Remarkable Fundraising Project Completed
Thanks to the challenge issued by Glenn and Carol Pearsall to match all donations up to $5000 received by the Old Guard during the past year, the results exceeded everyone's expectations. A summary of grants and donations is reported here, plus the names of those who contributed and made this a successful fundraising campaign.
Glenn & Carol Pearsall Challenge Grant, $5,000
Ticket to Ride Grant, 2013-2014, $4,000
Golden Belt Community Foundation Grant, $367
Kansas Humanities Council Grant, $1,483
Ticket To Ride Grant, 2014-2015, $8,00
Total Grants: $18,850
Cash Donations for Matching Grants: $6,992
In-Kind Donations for Matching Grants, $10,340
Mess & Muster Silent Auction, $2,037
Total Grants and Donations: $38,219
Anonymous, Rex & DeVonne Abrahams, Gary Anschutz, Janet Armstead, Ben Bailey, Bill & Susan Bunyan, John & Mary Clair, David & Alice Clapsaddle, Craig Crosswhite, Ruth Eastin, Rich Edwards, Dr. & Mrs. L. E. Fairbairn, Dr. Mark Fesen, Aaron Fisher, Kathleen Foster, Michael & Betsy Crawford Gore, Rosetta Graff, Donald Kistler, Steve & Margaret Linderer, Fred Marra, Joseph Meany, Jr., Richard Merrell, Larry & Carolyn Mix, Salvatore & Annette Morreale, Colleen & James Newman, Leo & Bonita Oliva, Glenn & Carol Pearsall, Bruce & Linda Peters, Reed & Ruth Peters, Felix & Linda Revello, Mike Rogers, Steve & Glenda Schmidt, Harold & Janice Shank, Clive Siegle, Sherrie Smith, Pat & Douglas Springer, Mike Strodtman, Greg & Joanne Vancoevern, Bill & Cathy Weber, Ken Weidner, Janis Whitham, Mildon & Ida Yeager, Sam & Ella Young, Tim & Ann Zwink.
Thanks to everyone who made this possible. If we missed anyone who donated, please contact Leo Oliva to get the records corrected.
Thank you David and Alice Clapsaddle, Mildon and Ida Yeager for your donation of Sibley's Camp!
On April 9 Fort Larned hosted a very special Larned Chamber Coffee Hour. The event was used to surprise Chief Ranger George Elmore with a celebration of his 40th anniversary of working for the National Park Service at Fort Larned National Historic Site (he has served at the fort more than twice as long as it was an active military post). Fellow employee Celeste Dixon arranged the coffee hour, including having a special cake made for the occasion and making sure George's many friends from among the Old Guard and the Fort Larned volunteers had a chance to attend.
Over 75 people from both the Larned Community and from out of town attended as a testament to how admired and respected George has become over the years. Acting Superintendent Betty Boyko opened with a few remarks about George starting out as a young man. Celeste followed with a "top ten" list of things that were still happening when George started at Fort Larned, some of which were "Custer was still a cadet" and "wooly mammoths still roamed the Great Plains." The "roast" concluded with Old Guard member Leo Oliva, one of George's former teachers, and park volunteer (and former college classmate) Mark Berry both regaling the crowd with stories of George from his younger years.
The Old Guard extended special thanks to George at the Mess & Muster dinner, including a commission and life membership in the Old Guard. Thank you George for many years of outstanding service.
Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
Congratulations to every Old Guard Member and Friend of Fort Larned!
We had a tremendous response to the Pearsall Challenge Grant!
Glenn and Carol Pearsall's offer to match $1 for $1 up to $5000 all donations received over the past year has really paid off for the Old Guard. When the Pearsalls approached the Old Guard in late 2012, I was leary we would be able to come up with the matching funds. I guess I was selling the membership and friends of Fort Larned short . . . way short! Through cash donations, in-kind donations, donations to the Mess & Muster auction, and additional grants received, the Old Guard generated $30,000! Add in the Pearsall's $5000 and a surprise announcement from Glenn that his company, UBS, would add another $2500, and we saw $37,500 in contributions. WOW!!! I am still in shock.
The cash funds are going into savings to be used at an appropriate time, not unlike the opportunity we had when we purchased the Baldwin sword for the fort's museum. We also have long-range plans for Confrontation Ridge and the route Hancock took to the Indian Village. The Old Guard continues to look for ways to support Fort Larned and give our visitors and guests a wonderful historic experience.
Now, how about Mess & Muster this year? What a celebration! We started off the day with the acceptance and dedication of Sibley's Camp in Larned. Mildon and Ida Yeager and David and Alice Clapsaddle donated the site to the Old Guard. Thank you very much! The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail provided refreshments and David summoned enough strength to give a nice overview of the site's history.
We proceeded to the fort for three excellent presentations in the Quartermaster Storehouse. Dr. Leo Oliva spoke on "The Santa Fe Trail and the Civil War." Dr. Timothy Zwink presented "Fort Larned and the Civil War," and Park Ranger Celeste Dixon talked about "Fort Larned Officers during the Civil War." It was all a prelude to an outstanding evening program on "Civil War Music," presented by J. C. Combs, retired music professor at Wichita State University.
Dr. Combs combined original instruments, beautiful violin music recorded by his son in Nashville, along with rousing instrumentals and first-rate drumming that was as entertaining as it was educational. I would pay to see another one of his presentations in a minute. It was one of those "experiences" you hate to end.
Several people were also honored at Mess & Muster. Old Guard Commissions were given to Glenn and Carol Pearsall, Sam and Ella Young, Janet Armstead, and George Elmore. Sam and Ella have donated a lot of time and a tremendous amount of furnishings for Officers Row. Janet retires from the Board after serving six years in various positions, and George was honored for, well just about everything. George celebrated 40 years at Fort Larned earlier this year. If you want to get a "discussion" going, ask George how many years he has "worked" at Fort Larned. Ha!
The last honoree of the evening was William Chalfant Memorial Award recipient, Ron Drummond. Ron is a volunteer extraordinaire at the fort. I think he has been there since Indians roamed the prairie. He is a master woodcrafter and has built many of the wood items around the fort. From limber to wagon, from boxes to coffins, Ron put his master's touch on everyday items. Where would we be without volunteers like Ron?
Well, enough already. Can you tell I am proud? The Old Guard is a great organization. I thank each and every one of you for being a member and helping this place come alive. If you are not a member we would welcome your participation. Hope to see you at the fort this year!
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.)
In my first "Superintendent's Corner" (Autumn 2013 edition), I stated that I "had the pleasure of observing and experiencing the outstanding relationship between Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Fort Larned Old Guard." If you read the Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column in this edition of the Outpost, you will understand why I made that statement, and why I echo it. All around Fort Larned you see examples of the partnership between Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Fort Larned Old Guard, probably the most prominent being Frank Baldwin's personal sword. I am extremely excited to see the awesome results of the $5,000.00 challenge grant offered by the Pearsall family. Thank you Fort Larned Old Guard from all Fort Larned National Historic Site staff.
We all know the Kansas winds blow strong, especially at Fort Larned. Recently there was an exception--they were super strong and out of the north! Two new (high resistant wind) flags were blown to shreds. We all hope those winds mark the end of winter as summer activities at Fort Larned are in the final planning stages. It should be an exciting living-history period working with our friends and volunteers through regular living-history demonstrations and programs provided by the many volunteers and employees.
After a four-year stint on active duty in the Coast Guard from 1975-79, Dan joined the Army Reserve, eventually retiring in 2012. Since getting out of the Coast Guard Dan has worked at both state and national park sites in Wisconsin, Oregon, and most recently Kansas. He's been a maintenance technician for the Department of Defense, which mainly involved working on heavy equipment, has done general custodial work at Apostle Islands National Seashore and here at Fort Larned, has managed campgrounds for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the City Shell Lake. During the winter when he's not working at Fort Larned Dan drives a school bus.
Dan has been a wonderful addition to the Fort Larned staff but unfortunately he'll be leaving us shortly. He is retiring from the Park Service after 25 years of accumulated federal service. He plans to continue working though and will be back with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources managing the camp ground at Big Lake State Park. He's moving back to Wisconsin from Oregon so he can be near his parents and children. He's also looking forward to cooler summers! He has enjoyed his time here saying, "I've worked with a swell bunch of people and the variety of work helps keep things interesting."
Dan has been married for almost 40 years and has six children and eight grandchildren. When he's not at work he enjoys working on old cars, playing the saxophone, singing gospel music, and teaching Sunday school. He says that Oregon is a great place to live because the weather is temperate, but you can drive to any type of climate you're looking for within 100 miles.
Volunteer Roll Call: Forrest Williams
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
There's a very interesting young man who looks and acts like a soldier at Fort Larned. He attends all the events as a volunteer, and appears to look as if Fort Larned is his real home. Forrest Williams, a junior in high school, is the son of Bill and Tracy Williams of Ellinwood. He has been fascinated with Army history ever since he was five years old!
Forrest enjoys third person interpretation. He likes to describe to visitors what enlisted men experienced--guard duty, the conflicts, free time, and the camaraderie. He reads about military tactics, especially how the Civil War was fought.
Talk about a chance of a lifetime! Recently Forrest took part in a 3-day reenactment at Gettysburg National Military Park with the 2nd Colorado regiment. He traveled there in a college van and ended up participating in his favorite battle in history, Little Round Top. He found himself within feet of an old washed up canteen that turned out to be an artifact of the Civil War era.
Soon to be a senior in high school with graduation on the horizon, we wondered if he planned to study History in college. Having many different interests in life, he has decided to keep his love of history a hobby. He plans to attend Barton County Community College for two years and then transfer to Western University in Gunnison, Colorado. There he will study forestry conservation.
In the meantime Forrest will work three part time summer jobs and enjoy volunteering at Fort Larned. When asked why he likes the fort so much he quickly answers, "It's so well preserved and I appreciate accuracy." Be sure to visit with Forrest at any one of our upcoming spring and summer events.
To learn more about volunteering at Fort Larned call George Elmore at 620-285-6911.
Post Commanders: Richard Irving Dodge
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is eighteenth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
By the time Captain Verling Hart transferred from Fort Larned in 1871 and turned the post command over briefly to Captain James Snyder, Third Infantry, activity was slowing down considerably at the post. Although only in command for a month, Captain Snyder initiated a post beautification program by having the soldiers plant live trees in the place of torn out tree stumps around the parade field. In March Major Richard Irving Dodge arrived from Fort Lyon to take command of the post while Captain Snyder went to Fort Hays as a court-martial witness.
Richard Irving Dodge was born in North Carolina in 1837. His father, James R. Dodge, was from New York, while his mother, Susan Williams, was from North Carolina. Dodge started his military career as a West Point cadet on July 1, 1844. Upon his graduation four years later he was commissioned Brevet 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th U. S. Infantry, then headed west for over 10 years of duty on the frontier, serving at various frontier military posts in Texas from December 1848 to 1855. On March 3, 1855, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. On May 3, 1858, he transferred to West Point where he served as an Assistant Instructor of Infantry Tactics until November 1, 1860.
When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Lieutenant Dodge was stationed at Fort Wood, NY. He chose to stay with the Union rather than resign his commission and fight for the Confederacy as many southern-born officers would do. On May 3, 1861, he was promoted to Captain, 8th Infantry. During the war he held mostly administrative posts related to recruiting and disbursement, although he did participate in the First Battle of Bull run on June 1, 1861. He was promoted to Major of the 12th U. S. Infantry on June 21, 1864, and to Brevet Lieutenant Colonel on March 30, 1865, for "meritorious and faithful services in the recruitment of the Armies of the United States."
He continued in a recruitment and disbursement capacity in Pennsylvania and New York until February 1867 when he was transferred back to frontier duty at Fort Sedgwick, Colorado Territory, as part of the 30th U. S. Infantry. On March 15, 1869, he was transferred to the 3rd U. S. Infantry and then placed in command of Fort Lyon from October 12, 1869, until February 23, 1871. He was transferred to Fort Larned where he assumed command on March 13, 1871.
Events at Fort Larned throughout the spring and summer of 1871 were relatively mundane matters. Such things as duty changes, anticipating the prospect of a good harvest from the company gardens, or escorting a representative of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad were punctuated by a few exciting incidents.
In March, around the time Major Dodge assumed command, 41 soldiers deserted from the post. It was also around the time the paymaster arrived at the fort and might have had something to do with the fact that not only was their monthly pay reduced to $15 but they also suffered a reduction in their clothing allowance. Lieutenant Thompson took a squad of men out to look for the deserters but was unable to find them.
The following month a Private Mickey came on guard duty after spending time in the sutler's bar. When he talked out of turn the sergeant hit him on the side of the head with his rifle butt. He was taken to the post hospital where Surgeon Laing determined that he was indeed drunk but did not worry too much about him since he appeared lucid enough to answer questions. By the next morning, though, he was dead and an autopsy showed that he had a fractured skull.
May saw the post sutler, Henry Booth, start participating in activities that would eventually earn him bad marks for his time as the post trader. The first offense credited to him was selling liquor by the drink to both civilians and enlisted men without first getting the permission of the post commander. He would later have the commander's permission to sell alcohol between "guard mount" and "retreat."
Although mostly absent from the area for a while some Indians made an appearance in the area around Fort Larned in June. They ran off 14 horses and mules from some local ranch owners who lived four miles east of Fort Larned. On the north branch of Pawnee Fork another band of Indians ran off 70 mules. Reports of a large number of Indians camped at Medicine Lodge Creek 70 miles south of Fort Larned, prompted Major Dodge to ask for a cavalry company to deal with the situation. He had only 97 men from the 3rd U. S. Infantry at Fort Larned, hardly a force to go after mounted Indians raiding the countryside.
Residents in the Walnut Creek area near abandoned Fort Zarah spoke with 400 Pawnee warriors traveling with women and children, who said they were heading south for a meeting with Comanche. They told the residents that they lived in peace with the whites.
By July 9, 1871, Major Dodge had been called away to special duty in New York and command of the post passed to Captain George E. Head. He would return to frontier duty the following year to command Fort Dodge. He was one of the founders of Dodge City. His remaining Army career would involve a series of commands and assignments on the frontier. He would command various posts in Kansas, Nebraska, and Indian Territory, as well as participate in several campaigns against the remaining plains Indians. He commanded more of the remaining military posts in Kansas than any other officer. He wrote several books about his experiences on the frontier, and these remain important sources today, including Our Wild Indians: Thirty-Three Years Personal Experience Among the Red Men of the Great West. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on March 15, 1869, and to Colonel of the 11th U. S. Infantry on June 26, 1882. Colonel Dodge retired on May 19, 1891, and died on June 16, 1895.
Although it would be another seven years before the Army closed Fort Larned, by the summer of 1871 it was obvious from the Fort's records that the Army had very little to do in the area around the post. The appearance of Indians was now a rarity instead of a regular occurrence and events at the post were more concerned with mundane daily routines instead of chasing and fighting Indians or escorting wagon trains.
Ticket To Ride Program
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
The National Park Foundation (with funds from Disney Corporation) and The Fort Larned Old Guard have supported the transportation needs for Kansas students through the Ticket to Ride Grant program. The interpretive staff at Fort Larned applied for the grant last year, asking for and receiving $4,000, becoming grantees in the extremely competitive program. Fort Larned Old Guard agreed to match that amount and the program has made a great impact on the school field trip season at the fort.
By way of this funding we have assisted 12 schools, 11 school districts, and over 800 students! Our school partners this year are listed by their community: Halstead, Larned, Spearville, Garden City, Russell, Cimarron, Kinsley, Offerle, St. John, Hudson, Dighton, LaCrosse, and Atwood. The cost to transport students for most school districts in Central Kansas is about $2.25 per student. Schools from the west like those in Garden City also charge per mile. It certainly adds up. Defraying the cost of transportation is the only way some schools can visit Fort Larned as we have heard directly from several teachers. Some schools were only able to participate in the Kids' Fitness Program this year because of the grant money.
The Ticket to Ride program for this year is completed. An application was submitted for the 2014-2015 school year, with a request to double the grant and the number of students to be served. We just received word that the grant of $8,000 has been awarded for this coming year. Regional schools will be contacted to participate in this grant program.
We are preparing for new education programs with the assistance of a teacher from Great Bend USD 428. With a dedicated interpretive staff and a teacher's expertise, Fort Larned's education programs will be better tailored to the goals set by Kansas State standards Fort Larned's school programs have always been impactful, powerful, and engaging, but we will be wise to keep up with new generations of students in the 21st Century!
Larned Northside 4th Graders Create & Write
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
Historian David Clapsaddle and Park Ranger Ellen Jones were astounded at how creative the students at Northside Elementary can be! The Fourth Graders were challenged to a contest after hearing the story of Box Elder in David's book, I Heard the Coyote Howl. They each made a parfleche similar to the one described in the story and wrote an essay about the main character Box Elder.
I Heard a Coyote Howl is the story of a twelve year-old boy named Box Elder, a Cheyenne resident of the Cheyenne/Sioux village located thirty miles west of Fort Larned in 1867. Central to the story is the destruction of the village by U. S. Army troops. Though Box Elder is a fictional character, the account of the army's attack is true to the historic record. The character Box Elder had just killed his first buffalo calf so he thinks he's old enough and brave enough to fight with the men of his village. One student wrote, "I could never do what Box Elder did."
The students were asked to relate to the character in some way. Several students wrote about what they would pack in a parfleche in case they had to escape like Box Elder's people did. We read some interesting choices! One student wrote, I would pack clothes and Dr. Pepper." Another wrote, "The first thing I would pack would be some entertainment."
The parfleches were all constructed with designs that were beautiful. Just like the Plains Indians the students chose geometrical shapes using three different colors. The variety that came from this project shows how unique each student is! The teachers hung all 60 parfleches (20 per class) in the hallway of the school. Visitors to the school could spot the bright colors right away.
Chosen from each class was one outstanding parfleche/essay by a student who was recognized with the gift of a book by Paul Goble, Home of the Nomadic Buffalo Hunters. In teacher Doug Anderson's class the winner is Samantha Haney. In teacher Jennie Erway's class the winner is Brayson Bird. In teacher Crystal Schmidt's class the winner is Cleighton Haney. Every student has been recognized for participating with a pack of Fort Larned Collectible Trading Cards.
What could you do if you had needles, thread, awl, and knife, and you knew how to use them?
Those were your basic tools if you were a cavalry saddler in the Army during the Indian wars, or, if you were a civilian, contracted by the Army as a saddler. Either way, there was never an end to the work you would be doing when you consider that the Army's survival and duty performance depended on leather. Without the saddler's tools and skills, cavalrymen would lack the means to properly repair their saddles and bridles as well as leather harness for the horses, mules, and/or oxen needed to pull wagons for the large quantities of food, forage, ammunition, clothing, equipment, medicine, and other requirements for them to accomplish their mission.
A cavalryman, when he joined the Army, was issued uniforms, boots/shoes, underclothes, leather equipment, and weapons that enabled him to perform his duties. He was also issued a horse. It was each cavalryman's responsibility to maintain what he was issued. Most of them had a "house wife," a small pouch containing thread, needles, and buttons for basic uniform repairs which they did themselves or had repaired by another cavalryman. But when the leather items needed repair, it was the saddler who received the work.
In the garrison environment, cavalrymen had access to saddle soap, neatsfoot oil, rags, and water with which to maintain their leather equipment that was basically kept out of the weather. Saddle repairs were easier to perform because the saddler had most of the necessary tools as well as scrap leather to make the repairs. Sewing was done by hand as sewing machines were not available at the western forts. If necessary, the item to be repaired could be replaced with a new one from the quartermaster.
However, the cavalry spent days, weeks, and even months in the field where the effects of sun, rain, mud, dust, smoke, ice, heat, and cold could rapidly deteriorate leather and the thread used in sewing the leather, making it unserviceable. Cavalrymen, due to a lack of space in their saddlebags, did not carry the items to maintain their leather equipment. The saddler was also limited on what he could carry in the way of tools to make repairs. As a minimum, he carried needles, thread, awl, and a knife. Most repairs were quick fixes, for example, using a stirrup strap to replace a girth or cutting a piece of leather from a saddle skirt or fender to splice torn leather back together. Since frequently horses would die or have to be abandoned and the tack left behind, the saddler would strip off what was useable that he could carry to make repairs.
Typical duties of a cavalry saddler included repairs to saddles, bridles, halters, and other leather equipment found on the cavalryman's horse; harness used by horses and mules when pulling wagons; packsaddles used by horses and mules to transport supplies and equipment; and leather belts, holsters, rifle slings, boots, and shoes. Additionally, he would repair the canvas of tents and wagon covers, leather on the blacksmith shop's big bellows, and anything else made of cloth or leather. He also made items such as looped cartridge belts, dispatch cases, and items which either he designed or others requested, based on need or want.
Elizabeth Custer, wife of Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer, in her book Boots and Saddles, wrote of their move to a new duty station: "The saddler appeared, and all our old traps (luggage) that had been taken around with us so many years were once more tied and sewed up." Mrs. Custer also talked about the saddler sewing carpets together in the officer's garrison quarters. In the field, whether moving to a new duty station or accompanying her husband with the 7th Cavalry, their quarters was usually a tent. She said one very cold day the saddler cut a hole in the canvas roof of their tent and lined it with zinc to keep the canvas from catching on fire from their Sibley stove pipe that was inserted through the hole.
There were two types of saddlers in the cavalry: the saddler sergeant and the saddler, according to The 1865 Customs of Service for Noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers: A Handbook for the Rank and File of the Army, by August V. Kautz:
"243. Saddler Sergeant: Each regiment of cavalry is allowed a saddler sergeant, with the pay and emoluments of a regimental commissary sergeant, seventeen dollars per month. His duties are not defined by law or regulation. He would naturally, however, have charge of the company saddlers of the regiment, and act as master saddler or foreman when the company saddlers are united in one shop for the repair of the equipments of the companies.
"244. He takes his instructions from the commanding officer of the regiment, and should attend to the repairs of the horse-equipments of the field, staff and band, and see that the company saddlers perform properly their duties in the companies.
"245. Saddlers: Each company of cavalry is allowed an enlisted man as saddler, whose duty it is to keep the horse-equipments of the company in repair, under the direction of the company commander and the saddler sergeant. The pay of saddler is fourteen dollars per month, the same as a corporal of cavalry, with the same allowance of clothing and rations. Military duty ordinarily is not required of either saddler sergeants or saddlers; but they should be instructed in a knowledge of the ordinary duties, and should at all times be available in case of necessity."
Saddler sergeants and saddlers, when in the field, carried the same weapons as their fellow cavalrymen--pistol, carbine, and saber--as they were often in the thick of whatever fighting occurred. Two such saddlers are Saddler Otto E. Voit, Company H, 7th U. S. Cavalry, and Saddler Julius H. Stickoffer, Company L, 8th U. S. Cavalry. They earned the Medal of Honor.
Saddler Voit was wounded in the Reno-Benteen hilltop action at the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. He had volunteered with George Geiger, Charles Windolph, and Henry Mechlin to hold an exposed position on the brow of the hill facing the Little Big Horn River on which they stood erect. They fired constantly in this manner for more than 20 minutes diverting fire and attention from another group of cavalrymen filling canteens with water desperately needed for the wounded.
Saddler Stickoffer participated in the Utah campaigns against the Ute, Paiute, and Navajo Indians. On November 11, 1868, he and members of the 8th U. S. Cavalry battled the Indians at Cienaga Springs, Utah. For gallantry in action, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In the seven years' Indian War in Utah, he was the only soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.
A Raid Not In The History Books
by Jan Elder, Park Volunteer
A hungry rabbit and cabbage plants intended for the 2014 post garden inspired a children's story I wrote while staying at Fort Larned in March.
I was at the post to help Ranger Ellen Jones with a Spring Break program for children. Also included in my schedule was working in the garden if soil and air temperatures were suitable (they were not!). The first night was frost-free so I left the potted cabbage plants in the corner of the back porch of the Commander's quarters. Pushed back against the wall in the corner, and covered with newspapers, I felt they would be safe.
I had chosen to sleep in the back room, close to a window. All was quiet and I slept soundly until the early hours of the morning. There was only a gentle rustling sound, but it woke me, and I looked out of the window. I saw nothing and went back to sleep.
That evening I sat down and wrote "The Fort Larned Bunny Raid." Intended for small children, I gave it a happy ending, at least for the bunnies! Here's a "taste" of this dramatic tale. It begins with:
"Betty Bunny and her two brothers, Bobby Bunny and Peter Bunny, were growing fast. They ate and ate and ate, but they always felt hungry! Mrs. Bunny was very worried. Winter had been long and cold and deep snow covered the ground. It was hard to find food to feed her three hungry children.
"Now the days were longer, the sun warmer, but spring was slow to come to Kansas in 1870. No new juicy spring grass, no dandelions. No tender green plants to enjoy; just old dry grass to eat. Oh, how Betty Bunny and her brothers hated that dry grass!
"At Fort Larned, Captain Parker and his wife were tired of eating canned beans and very old potatoes. 'I shall be glad to taste the fresh cabbage you are growing for us' he said to his wife. Mrs. Parker smiled and looked at the cabbage plants growing in flower pots on the back porch of their home. 'These plants are ready to go in our garden. I will leave them on the porch tonight and plant them in the morning" ...Well, you can guess what happened! I don't know if Captain Parker had a sense of humor, but he does in my story!
Ellen and I would like to get this story into book format, but first we need to put our efforts into the 2014 post garden. Who knows, there may be other bunny raids at Fort Larned this summer-and other tales to tell!!
Fort Larned Old Guard welcomes the following new life member:
George Elmore, 817 Kansas St, Larned, KS 67550
We welcome five new annual memberships:
Laressa & Jack Gardner, 801 Vernon, Larned, KS 67550
Becca Hiller, 1347 K-156 Hwy, Larned, KS 67550
Barbara Koester, 801 Vernon, Larned, KS 67550
Dr. Forrest Pommerenke, 325 English Oak Rd, Simpsonville SC 27681
Roger Pommerenke, 5735 Equestrian Dr, Roanoke VA 24018
You may have noticed there was no featured Old Guard member in this issue. Three members turned down the request to be included in this ongoing series. In time, we hope to feature every member of the Old Guard. Please contact the editor if you are willing to be included in this series.
June 21, 2014: Photography Workshop at the Fort
July 4, 2014: Living-history Weekend
August 30-Sept. 1, 2014: Labor Day Weekend, 50th anniversary celebration of Fort Larned in the National Park Service on August 30
October 11, 2014: Candlelight Tour
December 13, 2014: Christmas Past
Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2014, please send dues to membership chair Linda Peters, 1035 S Bridge St, Lakin KS 67860. Additional donations are always welcome to assist with projects of the Old Guard..
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.
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.