rest. One would rather talk about the positives and what a great year we had. We were disappointed that the government shutdown resulted in the cancellation of the Candlelight Tour. The Candlelight Tour is the yearly highlight for many. We always have a large group of volunteers and the public comes out in droves. Once again, the tours "sold out" the very first morning reservations were offered. The next day the shutdown hit. Chief Ranger George Elmore was ready to go in a moment's notice, but it was not to be. We remain positive and look forward to next year's event.

     Now for the excitement. . . What a Great Year the Fort and the Old Guard had! Here are some highlights.

     * After years of studies, planning, and perseverance, the new parking lot and historic bridge are complete. The old bridge on the north side was dismantled. Access to the fort is now from the west side. This approach mirrors the original entry point to the fort. Positive comments about the prairie vista one sees while walking across the bridge are common. It gives a feeling of the vast openness that existed around the fort in the 1860s.

     * The Old Guard, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Historical Society, hosted the Kansas premier of the Daughters of Dawn movie at our spring Mess & Muster. The day featured excellent programs followed by a tremendous turnout at the Larned Community Center for the movie. You might say we got the "director's cut," as Vanessa Jennings, Matt Reed and Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, gave a running commentary during the movie. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

     * The Old Guard purchased and donated two-time Medal of Honor Recipient Frank D. Baldwin's personal engraved sword to the fort's museum. Lieutenant Baldwin served at Fort Larned during the 1870s. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at Peachtree Creek, Georgia, during the Civil War and McClellan's Creek, Texas, in 1874. There are only 19 two-time Medal of Honor recipients in U. S. history. What a coup!

     * Another major donation was made to the Old Guard this past year. Mildon and Ida Yeager along with David and Alice Clapsaddle donated the Sibley Campsite to the Old Guard! We plan on dedicating this site at our spring 2014 Mess & Muster. There will be more information about this site in the next Outpost.

     * The Old Guard helped sponsor the reprinting of 30,000 more Fort Larned Rack Cards. Who would have thought? The original 26,000 cards flew off the racks!

     * The Old Guard Board served "Lunch in the Barracks" for the Material Culture of the Plains Symposium. It was well received and helped the Old Guard get their name in front of new guests. We also generated $500 for our treasury.

     * The fort received another interesting and significant donation in the past several weeks. John and Mary Clair, Archbold, Ohio, donated an original Fort Larned tintype photo along with numerous original documents from John's great-grandfather Claude Clere (note spelling change). I will touch on these items in this issue.

     On a final note, we once more say "Thank You" to all Fort Larned Old Guard members, volunteers, and staff. We have the best Indian Wars fort in the country. Your dedication and donations help bring the fort to life for our guests. Thank you!


Betty Boyko
Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko
     Betty Boyko is currently serving as acting superintendent at Fort Larned National Historic Site. She is superintendent at Fort Scott National Historic Site at Fort Scott, Kansas, and has been for the past seven years.

     As the interim Superintendent at Fort Larned National Historic Site, I am so pleased and grateful to be working with such a great group of employees and volunteers. During my first week at the Fort, I was given a guided tour by Chief Ranger George Elmore. I was not only impressed with the site's structures and furnishings, but also by the many interactive experiences provided to the public through regular living-history demonstrations and programs provided by the many volunteers and employees.

     I have also had the pleasure of observing and experiencing the outstanding relationship between Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Fort Larned Old Guard. As the park was faced with making some very difficult funding decisions, the Old Guard immediately offered their assistance. Although the park's annual Candlelight Tour had to be canceled due to the government shutdown, planning for this event would not have continued without the support offered by the Old Guard. It is partnerships such as this that makes our jobs, as keepers of our nation's treasures, so enjoyable.

     I would like to thank the many partners and volunteers for your commitment to Fort Larned and for so faithfully sharing of your time and talents. I look forward to meeting, and working with, as many of you as possible. Have a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Fort Larned Receives Significant Historical Donation From John & Mary Clair
     Fort Larned National Historical Site received an interesting and significant donation from John and Mary Clair of Archbold, Ohio. The donation includes ten original documents and an original tintype photo of three soldiers standing beside the barracks. All of the items belonged to John's great-grandfather, Claude Clere (note different spelling). Claude Clere was postmaster at Fort Larned during the late 1870s and early 1880s. He was born in June 1836 in France and died September 1, 1881. His headstone is in the Larned Cemetery.


Claude Clere Headstone
A few key documents are:
     * Claude Clere's appointment as Corporal of Company F of the Veteran Reserves Corps of the 12th Ohio Regiment, dated and signed July 1, 1865.

     * War Department Quartermaster General's Office form dated October 22, 1874, ordering 12 scrub brushes and 18 corn brooms for Fort Larned. This document also carries a Department of the Missouri Stamp of October 28, 1874.

     * A contract with John W. Dorsey & Co.--sub-contracting U.S. Mail Route #33127 from Fort Larned to Hodgeman once a week, July 1, 1878, to June 13, 1882.

     * Payment receipts and expense forms for various Fort Larned postal transactions.

     * Bill of Sale for the Stone Sutler Store and Adobe building in the rear upon the Military Reservation of Fort Larned, KS, dated April 8, 1880. Price of $400. Signed by two witnesses with a Pawnee County Register of Deeds Stamp and Embossed Seal. (Note/Emphasis: This is the Bill of Sale for the stone sutler's store at Fort Larned. This was the first stone structure built at the fort.)

     Now for the photo, a copy of which was printed in the Winter 2013 issue of Outpost. The fort now has the original tintype. It was taken from the west end of the enlisted men's barracks facing east. There are three soldiers in a casual pose standing with their rifles. In the background, the photo shows for the first time that the eaves underneath the porch were not enclosed. They were in fact open. Chief Ranger George Elmore said this had been an item of discussion when the porch was reconstructed. Not having any authentic documentation, it was decided to enclose the eaves. Now we have proof they were not enclosed. See how important one simple photo can be and what it can reveal. There is also a small structure just north of the shops buildings. It is still to be determined what this is.

     Recently the Clairs donated additional documents to Fort Larned. Thank you to the Clairs for thinking of Fort Larned and making this significant donation! In recognition, the Old Guard has named John and Mary Clair and their daughter, Cheryl Reser of Goddard, KS, life members of Fort Larned Old Guard.

Fort Larned Roll Call: Karl Grover
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     We feel very fortunate at Fort Larned because we have an astronomer on our staff! Although seasonal Park Ranger Karl Grover will quickly say he is an amateur, not an expert-his passion for the night sky is contagious. On the evening of November 2 an adventurous group of star grazers benefited from Karl's knowledge and enthusiasm for astronomy. Using the large digital telescope the fort owns, he was able to show 16 participants the planets Venus, Uranus, and Neptune. Star constellations were a real high "light" that night too. We viewed the seven sisters and the owl-both clusters of stars in the constellation Taurus. We also viewed a nebula and another galaxy called Andromeda. The evening was perfect for star gazing and two of the participants brought their own telescopes. But clearly it was Karl who opened a whole new world to us.


Karl Grover
     When Karl began volunteering at Fort Larned in 1994 he was able to develop another passion of his--History! It wasn't long before he applied for a seasonal position and was hired to work some weekends and all our events as a fort history interpreter. You will find him portraying a private or occasionally an officer at our events. He has been the officer in command at the Blockhouse during a couple of Candlelight events. If you attended one of those and heard a firing shot in the vicinity of the blockhouse, it came from Karl (not real bullets).

     Karl attended college on the GI Bill after serving three years in the army. The Montana State University graduate has another passion in life--Waterfowl! Both his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees are in Wildlife Management and his partiality to ducks landed him a great opportunity with the State of Kansas in 1986. He is currently manager of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area. He admits it's very unusual to get a management position fresh out of college. He probably thanked his lucky stars!

     Karl is fond of saying, "If you see a fork in the road, take it." His journey certainly has defined his interests! He is an avid runner, a Western and Military enthusiast, and he reads. He reads a lot!

     Karl has presented several stargazing programs at Fort Larned. He has been an amateur astronomer all his adult life but was introduced to the hobby as a child. His father worked for the weather service in North Platte, Nebraska, and followed weather balloons. This sky watching activity just naturally segued to a curiosity of the bright celestials for the whole family. Karl was able to pass down that same curiosity to his children. He is married to Cathy and they have two children, Carol and Ben.

     One of Karl's most exciting moments studying the night sky was seeing the transit of Venus a couple of years ago. Venus crossed the disc of the sun which won't happen for another 120 plus years! If you ask him what's happening in the world of astronomy these days he will let you know about Ison Comet. The Ison Comet is now visible with binoculars about 45 minutes before sunrise. You can find the comet in the region of the constellation Virgo which is in the East to Southeast of the sky. It gets brighter and brighter as November fades into December, so it's not too late to check it out!

     Good advice from a guy with a busy life. He loves to say, "It ain't over until it's over!"

Volunteer Roll Call: John Jones
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
     John Jones of Chattanooga, Tennessee, volunteered at Fort Larned, September 1-30. He stayed in the post commander's quarters and spent his volunteer time greeting people in the Visitor Center and telling them about the Fort's history.


John Jones
     John has always been fascinated by the Plains Indians and when he found out this year's seminar on the Material Culture of the Plains, Prairie, and Plateau Indians would be at the Fort the weekend of September 19-22 he just had to attend. As he was making his plans, though, finding accommodations was difficult until a friend told him about her volunteer experience here at the Fort. John got in touch with the volunteer coordinator, George Elmore, and the rest, as they say, is history.

     Although John has done lots of volunteering through "regular" outlets such as his church and civic organizations, this was his first time volunteering for the National Park Service, and he absolutely loved it. There were two things about the experience that John found particularly appealing: meeting people who went off the beaten path to find and explore Fort Larned and the absolute stillness and solitude at the fort once the sun went down.

     "It's obvious people find this place a wonderful experience," he said. "I never heard any negative comments---everything was positive. I always heard terms like 'unique' and 'well preserved.' It was great being able to help people learn more about a great national treasure tucked away in this little corner of south central Kansas."

     Another reason John wanted a chance to volunteer was the opportunity to spend time in this part of the world. He loves to travel and has moved around most of his life. His career path was in international banking, which took him to some fairly exotic locations throughout the world, but he said that he found traveling around the back roads and small towns in Kansas every bit as interesting to him as any foreign location he's explored in the past.

     Although he was raised in Texas, John now lives in Chattanooga with his wife. His daughter and her husband live in the house across the street with their children, so they get to see their grandchildren grow up. His son also lives in Chattanooga, which makes John feel blessed that he has his family around him. That won't stop him from going on another Park Service volunteer adventure just as soon as he can find one that matches the experience he had at Fort Larned.

Fort Larned Old Guard Roll Call:
Bill & Susan Bunyan

     We are retired elementary school teachers from Dodge City, who have a great love of history and Kansas. We helped start the Meade County Historical Museum which opened in 1974, having both served on the board. We are members of the Meade County and Ford County Historical Societies as well as life members of the Santa Fe Trail, Bill has served as president of the Dodge City/Fort Dodge/Cimarron Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail in the past and is currently back serving as president. Bill is a life member of the Kansas State Historical Society and served a term on the board of directors. He served 18 years on the Boot Hill Museum board.


Bill and Susan Bunyan Dodge City, Kansas
     We were both pleased to serve as members of the hosting chapter for the 2011 Santa Fe Trail Symposium. It gave us lots of opportunities to meet and visit with other like-minded Kansas history and Trail enthusiasts.

     Travelling Kansas as members of the Kansas Explorers Club has been a passion since we retired in 2000. Bill ate a hamburger in every Kansas county, followed by eating a steak in each of the 105 counties. Currently we are both going to all the remaining soda fountains in the state (39) and have visited 19 so far.

     We are life members of Fort Larned Old Guard and believe Fort Larned is one of the great places in Kansas to visit and learn more about our rich Kansas heritage.

Post Commanders: Dangerfield Parker, John E. Yard, and Others
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is sixteenth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
     Captain Dangerfield Parker, 3rd U. S. Infantry, assumed command of Fort Larned from Major Henry Asbury in September 1868. He came with a company of the 3rd Infantry, and Major Asbury and Company B of the same regiment went to Fort Dodge. Over the next two-year period there would be eight different commanders at Fort Larned, and Captain Parker would be put in charge four different times for a total time in command of approximately a year and half during this period.

     Captain Parker's total command at this time was 110 men from both the 10th Cavalry and 3rd Infantry. At some point in September the Indian Agency at Fort Larned was closed and moved to Fort Cobb in present Oklahoma. This was partly due to a more warlike activity among the Cheyenne and Arapaho along the Santa Fe Trail that summer.

     Captain Parker decided, with Plains Indians in a state of unrest, that it would be wise to hire a scout or two to keep tabs on the Indians around the Fort. He asked for $75 a month to hire two scouts but ended up hiring one for the same amount. The scout he hired, William Cody, not only received $75 a month; he was also furnished with a riding mule, saddle and bridle, although he did have to supply his own weapons.

     On November 1, 1868, Captain Parker was replaced by Major John Edmund Yard, only to reassume command on March 20, 1869. In a little over a month, though, in May of that same year, Captain James Aiken Snyder was placed in command, only to be replaced in a month by Lieutenant Charles Louis Umbstaetter. By July Captain Parker was back in charge again and remained as post commander until December. The reasons for such quick changes in command at the frontier posts were (1) the commanding officer was away from the post briefly on other duty or (2) whenever a higher ranking officer arrived, he would assume command of the post and the replaced officer would resume his company command duties.

     While he was in command of the post, Major Yard would be the first post commander to occupy the newly-completed sandstone post commander's quarters that fall. He would also be the post commander who had to deal with the rising racial tension between the black troopers of Company A, 10th Cavalry, and the white soldiers of the 3rd Infantry. These tensions eventually resulted in an altercation at the Sutler's store on January 1, 1869. Instead of trying to figure out who was at fault, though, Major Yard apparently blamed the men of Company A and sent them to guard the post woodpile during a blizzard. While they were away from the post the stables caught fire and burned to the ground. At this point, Major Yard decided the best way to handle the problems between the men was to send Company A to Fort Zarah.


Dangerfield Parker
     During the fall and early winter of 1868 more trouble with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians prompted District Commander Major General Philip Sheridan to organize a winter campaign against the Indians. He planned to have three columns of soldiers converge on them in Indian Territory: one coming east from Fort Bascom, New Mexico; one heading southeast from Fort Lyon, Colorado; and the third and largest unit going south from Fort Dodge. The main force, comprised of 11 companies of 7th Cavalry and five companies of infantry accompanied by a large supply train, set out from Fort Dodge on November 12, with General Alfred Sully in charge. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer commanded the 7th Cavalry during the winter campaign

     Over the previous few months there had been plenty of Indian trouble in the area of Forts Larned and Zarah to keep the garrisons at both posts busy. Part of Fort Larned's small garrison was placed standby to assist with the upcoming winter campaign, while Company A was on constant escort duty. In order to make sure the traffic along the Santa Fe Trail stayed safe from Indians most of the trains moved at night. Before he was replaced by Major Yard, Captain Dangerfield hired six more scouts to help keep the post commander informed of the Indians' movements and activities, especially when they came near the post. This made it possible to post extra guards around the corrals, stables, and any other place the Indians liked to strike if they saw an opening to do so.

     The expedition led by Sheridan and Custer that winter eventually resulted in an attack on Black Kettle's camp, the Battle of the Washita, on November 27, where not only warriors but many women, children, and old men were killed, including Black Kettle and his wife. Prisoners were taken to Fort Hays. The other survivors fled the area and, although there was no more fighting that winter, the stage was set for renewed hostilities in the spring.

     During the winter of 1868-1869 a wooden bridge was built over the Pawnee River at Fort Larned (the 2013 reconstructed bridge is located on the original site), and with all the sandstone buildings completed, the few civilian mechanics and employees still around were relieved and sent away. Major Yard also requested another infantry unit be sent to the Fort because by the middle of November he had only four senior enlisted and 30 privates available for duty. This was definitely not enough soldiers to guard the haystack, protect the quarry and wood details, never mind actually providing escorts for the wagons.


John E. Yard
     The garrison faced a particularly cold winter that year, prompting Major Yard to allow an issue of an extra half allowance of fuel for the post to keep the soldiers warm. The ice was so thick on the Pawnee that large chunks were regularly cut out and stored in the ice house.

     By March Captain Parker was back in command for two months but, without cavalry and only 117 infantrymen, he told his supervisors he would not be escorting any wagon trains that ignored the order to use the Wet Route of the Santa Fe Trail. By this time, only military supply wagons were passing through Fort Larned. Commercial freight was sent via the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division (Kansas Pacific Railway) to end of track at Sheridan, Kansas, and from there by wagon trains to New Mexico.

     In May Captain Snyder was placed in command once again, only to be shortly replaced by Lieutenant Charles Louis Umbsteatter in June. By July Captain Parker would be back in command again.

     Throughout the hot summer of 1869 the soldiers attempted to grow company gardens, which did fine until rain and hailstones in June and high winds in July flattened them. And to top off the failure, the blistering heat of August sucked them all dry. The soldiers on guard duty did get some relief from the heat when they were allowed to report for duty in their blouses instead of their dress coats. This helped to keep them a little cooler.

     September brought cooler temperatures, as well as less to worry about with the Indians now that most of the area tribes had been sent to reservations south of the Arkansas River. There were other problems to be dealt with, including an outbreak of fever, vermin infesting the enlisted barracks, and figuring out a safe place to store the fort's ammunition supply. On a good note, the post surgeon noted that so much ice had been cut the winter before there was enough for everybody to have some, even those soldiers in the guardhouse.

     By December, Captain Parker was replaced for about a month by Captain Snyder. At the same time another company of the 3rd Infantry arrived at Fort Larned, bringing the total of that regiment in the garrison up to 111. Captain Parker was back in command by January 1870 and would remain as post commander until October of that year. By February he received 60 new recruits, bringing the garrison total up to 191 men. The winter remained relatively quiet and Indians were now very rare in the area since most of them had been driven farther south to Indian Territory.

     With the arrival of spring the soldiers once again went about the task of planting gardens, this time taking precautions to protect the plants from both wind and drought. The men from Company C built a sod wall around their plot and put in a pump to irrigate the plants if the need arose.

     In May 1870, apparently thinking about the coming summer heat, Captain Parker sent a request to his superiors for permission to use what could essentially be called a summer uniform for the soldiers. He proposed straw hats, flannel blue blouses with "shoulder straps pertaining to the rank of the wearer," and white trousers. His superiors turned his request down, ruling that the standard uniforms for both officers and enlisted men were to be worn throughout the year.

     Dangerfield Parker was born in New Rochelle, New York, on May 23, 1832, and raised in the area. He entered Army service just prior to the start of the Civil War and quickly rose through the ranks from second lieutenant in April 1861 to captain in October 1863. He participated in most of the major engagements of the Eastern Theater, including Battles of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He received a brevet promotion to major for gallantry and meritorious service during the Battle of Gettysburg. Parker chose to make a career of the Army the war and went on to spend much of his time on the frontier.

     After leaving Fort Larned, Captain Parker would eventually be promoted to colonel in 1886, the same year he was forced to retire because of his age. In 1904, a special act of Congress promoted him to the rank of brigadier general. He died at the age of 92 in Washington, DC, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

     Captain Parker commanded Fort Larned during a period when Indian activity was still relatively high, though it would quickly die down once many of the area tribes were moved to reservations. By the summer and fall of 1870 things were relatively quiet, with the main worries being illness outbreaks and chasing deserters. In October of that year, Captain Verling Kersey Hart replaced Captain Parker as post commander.

Maintenance News
by William Chapman, Facility Manager
     During the past four years maintenance has rehabilitated more than 40 windows on five different structures and preserved countless others. One of the things we have found during this rehabilitation work is that each structure has some variation in its profile of the milled woodwork; also that each structure's windows have differing jointer techniques used in assembled window sash. We overcome these differences by creating molding knifes for each variance. We match jointer techniques when performing repairs and documenting existing joinery techniques on window sashes needing replacement. On some window sashes that were fastened together with nails we have replaced them with mortise and tendon jointer techniques.


Shawn Calkins
     In October, during the government shutdown, park maintenance worker Shawn Calkins was temporarily promoted to the vacant Maintenance Mechanic position. Shawn will be working as the water plant operator, responsible for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems and fleet maintenance. Shawn has been on staff at Fort Larned National Historic Site since 2004 and has been promoted from custodial laborer to a maintenance worker. We all know how much Shawn is appreciated with his support of special events and the everyday maintenance of the park.

Civil War in the Midwest
Temporary Exhibit at Fort Larned

by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
     Mention the Civil War and many people immediately think of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant battling over the rolling hills of Virginia between Washington and Richmond. They might also envision Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, or Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley.

     These players and places are only a few of the many other events that were happening during this four-year period in our history. Besides the fighting going on in Virginia, there were armies and battles in Tennessee, Missouri, and Mississippi, just to name a few. And while the action in the East was important for political reasons, the real strategic victories were won in the Western Theater. The reason more people are familiar with the fighting in the Eastern Theater is because, according to Missouri historian Dr. Lewis E. Meador, "The Civil War was won in the West, but the histories were written in the East."


Portion of Civil War in the Midwest Exhibit
     A new temporary exhibit at Fort Larned highlights the strategic importance of the Midwest during the Civil War. This three-part exhibit gives an overview of the reasons we went to war, how the soldiers from the Midwestern states experienced the war outside of Virginia, the importance of the resources and waterways of the Midwest to both sides' war effort, as well as the impact of the devastating guerilla war between the Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers in Kansas and Missouri.

     There will also be a special program about the Civil War in the Midwest on Sunday, November 24 at 1:30 pm in the visitor center theater. Come and find out about the "other Civil War" outside of Virginia and the Eastern seaboard and how control of the rivers, land and resources in the trans-Mississippi region determined the war's outcome.

     This temporary exhibit was produced by the National Park Service and is traveling to different parks throughout the Midwest region to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It will be at Fort Larned until January 1, 2014, after which it will go to William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Christmas Past at Fort Larned, December 14
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
     The smell of baking pies and cakes, a warm fire on the stove, eggnog, Christmas carols and a carriage ride on a cold, brisk day. These are some of the things that make up an old-fashioned Christmas and, fortunately, they are also things you can experience when you attend the Fort's annual Christmas Past celebration on Saturday, December 14, 1:00 to 4:30 pm.

     This year we're bringing back our popular "Taste of Christmas Past" theme with desserts from the 1860s. We'll be offering baked goods that an officer's wife, laundress, or even servants might have made for their families or for the soldiers in the enlisted barracks.

     We'll also be doing things a little differently this year. As we've done for the past two years, we'll have tours of scenes in some of the historic buildings, including the barracks, hospital, blacksmith's shop, and north officers' quarters. Unlike in years past, though, we won't be offering an evening program in the hospital. We will have an old-time movie playing in the Visitor Center theater throughout the afternoon, and, as an added bonus there will be carriage rides if the weather permits.


Scene from a Previous Christmas Past Celebration at Fort Larned
     Come on out to the fort between 1:00 and 4:30 pm on December 14 and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a frontier Christmas.

Fort Larned Old Guard Annual Mess & Muster, April 26, 2014
     The Fort Larned Old Guard annual Mess & Muster is scheduled for April 26, 2014. Please get this on your calendar now and plan to attend. Everyone is welcome to enjoy an afternoon and evening of programs at the Fort.

     Events will start after lunch with a short program at the Sibley Campsite in Larned, property recently donated to the Old Guard by Mildon & Ida Yeager and David and Alice Clapsaddle. The rest of the program will be at Fort Larned National Historic Site, with presentations during the afternoon about the Civil War on the Santa Fe Trail and at Fort Larned, retreat ceremony, dinner, brief membership meeting, and a special program on Civil War music presented by J. C. Combs, retired professor of music at Wichita State University.

     Watch for additional details and reservation information in the next issue of Outpost.

Kaw Mission at Council Grove Presents Series on Indians of Kansas
     Kaw Mission State Historic Site in Council Grove will present a series on Indians of Kansas next spring that will be of interest to Old Guard members and anyone interested in the history of Kansas.

The schedule of dates, speakers, and topics:
     March 23 - James Sherow-Kansas State University History Professor-"Plains Indians of Kansas"
     April 6 - Tricia Waggoner-Kansas State Historic Society Highway Archaeologist-"Investigating Fool Chief's Village"
     April 27 - Leo E. Oliva-Kansas Historian-"Understanding the Defeat of the Plains Indians in Kansas"
     May 4-Donald Blakeslee - Wichita State University Archaeologist-"Products of the First Kansans"
     June 1 - Ron Parks-Author and Kanza Historian-"The Darkest Period: The Kanza and Their Homeland, 1846-1873." Book review and book signing of Ron's new book.

     For more information, please contact Mary K. Honeyman, Site Administrator, Kaw Mission Historic Site, 500 N. Mission, Council Grove, KS 66846, 620-767-5410 or {kawmission@kshs.org}.

Kinsley Library Plans Another History Series
     Joan Weaver, director of Kinsley Public Library, has announced another series of history programs this coming winter, funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council. The library hosted a special series on the Civil War in 2012 (which included a session at Fort Larned National Historic Site).

     The next series will look at Kansas Trails and Rails, with programs about overland trails across Kansas, the railroads that replaced them, and the cattle trails and cow towns that followed. Meetings will be held from 2:00-5:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons, January 12, February 9, March 9, and April 6.

     Additional details and enrollment information will be available on the library website early in December at: {www.kinsleylibrary.info}. Anyone interested in the topic is welcome to enroll and attend as many sessions as possible.

     The Old Guard extends congratulations to the staff and board of Kinsley Library which was recently recognized by the Kansas Library Association as "2013 Best Small Library in Kansas." Library Director Weaver and Librarian Rosetta Graff are both members of the Old Guard.

Retirement Ceremony At Fort Larned
by Sam Young, Park Volunteer, & Joy Thompson
     Fort Larned was the site of the June 15, 2013, retirement ceremony in honor of Colonel Kimberly A. Thompson, U. S. Air Force Reserve. This ceremony was a first for Fort Larned, but it was a very unique reunion for Colonel Thompson because of his connection with Fort Larned many years ago. Following are Colonel Thompson's responses to several questions posed to him about Fort Larned.

What was your early contact with Fort Larned?
     "I grew up in Larned when the Fort was in private hands as the Frizell Ranch and visited it on many occasions, including school field trips.

     "As a young man in the early 1970s, I took a one-year break from College (Kansas State University) for financial reasons. I interviewed with a contractor to help with the initial restoration of the barracks at Fort Larned. At that point, they were one continuous barn. It was necessary to remove the roof, lower the wall height, and make it into two separate historic structures. That first effort was major heavy construction. When we started, there were no porches and the roof was wrong. We reroofed, weather proofed, and built the porches.

     "In 1975, I took another break from college for financial reasons and hired on with the National Park Service as a Wage Grade employee. I worked at Fort Larned for nine months on the Quartermaster building and the South Junior Officer's Quarters. I was a lead carpenter, working for the restoration architect. I translated his instructions and plans into actual work. It was historic carpentry work, adaptive reconstruction, and recreation. The Park Service's architect specified the processes. For instance, he studied the plans of two forts with similar layouts, taking the best of both for techniques and processes.

     "During this second restoration effort, we carefully removed windows, paint, and varnish to find out how they made the curve cuts. Doing as little damage as possible, we carefully took apart original construction, then documented the deconstruction, answering such questions as 'What joints did the original builders use? What ways did they cut, with or against the grain? What kind of wood was it? Where did it come from?' It was time consuming, requiring patience and being very careful. If a process took three hours, that was OK. I was paid to follow the process and assist in that documentation.

     "When we rebuilt the porches, we tried to use similar techniques as originally used. So we didn't use big routers, but asked 'How can we recreate this with the same effect?' We documented use of historical tools. I also worked on a lot of windows and doors.

     "The north wall of the South Junior Officer's Quarters was falling in. We had to stabilize it as we didn't want to lose the original wall. Following the Park Service plans, I constructed a retaining system. That project took up most of my time through the winter. We saved the wall. It now looks like it did when first built."

Why did you choose Fort Larned for the retirement ceremony?
     "There were several reasons. The first was my support to the Army as a joint service (Air Force and Army) qualified engineer. I had multiple deployments with joint forces, specifically 3rd Army in Iraq, 8th Army in Korea, and the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan. My team also augmented the Pacific Command joint force general officer headquarters staff in support of actual operations and exercises. This included supporting the Japan tsunami relief effort from headquarters based in Hawaii. Additionally, many of the Air Force enlisted members on my team had prior service in the Army. And when I was in ROTC at K-State, we had activities at Fort Riley.

     "Another reason was the distance and situation at March Air Force Base in California, from which I retired. Half of my team there was deployed, so the hail and farewell party (when the military welcomes new members to the unit and bids farewell to those departing) was minimal. I served 21 years of duty in Wichita, Kansas, at McConnell Air Force Base and so wanted those engineers I served so long with to be able to travel somewhere closer. We used the occasion of my retirement to also celebrate my 60th birthday and hold what I hope was the first of many reunions of the 931st Civil Engineer squadron.

     "The Army has a long sense of tradition when compared to the Air Force, a younger service. Engineers also have a strong sense of tradition that goes way back. As a military engineer and a senior officer, joint trained, my sense of tradition is strong, and so a retirement at Fort Larned appealed to me because it reinforces all the historical connections between the Army and our engineers. As military engineers, we are 'ground pounders.'

     "Two of the people who really wanted to help me celebrate included one of the reserve chiefs I served with and his spouse, a retired Army Sergeant Major, so there's another Army connection. My spouse (Joy) has a close friend, Ellen Jones, a Fort Larned Park Ranger. When she suggested a ceremony that included retiring of the colors by Fort Larned staff and volunteers dressed in period uniforms, we were sold on the idea."

What is your perspective on the ceremony itself?
     "The overall ambiance of the venue was wonderful. The staff and volunteers helped everybody that participated and helped usher our guests into the area where the ceremony was held. Their sense of military traditions, added to an atmosphere ambiance of esprit de corps. The period uniforms with period living historians added realism.

     "A lot of our friends and family hadn't seen a flag ceremony before. The soldiers in period uniforms, the bugler playing Retreat and To the Colors, retiring of the colors, discharge of the cannon-these all added to the atmosphere leading up to dinner. Our guests were able to participate in the retreat, and then, just like military members, they ate in the same chow hall as did soldiers who served at the Fort in the past and in a building I helped restore. The Fort's staff and volunteers mixed with our guests. They were hospitable hosts, and we enjoyed a relaxed meal together.

     "It was great that our guests got to view the Fort's displays before the ceremony began. They were able to get a feel for military life. It was bleak, but there are still similarities, the barracks, group assembly, and period costumes created a military ambiance."

What are your thoughts on Fort Larned today?
     "I'm happy knowing the Park Service has taken the time to restore the Fort as close to its original form as possible, especially the reconstruction of the octagon blockhouse. There was nothing left of the blockhouse, even back when I started working at the Fort. It was completely missing. The blockhouse stored gunpowder and critical supplies, and was a last line of defense if the Fort was attacked. It was an essential part of the Fort. The location of the original well is there. The Park Service did a very good job; it's a complete recreation.

     Past meets Present, June 15, 2013, at the reception for Kim Thompson (right), who retired as Colonel of the Air Force Reserve. Fort Larned Volunteer Forrest Williams is on the left, portraying an enlisted man of the 3rd Infantry, Company C, US Army.

     "The frontier history being maintained at Fort Larned is essential. The displays explain how wood was scarce for building an open garrison. Life on the prairie, with sand hills and river bottoms, where people hunted, farmed, and ranched, should be understood in this modern era. It is essential to understand what our ancestors went through. We need realism when thinking about historical places and events. There is nothing like being there. Understanding hangs on attention to detail to preserve that part of history. The period costumes added a nice touch.

     "Our military tradition is to hand to the next generation of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines our past. What I've done becomes history, that's what we do. Fort Larned's living history preserves our own military traditions, lineage, and history the way a Company photo does. It's part of our heraldry. Units come and go, flags are raised and lowered. It's important to preserve history correctly rather than allow Hollywood movies to do the retelling."

     The Fort Larned staff and volunteers who supported Colonel Thompson's retirement ceremony enjoyed the opportunity to share with 21st Century Airmen and Soldiers what it was like to be officers, soldiers, and officer's wives stationed at Fort Larned in 1867-1869. We look forward to seeing Colonel Thompson and his wife, Joy, back at Fort Larned in the not too distant future. And we wish them well in their retirement.

Rough Riding On The Plains (continued)
by Robert Morris Peck
     (Peck's memoirs of life at Camp on Pawnee Fork, which became Camp Alert and then Fort Larned, continue with his account of escorting mail on the Santa Fe Trail during the winter of 1859-1860. He told about one escort party that dug up the grave of Kiowa Chief Pawnee, who had been killed and buried near Peacock's Ranch at Walnut Creek. He described what they found:)

     The outfit consisted of a bow and couple of dozen arrows in a bow case and quiver, made of a panther's skin, dressed whole-head, tail, feet and all; a tomahawk, the poll or back of the little hatchet being hollowed out for a pipe; some moccasins and leggings of buckskin, nicely ornamented with beads and porcupine quills; some silver disks worn on the scalp lock; and a shield.

     This shield was a combination arrangement. The main part of it was a circular piece of very thick rawhide (evidently taken from the neck of the skin of some old buffalo bull), about two and a half feet in diameter, and one inch thick. This was loosely covered by a heavy buckskin, drawn over the shield, and its edges puckered on the inner side by a drawstring. This side (the side to be held next the body) was supplied with a couple of stout loops, one to be slipped over the forearm as far as the elbow, the other to be held in the hand. Under the buckskin cover, on the outside, and between it and the rawhide shield, were found several scalps-either put there for safe keeping or to pad the shield and make it more impervious to bullets or arrows. There were seven scalps, if I remember correctly, four of them apparently Indian or Mexican, two of sandy-colored hair that must have been taken from the heads of white men; but the one that attracted most attention had long, golden, curly or wavy hair-certainly from the head of a white woman.

     Who this woman could have been; whose wife or sweetheart or sister how she had fallen into the hands of this fiendish wretch, or in what manner, and under what circumstances she had been cruelly murdered by him, were unanswerable questions conjured up by the sight of this mute witness.

     These scalps were dressed on the flesh side and stretched on little hoops. Some of them were ornamented with rough designs in paint or porcupine quills. Whether these crude drawings were intended as a record of the history of the scalp, or merely for aimless decoration I never learned.

     The men of the escort had divided these trophies among themselves, as Crowly said, "to remember the old fellow by."

     The next escort going west, or to the Santa Fe Crossing with a mail, had similar experience to our former trip, in finding and burying a murdered emigrant family. They had taken the river road this time, and found the bodies of a man, a woman and little child. Their wagon was standing on the road, and the "signs" indicated that they had been attacked and killed while traveling. Their team of horses had been taken away, as also everything about them or their wagon that the Indians could make use of.

     The harness had been cut off the horses and left lying around in pieces. The bodies had been stripped naked and shockingly mutilated and scalped. A little dog-still alive and unhurt-was guarding the bodies of the woman and child, which lay near the wagon, and his energetic efforts had succeeded in keeping the coyotes away from these; but the man's body, which was several rods off, had been badly torn by the wolves.

     Crowly, who gave me the particulars of this affair, said it was heartrending to hear the whining and howling and see the demonstrations of sorrow manifested by this faithful little animal. He seemed to know that the men of the escort were friends, as he ran to them, looking up into their faces and whining piteously, and then ran to the mangled remains of his dead friends, as though imploring aid for them. And when the men gathered around the bodies the little dog howled so mournfully and looked up into their faces so imploringly that he seemed to ask, almost as plain as words could speak; "Can't you do something for them? Can't you restore them to life?" Then he would lick the face of the dead woman or smell of the nostrils of the little child, his playmate, and seemed frantic to find no sign of life.

     The woman was apparently about 25 years old, of good form and features, except that her expression was slightly marred by the facial blush known as a "hare-lip."

     Crowly says such scenes have settled an important theological question in his mind. He used to doubt the existence of a hell in the hereafter, but he sees now that it is an absolute necessity--else what could God do with such fiends as these Kiowas?

     When the men dug a grave and began to cover from the sight of the little dog all that was left of his dear friends, the little fellow nearly went wild, jumping into the grave and out again and fighting them so that they were compelled to tie him to the wagon till the job was done.

     When the party was ready to start on Crowly caught the dog and tied him inside the escort wagon among the men, to take him along, well knowing that he would starve if left there, but before they had got a mile on the road the little fellow got loose, jumped out and ran back. Several days later as the party came back down the road on the return trip they found him lying on top of the grave of his friends, dead, but faithful to the last. He had remained at his post till he had either starved or frozen or died of a broken heart; who knows?

     The next escort padding that way noticed that the grave had been opened and the bodies removed, little dog and all. (Nearly two years afterwards, as I shall tell further on, I learned who had taken them up, and a great deal more about this unfortunate family. (to be continued)

New Memberships
Fort Larned Old Guard welcomes the following new members:
     John and Mary Clair, 404 High St., Archbold, OH 43502
     Cheryl Reser, 15506 W. Hendryx, Goddard, KS 67052

Event Calendar
     Dec. 14, 2013: Fort Larned National Historic Site Christmas Open House, 1:00-4:30 p.m.
    April 26, 2014: Fort Larned Old Guard annual Mess & Muster.

Deadline For Next Issue: February 1, 2014

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 Indian 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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