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

"Our" Artist On The Spot: Theodore R. Davis
by Carson Norton, Park Ranger

     (Image:) Portion of Theodore Davis sketch, "Sioux and Cheyenne Attacking a Wagon Train," from Harper's Weekly, September 7, 1867, which greets visitors when they enter visitor center at Fort Larned National Historic Site.

     Upon entering the doors of Fort Larned National Historic Site visitor center, one stands front-and-center to an immense illustration of a wagon train and its military escort under Indian attack. Drawn from the pages of the popular 19th-century news publication, Harper's Weekly, this work exemplifies the underlying feel of what traveling to America's vast western frontier seemed like to populations back east. When the steady stream of illustrations and exciting news stories of the Civil War dried up at war's end, American newspapers such as Harper's Weekly turned their sights to the West to cover the harrowing stories of brave frontiersmen seeking Manifest Destiny.

     Doing so required sending willing and able correspondents into the midst of the Indian country to be what they called a "special artist" that was "on the spot" of the action. Perhaps no one correspondent was better suited to capture America's 1865-1868 westward expansion and shape the frontier's public image than the young, brave, and amiable Theodore R. Davis (1840-1894).

     Davis had already made a name for himself by age twenty five. He proved himself exceedingly capable during the Civil War, having been embedded with the Army of the Potomac during the majority of its campaigns. A good many illustrations that embellished issues of Harper's Weekly during its coverage of the war for the Union bore his talents.

     Davis was what is known as an artist correspondent. Working with a pencil and sketch pad, he made quick reference drawings and notes of his subjects while on location, sometimes very much in harm's way. Upon commencement of a battle, Davis's common mode of operation was to listen for the heaviest din of rifle and cannon fire then dash off on his horse to document the action with his artistic prowess. On one such occasion Davis's horse was shot out from under him, the bullet passing through his horse, hitting Davis in the left knee. On another occasion the sketch pad he was drawing on was shot from his hands. By war's end he wore two battle scars that showed just how "on the spot" he really was.

     The spring of 1865 saw Davis traveling west on assignment for the first time. He left Atchison, Kansas, headed for Denver, Colorado, aboard a Butterfield's Overland Despatch coach traveling along the Smoky Hill Trail. Indians attacked the stage just east of the Smoky Hill Springs station, between present Russell Springs and Monument Rocks in western Kansas. Although severely outnumbered, Davis and his fellow travelers made it to the station, returning fire from the windows of the racing coach the entire way. The travelers dismounted and hastily ran for the safety of the station. While en route, Davis saw an Indian send an arrow flying toward one of the station's stock men who was gallantly attempting to save the horse and mule herd. As the arrow missed its mark, a round from Davis's Ballard rifle connected, sending the Indian flailing in the saddle he was tied to.

     The attack on the stage marked an important time in Davis's life. Though tempered by the fires of war, Davis decided he wanted nothing to do with fighting Indians. Little did Davis know that his sketch and description of the harrowing event would become an iconic symbol of America's perception of Indian resistance holding up white "progress" and be copied in illustrations and western movies for decades to come.

(Image:) Indian attack by Theodore Davis, Harper's New Monthly Magazine, July 1867

     Davis finally reached Denver where his amiable personality won him many friends. He traveled around the region making sketches of mining camps, ranches, and anything that suited his fancy. He regularly sent his work to Harper's in New York City where it was published. It is probable that Davis's sketches inspired many a young, unemployed, war veteran to head west to seek his own fortune and adventure.

     Davis had returned from Denver for only a short time when he ran into his boss, the Fletcher Harper, on April 2, 1867, on the streets of New York. Harper questioned Davis as to why he was not out west looking for Indians with General Winfield Scott Hancock. Apparently Hancock had sent Davis an invitation to join his expedition to make peace or war with the Indians who reportedly had been committing depredations against whites in the area of Fort Larned.

(Image:) Theodore Davis Sketch of Fort Larned, Harper's Weekly, June 8, 1867

     Within a week Davis was back in Indian country where he documented Hancock's interactions with the Sioux and Cheyenne encamped near the fort, including the burning of the Indian village thirty-two miles up the Pawnee River from Fort Larned. From there, Davis rode an estimated 2,400 miles with Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and the 7th U. S. Cavalry through much western Kansas, northwestern Nebraska, and northeastern Colorado, making sketches and notes of what he saw the entire time. He faced the wrath of a disgruntled Custer for whistling a tune as he sat, drawing in his tent, in the demoralized, rain-drenched camp at Fort Hays. He drew the hauntingly grotesque scene of Second Lieutenant Lyman S. Kidder and his detachment of ten men, whose mutilated bodies were filled with arrows of the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. Ultimately, Davis provided invaluable insight for both the readers of Harper's Weekly and historians of today as to what Indian attacks were like, how the U. S. military tried to fight the Indians, as well as everyday frontier life in general.

(Image:) Theodore Davis Sketch of Indian Lodges Captured by General Hancock, Harper's Weekly, May 11, 1867

(Image:) Theodore Davis Sketch of Burning the Cheyenne Village Near Fort Larned, Kansas, Harper's Weekly, June 8, 1867

     In 1867, after nearly four months on the trail with Custer, Davis decided to leave the expedition and head back east, never to return again. Davis continued doing sketches of the West, however, using his personal experiences as reference. One such illustration from this period is his depiction of Custer at the Battle of the Washita. Observant viewers of this and later works might notice the subtle lack of specific details that one might have seen should the artist been "on the spot."

     Theodore Davis captured for posterity one of America's greatest periods of transition. During his time on the frontier he documented the vast open prairies filled with buffalo and Indians, wagon trains of goods headed for the Southwest and Mexico along the Santa Fe Trail, and white farmers breaking virgin soil on the vast ocean of land that was the Great Plains. And, yes, that immense illustration adorning the wall of the Fort Larned visitor center mentioned earlier ... is indeed the work of Davis. As a matter of fact, the walls of the Fort Larned museum are lined with Davis's illustrations, many of which are original Harper's Weekly publications. Thus, as progress continues to alter our western landscape, the importance of "our" special artist T. R. Davis's work grows with each passing day and allows us to imagine the majesty of what once was a landscape occupied by Plains Indians and helps tell the story of the contest that removed the tribes and made way for Euro-American settlement.

(Image:) T. R. Davis, Harper's Weekly, Sept. 7, 1867

Santa Claus Is Coming To Fort Larned (Again)
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     Come out to visit Santa Claus for the final Fort Larned special event of the year. Our Christmas Open House will be on Saturday, December 10th from 12 to 4 pm. Join us for pictures with Santa, Christmas caroling, and period Christmas foods. If the weather is good, volunteer Bill Wolfe will bring his carriage and brother and sister team, Pete and Lil, to give visitors carriage rides around the post. Come out and celebrate an old-fashioned frontier Army Christmas with us.

Centennial Celebration Wrap-Up 2016
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger (Image:)

     Many activities and events in 2016 marked a busy Centennial Celebration year for national parks, park volunteers, and National Park Service supporters. During the busy season at Fort Larned the staff and volunteers were working on presenting one event after another. We proved successfully there are many ways to "Find Your Park!"

     Specific events not usually on our calendar were the Naturalization Ceremony on June 24 and the National Park Service Centennial Celebration on August 27. The Naturalization Ceremony attracted over 300 people who witnessed the US national swearing in of 68 new citizens who came originally from 19 different countries. The ceremony was very impressive and the staff would like to host another ceremony in the future.

     The attendance for the "Picnic in the Park" Centennial Celebration event was larger than the Fort staff could have hoped for! Over 600 visitors enjoyed a variety of programs ranging from musical talent presentations to highlighting Kansas National Parks, with hands-on activities for youth. Several outstanding speakers covered topics of history, including the natural history of the area. We hosted a couple of prairie dogs from the Kansas Wetlands Center to the delight of our youthful audience in the jam-packed auditorium. The volunteers involved with the event did a great job welcoming and engaging the public. We appreciate our volunteers so much! The staff unanimously declared the event a success, but there was no rest for the weary with the Labor Day event the very next weekend and then onto the 18th biennial Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous history seminar, which included a fashion show at the Fort.

     Earlier in the spring schools visiting the fort on field trips included St. Francis Middle School, about three hours away by bus one-way from St. Francis, Kansas, and Thunder Ridge 6th graders from Kensington, Kansas. These distances out are of the norm and were possible for the districts because of the Ticket to Ride grant the Fort received. The grant paid for transportation costs. A couple of schools we haven't seen in recent years came back to the Fort for a fun and educational experience. Sunnyside Elementary in Dodge City brought four classes, and Macksville Elementary brought 2nd through 6th graders. Larned USD 495 brought 300 students, grades 2nd-4th for a special Santa Fe Trail program that used the nature trail for activities. The educational event also featured characters from the Traveling Trunks program that David Clapsaddle created. Sadly, David died the day of the event, but he would have approved of his beloved characters being showcased for that many students in one day. What a dynamic field-trip season the Fort had to mark the Centennial!

     Park Volunteer John Steinle presented an interesting program at the Labor Day event about George Bent and his experiences at and around Fort Larned. He spoke of Bent and the Medicine Lodge Treaty and Bent's experience along with those of his family during Hancock's War, 1867. Both presentations were well attended and the audiences enjoyed it very much.

     Fort Larned's last event of the Centennial year will be Christmas Past on Saturday, December 10, 2016, held in the afternoon. Thank you to all our supporters for helping make the Centennial year a memorable one. This coming year you may hear of programs from the Fort and other national parks related to the 150 years of Buffalo Soldier history. Stay tuned!

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Tom Seltmann

     It has been a good year at Fort Larned National Historic Site as we have celebrated the centennial of the National Park Service with many special events. The Old Guard is honored to have been part of these activities, and we thank all the volunteers who helped make the programs special. The biennial Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous, sponsored in part by Fort Larned, also brought many visitors to the Fort. There is one more special event this year, and we hope to see you at the Christmas Open House on December 10, 2016. The Old Guard will be offering photos with Santa again, so bring the children and grandchildren.

     For several years the National Park Foundation has funded a transportation grant program for Fort Larned National Historic Site, funds handled through Fort Larned Old Guard, to help schools provide field trips for students to visit the Fort. The grant program has helped bring hundreds of young people to experience this national treasure. The Fort has received another grant for "Every Kid in a Park" to provide field trips for the 2016-2017 school year. All schools in the area are invited to apply for transportation funds via this grant (see article in this issue).

     To honor the many years of service David Clapsaddle donated to Fort Larned, the Old Guard has created the David Clapsaddle Memorial Educator Award which will be given annually at Mess and Muster. We will continue the William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award each year to a person who has given outstanding service to Fort Larned National Historic Site.

     The Old Guard is planning a full day of activities for annual Mess and Muster on April 29, 2017, to evaluate the 1867 Hancock Expedition, burning of the Cheyenne and Sioux village on Pawnee Fork, and Hancock's War that followed, with speakers at the Fort and a field trip to visit an Indian camp at the village site. Please get this date on your calendar and plan to join us.

     Our membership chair Linda Peters recently sent renewal notices. Please continue your support of the Old Guard and invite new members. We are all volunteers, and all membership fees and donations are used to assist with programs at Fort Larned National Historic Site. Dues and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Fort Larned Old Guard is a 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation. If you are looking for a year-end tax deduction, please consider the Old Guard; and send to Treasurer Leo Oliva, PO Box 1, Woodston, KS 67675.

     Please consider using Amazon.Smile for all orders placed through Amazon and designate Fort Larned Old Guard as your charity. It is painless, and Fort Larned Old Guard and Fort Larned will benefit from every order.

     The Fort Larned Old Guard board extends holiday wishes to our members, volunteers, and the exemplary National Park Service staff. We look forward to a great new year. Fort Larned National Historic Site is the best-preserved frontier military post in the American West, and we hope you will join in the many activities planned throughout 2017.

Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko

     Once again we are in the autumn of the year. What does this mean? According to Dream Encyclopedia, the autumn season has mixed associations. On one hand, fall is traditionally harvest time indicating a sense that one is finally reaping the benefits of prior efforts. On the other hand, it is associated with a winding down of energies before the barrenness of winter, as in the expression "the autumn of one's life."

     The definition seems to capture the activities at Fort Larned quite well. Visitation begins to slow down and as we reflect on the achievements of the past summer, we also begin preparing for the new fiscal year.

     One of the many benefits attributed to prior efforts includes outreach to Hispanic communities around the region. An internship, established in partnership with the Hispanic Access Foundation, provided us with an opportunity to promote interest and relevancy of the Fort to the Hispanic Community.

     Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous 2016 was another successful event because of the planning efforts and hard work by the Santa Fe Trail Center and park staff, the Old Guard and our many volunteers. Other opportunities to promote and bring visibility to Fort Larned included sending park staff to Fort Scott National Historic Site to assist in an National Park Service Centennial and to assist with a new Quarter program at Homestead National Monument of America.

     As planning efforts continue to progress on the new Museum Exhibits and Unigrid brochure, planning is also underway to explore current visitor use patterns through GPS tracking and a camera or road counter at the Santa Fe Trail Site. In 2018 the restoration of the Commanding Officer's Quarters will begin.

     Although the upcoming winter season may be associated with a winding down, the Fort Larned National Historic Site staff will be busy and energized as we begin developing and preparing programs and activities for our new fiscal year. I would like to thank everyone for your support. Our successes and achievements are directly related to our many friends and volunteers!

David Clapsaddle Memorial Educator Award
     The Fort Larned Old Guard board created the David Clapsaddle Memorial Educator Award at the October 8, 2016, board meeting held at the Fort, to honor his many years of service to Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Old Guard. The award will be presented annually at the Old Guard Mess and Muster membership meeting, recognizing an individual who has contributed significantly to the education of young people about Fort Larned. This could be a volunteer, teacher, administrator, or anyone involved in education of the Fort's history and the importance of Fort Larned National Historic Site. Recipients will be selected by the Fort Larned Old Guard Awards Committee in consultation with the staff at Fort Larned National Historic Site.

     David Clapsaddle was a great supporter of Fort Larned National Historic Site and Fort Larned Old Guard. In addition to donating the Little Red House and Sibley Campsite in Larned, David spent many years as a volunteer at and for Fort Larned National Historic Site (including the annual Candlelight Tour), wrote stories for young girls and boys and prepared trunk programs to present in schools, presented programs to thousands of students over the years, and his trunk programs continue with Fort staff and others presenting the programs. David's life was devoted to education, and the memorial award, comprised of an engraved plaque and cash award of $50, recognizes his many years of service to Fort Larned National Historic Site and young people. The first award will be presented at the next Mess and Muster, April 29, 2017.

Fort Larned Roll Call: Clayton Hanson
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger (Image:)

     This month we welcome Park Ranger Clayton Hanson to the staff. He is joining the interpretation team as a term employee, coming from Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. He will be adding his experience and talents to serving the public and will focus on keeping the story of Fort Larned alive.

     Clayton was born in Houston TX but grew up in Vancouver WA on the Columbia River. He attended the University of Washington, majoring in European Studies. He holds a Master's Degree in public history from Eastern Washington University. He is slowly working on a Ph.D. in history at the University of Nebraska where he is researching tourism in the West during the late 19th and 20th centuries.

     Clayton was drawn to Fort Larned because of his fascination with stories that aren't easy. He shares that, at Fort Larned, the men (and their families) who were guarding the expansion of U. S. commerce across the Great Plains were often immigrants and freedmen who didn't fit into Eastern cities or the South after the Civil War. Officers could be men consumed with political ambitions like Hancock and Custer or filled with respect for American Indians like Ned Wynkoop. And the Fort is part of the stories of the men, women, and children of the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho, and Comanche people who made their lives on the Central and Southern Plains.

     The story side certainly interests Clayton but what really attracted him to Fort Larned is our active living-history program. He says, "I've heard that you bring the 'boom.'" We hope to help Clayton make his journey working at Fort Larned National Historic Site a meaningful and rewarding experience. Be sure to introduce yourself and welcome him to the area next time you are here.

Volunteer Roll Call: Jacque and John Wasinger
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
(Image:)
     Meet Jacque and John Wasinger, a very friendly couple who recently got hitched in Jacque's hometown of Larned. The newlyweds have settled permanently in Larned where they work and spend a great deal of time volunteering in the community. John's family is a stone's throw away in Hanston. They met at Fort Hays State University where they both excelled in their respective fields.

     Jacque received a BS in Secondary Psychology Education and is certified in Psychology, Social Studies, English, Speech and Theater, and Family and Consumer Science (FACS). She went on to earn a MS in School Counseling at Fort Hays State University. She is in her second year of teaching FACS classes at Larned High School. She is the advisor for Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. Not a surprise considering both her parents have built impressive careers as dedicated teachers.

     John also received a BS from Fort Hays State University in Medical Diagnostic Imaging and works at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital as a Radiation Technologist and a CT Technologist. In spite of his demanding schedule, John always has a smile and a wave when he's on the run. It was evident John had a great time volunteering at the Centennial event. He was in charge of finding uniforms for 37 post band members before a concert---and he still kept a smile on his face! John has donned an officer's uniform for the last two Fort events and is very believable in the role.

     The couple began volunteering at Fort Larned in 2015 when the Fort's Adopt-a-Class Initiative and the Larned High School began a partnership. The timing couldn't have been better because the Fort was in the process of planning the many Centennial programs and events for 2016. Jacque recruited her students to participate in the past two Candlelight Tour events. The students proved to be of great help filling in where living-history interpreters were needed. They brought a lively spirit with them and had a lot of fun.

     The Fort staff and several volunteers invited the students to a challenging event called "Survive the Prairie" - "Survivor Day" for short. We have been able to showcase multiple lessons throughout Survivor Day which we have offered twice. Students get a taste of what it would have been like on the prairie 150 years ago while the Fort was active. Although we are living in the same place, the way of life has changed and evolved significantly, especially with the ever-changing advances in technology. Jacque's FACS classes are focused on real-life skills, such as family living, nutrition, cooking, and career exploration. All students were able to make connections to multiple academic areas in a fun and hands-on way. The students used problem-solving skills, teamwork, and leadership skills to complete five challenges. Through the creation of this event Jacque's students were able to realize and experience the advances and changes in daily life.

     Jacque says of her students, "My biggest hope is that they were able to have fun while learning and interacting with each other and have a new appreciation and understanding of our history as well as the advances we have made." Jacque is a valuable volunteer who doesn't just talk the talk. She can be seen at most Larned community and Fort events pitching in where help is needed. She encourages the students to get involved by saying, "volunteers are the heart and soul of a community." About the Fort she adds, "You really get to step back into Fort life."

     We are fortunate to have this young couple sharing their talents and community connections with the Fort.

High School Survivor Day At Fort Larned
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
(Image:) Students giving volunteer Jack Singer a ride in the wagon

     The Second Annual Prairie Survivor Day challenged 69 Larned High School students at Fort Larned National Historic Site on October 13, 2016. The students participated in a variety of challenges on the perimeters of the parade ground and in the barracks building. The tasks were designed to require leadership, participation, and teamwork. The students were divided into five groups. Each group had 50-minutes to complete some pretty difficult activities. One challenge was to put up three large army tents, and another was to load a wagon according to the value of the freight. There were audible groans when students were moving the wagons and when they hiked two miles to rescue a soldier. By the end of the afternoon event everyone was exhausted, but without a doubt they conquered the prairie!

     Ranger Ellen Jones remarked on how cooperative the students were the entire day. "The Fort Larned staff is very impressed with the Larned High School students. Each student participated enthusiastically and the teamwork was exceptional---they all helped each other. They understood and appreciated the challenges of life 150 years ago."

     Jacque Wasinger, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Larned High School stated, "The students were able to make connections to multiple academic areas in a fun and hands-on way. History was the theme throughout the day and Fort Larned is an important part of that." Additional high school support staff that helped include Jana Novotny, Amy Wilson, Jeanette Johnson, Nick Junker, Kellie Jenker, Tara Voelker, and Janet Dixon.

     The staff is very grateful to the four wonderful (and patient) volunteers who helped with the event: Jack Singer and Andrea Deckert, Larned, Kansas; Marla Matkin, Hill City, Kansas; and Susan Scherenceh, Rush Center, Kansas. The Great Bend Tribune had full-page coverage the following Sunday. The Fort's Adopt-a-Class Initiative is thriving. We will see the students in the spring for Home Front activities that include baking, food science of the 19th century, archeology, and attending a blacksmith demonstration.

Post Surgeons: S. L. G. Armstrong
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is fourth of the series on the post surgeons at Fort Larned.)

     Although Dr. Armstrong is the post surgeon profiled in this article, he is not the 4th post surgeon at Fort Larned. Acting Assistant Surgeon H. H. Clark (or H. H. Cook---the record is not clear) took over from Dr. Charles Wilson. He served as post surgeon from September 9, 1862, to December 1864. Acting Assistant Surgeon James Telfer became post surgeon on December 5, 1864, and served until June 1865. After him came Acting Assistant Surgeon D. C. McNeil with the Second U. S. Volunteers from July 1 to August 1865, followed by S. E. Twiss from August 25 to September 1865. There was no information about these five men in the records (they were civilian physicians contracted to serve the Army and held no commission), so the next surgeon in line, Dr. Armstrong, will be highlighted in this article.

     Post records indicate that Dr. Armstrong, 48th Wisconsin, was appointed post surgeon at Fort Larned on October 14, 1865, and served in that capacity until January 9, 1866. The 48th Wisconsin, commanded by Colonel Uri Pearsall, was one of the last Civil War volunteer units stationed at Fort Larned. The 48th was formed in March 1865 and the men would eventually find themselves stationed in Kansas. Two of the regiment's companies were left at Fort Zarah while six others arrived at Fort Larned by September 30, 1865.

     During Dr. Armstrong's short tenure as post surgeon he had to contend with an outbreak of typhoid fever. Typhoid is a disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi and is most commonly spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Common symptoms include weakness, abdominal pain, and constipation. Less common symptoms are headaches and a skin rash with rose-colored spots. Although today it can be prevented by a vaccine or treated with antibiotics, during the 1800s it was often fatal. It was also a common ailment at Army posts due to the often poor sanitary conditions and lack of personal hygiene among the soldiers.

     During this time there was really no effective treatment for typhoid. Like many medical professionals of his day, Dr. Armstrong may have treated those affected with some sort of analgesic to reduce the pain associated with the disease, or quinine to help with the fever. The only other treatment that was marginally effective in some cases was to find a diet that would lessen the symptoms. Some doctors took the more extreme measure of prescribing calomel, or mercury chloride. While this substance did help patients clear their bowels, and also killed bacteria, patients treated with it ran the risk of developing mercury poison, which often led to death.

     There is not much in the way of biographical information on Dr. Armstrong. He was only post surgeon for a short time because the 48th Wisconsin left Fort Larned in December 1865. The record shows that Dr. Armstrong remained as Post Surgeon until January 9, 1866.

The Enlisted Men Of Company C, Third Infantry
Part VI - Julius C. Baker

     (Fort Larned's main interpretive year is 1868, which is the year the stone buildings were completed. Company C, 3rd U. S. Infantry, was stationed at Fort Larned during that year and part of the research for the restoration of the barracks and hospital building was finding out information for most of these enlisted men. That information was compiled in the Historic Furnishing Study: Enlisted Men's Barracks and Post Hospital, HS-2. Here is the sixth installment in a series on the enlisted men whose information is included in that report.)

     Julius C. Baker enlisted in Company C of the 3rd U. S. Infantry on February 19, 1867, in Keokuk IA. He was born in Keokuk on July 15, 1847. At the time he joined the Army he was 5 feet 10 inches tall with dark eyes and hair. Baker was a Civil War veteran, having enlisted in Co. I, 35th Iowa Infantry three months before his 17th birthday, and served the entire war in that unit. He returned to Keokuk after his discharge on July 24, 1865. Like many Civil War veterans, Baker apparently found the routine of small town life unsatisfying after the excitement of war because a year and a half later he enlisted in Co. C for three years.

     Private Baker didn't have a very good start for 1868. He was assigned to company duty for January and February but had some time out for illness during both months. On January 16th he reported to sick call with bronchitis, which left him sick in the barracks for four days before he was able to return to duty. In February he was sick in the barracks from the 4th to 6th with constipation, returning to duty on the 7th.

     From March to June he was assigned to extra duty with the Post Quartermaster Department as a laborer. This job would have involved a lot of hard physical labor, loading and unloading wagons, or moving boxes around in the warehouse. On June 26th he reported for sick call with a sprain. There is no information about what Baker sprained, but the injury was severe enough for the post surgeon to have him sick in the barracks for the rest of the month. He was healed up enough to return to duty with the Post Quartermaster Department as a laborer by July 1st, and spent all of July and August on that job. From September through December he was back on company duty.

     Maybe Private Baker discovered that the Army wasn't as interesting an occupation after all when there wasn't a big war to fight because he did not re-enlist after his three years were up. He was discharged while stationed at Fort Larned and returned to Iowa, where he worked as a laborer in Farmington. He married a woman named Liddia, who was six years younger than him, on August 22, 1893. The couple had no children. Julius Baker died on August 1, 1908, after he was run over by an engine from the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.

Use Amazon.Smile to Benefit Fort Larned Old Guard
     If you purchase anything from Amazon.com, please consider using Amazon.Smile and designate Fort Larned Old Guard as your charity of choice. If you have an Amazon account, it will automatically transfer to Amazon.Smile. A small percentage of everything you order there will be donated to Fort Larned Old Guard and help with programs at Fort Larned National Historic Site. There is no extra charge to you.

     To sign up, go to and follow directions. Please select Fort Larned Old Guard, Inc., as your charity. After that, whenever you order from Amazon make sure you log into Amazon.Smile. Your charity selection will be remembered there, and funds will be transfered to Fort Larned Old Guard quarterly.

Living In The North Officer's Quarters
Part 2: Today vs. 1868
by Sam Young, Fort Larned National Historic Site Volunteer

     Do you remember playing musical chairs and hoping when the music stopped you had a chair? There was always one more player than there were chairs. And if you landed on a chair, it probably was not the one you previously occupied. Now equate that to living in Fort Larned officer's quarters in 1868 under a system called "ranking out."

     You, having graduated from West Point and married your sweetheart a few months ago, recently arrived at Fort Larned with your new bride and are finally settling into your quarters. Since your are a new lieutenant you are only entitled to one room which will be your parlor, bedroom, washroom, dining room, kitchen, and storeroom. Fortunately you have a bed, which is too small for both of you---but you figured how to make it work---and very rickety, a small table but no chairs except your wife's trunk and an empty ammunition box, a wood stove for heating and cooking, one small skillet and a small pot for boiling water, two plated and cups, some eating and cooking utensils, and a couple of candle holders. Additionally, the door between your room and the single lieutenant living in the next room is very thin and does not close properly---you have limited privacy. He smokes, drinks (often to excess), and frequently releases noisy and very smelly body odors.

     Living like this is totally different than how you and your wife were raised in Pennsylvania; her family had servants and lived very comfortably. Your father was a successful businessman and you could have attended any college of your choice, but you chose West Point because you wanted a military career. When you graduated and married, your bride pledged her future to yours. Fort Larned is your first duty station and your bride is working hard, with the help of several other officers' wives, to make your quarters a comfortable and cozy home.

     Then, on a chilly late fall day, a new officer, single, arrives at Fort Larned. He too is a lieutenant, but he graduated from West Point a year ahead of you. He told you he is ranking you out of your quarters and that his first sergeant is sending a detail of soldiers to your quarters to move your things out and move his in before supper. Your things would be dumped on the ground until you find a place to put them and help moving them.

     You know several things: you are the most junior officer at Fort Larned, there are no other officers' quarters available, you are scheduled to command the wagon train security detail that departs Fort Larned early tomorrow morning for Fort Union, and your wife is four months pregnant. Fortunately the quartermaster sergeant has a wall tent and stove, and your commander says the tent can be pitched in the back yard of his quarters. You are thankful his wife and your wife have become close friends. You hope you are back at Fort Larned in a couple of months, but winter snows may delay your return. You know you will not be home for your first Christmas together. Your wife is fretting the situation without complaint.

     In 2016, we do not experience "ranking out" at Fort Larned National Historic Site since there are no volunteers or staff living there. It could be a reenactment event on a big weekend, but that is not feasible since all things belonging to the departing officer, including the furniture, would have to be removed from the quarters. Then things and furniture of the new occupant moved in.

     That is one of many answers to the question "since you have lived at Fort Larned you know what it was like to live there in 1868." There is no way in 2016 we can totally replicate the 1868 Fort Larned experience.

     Let's look at another example of the difference between 1868 and 2016--the Fort after Retreat. In 2016, after the flag is lowered down from the flag pole, the buildings are secured and locked, alarm systems are set, lights are turned off, and the Ranger staff and volunteers file over the bridge and depart for another day. The Fort is almost as quiet as the lonesome prairie when the Fort was founded in 1859. Except you can hear occasional trucks on the highway and see "con trails" of high-flying planes. You see deer and turkey (many of them), occasional skunks, and other wildlife.

     As the sun sets over Officers' Row, it gets very dark, unless there is a full moon, as there are no soldiers and civilians living there as in 1868 with the glow of candles from the barracks and officers' quarters windows. There are no voices (human or animal); no man-made noises, no activities that would signal evening life on the 1868 military post. How do I know what it was like to live on a military post in 1868? I am a reader and have read many of the books written by officers wives who lived on Army posts in the 1860s-1880s. But Fort Larned did, partly, come to life as if it were 1868 one weekend about four years ago.

     On a May weekend that year, the equivalent of two infantry companies and their battalion headquarters, along with officers' wives, civilian contractors, and a few soldiers' wives were at Fort Larned. They were reenacting living at Fort Larned. The Fort did not go dark when the sun went down. Candle light glowed from the barracks and hospital windows, as well as from the officers' quarters and the office in the Quartermaster Storehouse. Groups of soldiers congregated on the barracks' porches from which emanated conversation and singing. Officers and their wives sat on their porches discussing the day's events. The smells of wood smoke and cooking filled the air. Bugle calls were sounded at the prescribed times. However, missing were the sounds and smells of livestock, sounds of soldiers and civilians at the Sutler's Store, and the school being open for soldiers who wanted to learn how to read and write. And I do not recall any children being with this group.

     What was also unique about the mornings that weekend, before the Rangers and volunteers reported to work to prepare the Fort to be open to the public, were the bugle calls and drum rolls starting the soldiers' days. The soldiers, under the supervision of their sergeants, conducted what is today know as police call, cleaned up any loose trash around the buildings and on the parade ground, had breakfast, roll call formation, and began their first drill period of the day. Officers, other soldiers, and civilians reported to their normal duty stations and commenced work. Again, except for the lack of livestock and a Sutler's Store, Fort Larned was again portraying life in 1868.

     But what was it like in my officer's quarters the first night (in November) when I began living in them? First, let's remember that in 1868 I had two fellow officers and one with spouse and child living across the hall from my quarters. They were not present. Additionally not present were the sounds outside my windows of soldiers, officers and their families, and livestock. It was peacefully quiet and lonely. It was only 5 pm and it was dark and chilly in my quarters. I lit a candle in the kitchen and started a fire, with matches, scrapes of paper and twigs before putting the larger pieces of wood in the stove so I could heat water and begin cooking supper. With another lit candle, I moved from room to room closing window curtains and lighting fires in the parlor and bedroom stoves. I had to carry in firewood as there were no boxes for firewood by those stoves. I did not have a striker (a soldier who did odd jobs for me for pay) to do this chore for me. My two little candles put out almost no light, especially in the kitchen where the walls are painted a dark green. I quickly learned that without a cook I needed to have my supper prepared, eaten, and everything cleaned up before dark; and there was no Sutler's Store to go to for supper if I chose not to cook!

     What was I to do after supper (around 6 pm) since I did not have neighbors, other officers with whom I could socialize, or the Sutler's Store? So, with my candles, I moved into the parlor to the table where I started a journal of events that might have happened to the officer living in those quarters. I used pencils since I did not have ink. By the time it was 8 pm I thought about using the electricity for two portable lights I had brought with me, but said no as my first night was to be by candles only.

     I did take advantage of three modern conveniences, my cell phone in the event of an emergency, a small, portable refrigerator, and the bathroom facilities in the modern-day commanding officers' quarters.
     (To be continued)

Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster, April 29, 2017
     The annual Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster will commemorate the 150th anniversary of General Winfield S. Hancock's 1867 Expedition. A committee is working out details which will be reported in the next Outpost in February. There will be speakers at Fort Larned National Historic Site, an afternoon field trip to the Cheyenne and Sioux site where Hancock burned their village (with an Indian encampment and information about their way of life), and evening dinner and program at the Fort. Plan now to attend this special program.

Fort Larned Receives Field Trip Grant
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     This current school year Fort Larned National Historic Site has received a grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, to support the Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) program. The grant funds will help pay transportation costs for schools arranging field trips to Fort Larned. The Fort Larned Old Guard manages the grant and supplements funds when needed.

     The grant requires that fourth-grade students be included in all funded field trips. Students will receive a guided tour of the historic post and merge themselves in the lifestyle of the 1860's military when going inside the buildings. Park rangers will facilitate exploration of the different cultures that interacted upon the Santa Fe Trail and at the Fort. The buildings are not the only resources that are protected and preserved. Besides the bank of the Pawnee River with woodlands, the national park acreage includes the prairie and an oxbow which will be part of a nature program presented in the spring to the students. The field trip will be packed with opportunities for learning and having fun.

     "There's so much to discover at Fort Larned National Historic Site, and we're excited to welcome fourth graders and teachers to participate in the hands-on learning activities. We hope that our young visitors can develop a lifelong connection to our nation's history and natural resources," says Superintendent Betty Boyko.

     The grant is part of the Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program. Fort Larned is a fee-free site, but the EKIP program gives fourth-grade students and those accompanying them free access to more than 2,000 federally-managed lands and waters. Visit to download the pass and obtain more information.

     "These grants are planting the seeds for lifelong relationships with national parks and their programs," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. "By providing access to transformative experiences like listening to the sounds of birds chirping, walking the halls of a school that tell a civil rights story, looking up at a dark night sky, or pitching a tent with a friend for the first time, these children are forever impacted. We appreciate the power of national parks and, through our support, the National Park Foundation hopes to share them with as many kids as possible."

     Every Kid in a Park is part of President Obama's commitment to protect our nation's unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them. The program, now entering its second year, is a call to action for children to experience America's spectacular outdoors, rich history and culture.

     The program continues each year with the then-current group of fourth graders. After 12 years, every school-age child in America will have had an opportunity to visit their public land and waters for free, inspiring the next generation to be stewards of our nation's shared natural and cultural heritage.

     Schools may make reservations for field trips by calling Ellen Jones at 620-285-6911. For additional information about Fort Larned National Historic Site please visit .

Rough Riding On The Plains (continued)
by Robert Morris Peck

     (Robert Morris Peck's memoirs, published in the National Tribune in 1901, telling about life at Camp on Pawnee Fork, renamed Camp Alert, continue with his account of life at the post during the winter of 1859-1860. Peck was assigned to courier duty, carrying a message from Lt. David Bell, commanding the post, to catch up with the mail at Walnut Creek. This turned out to be a dangerous assignment. At this point in his memoirs, Peck just met up with someone at Ash Creek Crossing. It was dark and he was wary of the man. He wrote:)

     I was not yet fully satisfied that he was a friend for I had heard of a white man who lives among the Kiowas, an Englishman, known as "English Jim," who has the reputation of being the worst savage in the tribe, and was hesitating about accepting his invitation to come nearer when I heard him let down the hammer of his piece as he remarked:

     "Took me some time to make you out; you wuz wrapped up so I couldn't tell whether you wus an Injun or not, but I thought I'd give you a chance to speak for yourself afore I pulled trigger. But if you hadn't a spoke up in plain English in another second I'd a put a ball through you's big as your thumb." He evidently hadn't heard of "English Jim," or he wouldn't have been so well satisfied with me.

     As I rode up near him, still retaining my pistol in my hand, but hidden in the fold of the blanket by my thigh, he continued:

     "I heard the clatter of your horse's hoofs as you come across the prairie, an' I jist walked across the holler an' tuck a stand whar I could git the drap on you afore you could see me. I felt 'most shore you wuz an Injun by your comin' 'cross the prairie, for a white man giner'ly follers the road."

     By this time we had crossed the hollow through the little strip of timber bordering the creek, he walking alongside of me, and as we came up the bank on the other side I could see the outlines of the wagon of my new acquaintance, with a horse tied near. Not till then was I sufficiently satisfied of the man's genuine amity to quietly slip my pistol back in the scabbard on my belt. But I had kept the drop on him from the time he uncocked his gun till we reached his camp. My bare hand in which I had been holding my revolver was getting so cold I had to put on my glove and flop it about my body vigorously to start the circulation.

     "Hadn't you better 'light an' stay with me till mornin'?" he asked. "It's powerful onpleasant travelin' sich a cold night, an' a little dangerous, too."

     I told him that it was necessary that I should reach Walnut Creek before daylight, but did not think it necessary to inform him of my errand. He then, in a few words, while I had dismounted and was stamping around to warm my feet, told me his situation:

     "Me an' my pardner's bin over on the river a few miles from here a pizenin' wolves an' skinnin' 'em. Bin out 'bout a month. Done purty well. But a few days ago we seed some strange sign in the neighborhood of our camp. I got oneasy, but he said 'twas all right; that ef thar wuz any Injuns 'round they must be friendly ones, for thar hadn't bin a Kiowa seed 'long the river er the road for a good while. He started off on one of the hosses day 'fore yesterday to go to some baits we had put out over in the sand hills on yon side of the river, an' that's the last I seed o' him, an' I'm afeard the Kiowas has got his hair, 'kaze he orter bin back in three er four hours at most. I darsent leave camp to go an' look fur him, an' a'ter waitin' an' waitin' and he didn't show up, I got oneasy an' concluded I'd better light out an' go to Peacock's an' get some help to look him up, or the scraps of him. So I packed up an' hitched the one hoss so's he could pull the wagon by hisself, an' wrote a few words on a piece of paper an' stuck it up so's he'll find it ef he comes back thar, tellin' him I'd gone to Peacock's Ranch, and then I waited till a'ter dark, for fear the Injuns mought be a watchin' an' pulled out here onto the road. I'd jist got unhitched when I heerd you a comin'. I'd start a fire fur you to warm by, but it wouldn't be safe, you know--prowlin' Injuns might see it."

     I assured him that I didn't wish him to run any risk on my account; that I had n time to sit around fires, and would manage to keep from freezing by dismounting and trotting along on foot occasionally when I got very cold. As I again mounted to start on the wolf hunter said:

     "Well, pardner, I'd advise you to keep a sharp lookout, 'specially till a'ter you pass Pawnee Rock. That's a dangerous kind of a place, an' a good place for Injuns to be hangin' around a watchin' the road. People that don't understand the critters would think that thar's no danger of Injuns being' out sich a night as this, but I tell you this is just the kind of a night to look out for 'em. They like to call 'round when they think you ain't spectin' 'em. Well, good-night, an' good luck to you."

     "Thank you. Same to you," I replied, as I went cantering down the road.

     By the time I had reached a point nearly opposite Pawnee Rock, which is about a half mile north of the road, I had got so cold again that I had to dismount and trot along, leading my horse and flapping my hands around my body to warm me; but in spite of all my efforts I could scarcely keep my feet and hands from freezing. The weather seemed to be growing colder every hour; the time passed very slowly, and the road had never seemed so long to me before.

     I was delayed a good deal by having to get down and walk or trot to warm up.

     Just as I was almost past the Rock my horse turned his head and began looking anxiously off on the prairie in that direction, as though he saw something unusual. I stopped and listened, and could plainly hear the noise of animals galloping.

     Quickly dismounting, I squatted down to get a better view of surrounding objects, and could faintly discern several dark bodies moving across the prairie from the direction of Pawnee Rock in a course that would bring them into the road a little ahead of me. I could not see them plainly enough to tell whether they were buffalo or mounted Indians; but leading my horse off the road a little way until I reached a lower piece of ground, I got a better view, and was greatly relieved to notice that it was only a small band of buffalo. They crossed the road a little way ahead of me, and continued on towards the river.

     Old Tobe seemed very anxious to go after them, but I concluded that I wanted no buffalo chasing just then; and another matter that was occupying my thoughts was that it was rather a suspicious circumstance for the buffalo to be on the run at this time of the night. It indicated that they had probably been disturbed by something or some one passing near where they had been grazing or lying down.

     They don't mind the approach of wolves much, for wolves never attack a band of buffalo, though they will sometimes attack a single one, especially if he is old or crippled and can't get out of their way. The most natural inference, then, was that likely some Indians had passed near them, causing this stampede.

     I sat still for a little while after the buffalo had passed, watching and listening in the direction they had come, but could neither see nor hear anything suspicious. Tobe, however, seemed very uneasy, stepping excitedly about, looking first in the direction the buffalo had gone, and then towards Pawnee Rock.

     As I was getting very cold I soon realized that it would not do to remain inactive much longer, or I would freeze. Indians or no Indians, I must go on. If they heard me and gave chase I had probably a better horse than any of them, and having the start could outrun them. If any should appear on the road ahead, Tobe would give me due notice of it, and I could then lay my plans to suit circumstances.

     These thoughts and may more passed through my mind in much less time than it has taken to write them.

     I struck the road again and started on, walking and leading my horse, stopping every few minutes to listen and look around, but nothing occurred to cause me any more uneasiness.

     My horse seemed to be quieter and better satisfied as we got farther away from the Rock. I walked on thus for a mile or two, till I got pretty well warmed up, and then mounting let the horse out at a brisk gallop, to try to make up some of the time I had lost. I knew if there were no more detentions I could easily reach the ranch before the mail would leave there in the morning, but was anxious to reach there as soon as I could, so as to have a little time to sleep and rest my horse before starting back.

     Nothing further occurred till I reached Walnut Creek, and as I crossed the ford and rode up the bank I could see the outline of the ranch, and near it the mail coach, our escort's wagon and their tent. As I approached the sentry sang out,

     "Halt! Who comes there?"

     "Friend," I quickly responded; and then added, "Peck, from Pawnee Fork."

     "Halt, friend Peck! Corporal o' the guard, number one!" he shouted, and then as the Corporal came out of the tent he added, "I've halted a mounted man out there who says he's Peck, from Pawnee Fork."

     "Where is he?" asked the Corporal.

     Recognizing the Corporal's voice, I called out, "Come, hurry up, Corporal Richmond, I'm near froze. I want to get into camp."

     "Hello! Is that you Peck? What in thunder brings you here this time of night?"

     Without further ceremony I rode up to the wagon, dismounted, and began answering questions as fast as I could, while some of the men--who were all up now--were starting up the fire to thaw me out, and make me some hot coffee.

     As my hands were numb with the cold some of the boys unsaddled, blanketed and fed my horse, while others helped to pull off my boots to thaw out my feet, which felt like blocks of wood hung to my legs. As my boots came off out dropped the two letters that I had stuck in a bootleg at starting from Pawnee Fork.

     On examining the addresses by the firelight now, for the first time, I noticed that one was addressed to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Department, and the other to Messrs. Hall & Porter, mail contractors, at Independence, Mo.

     I supposed that Lieut. Bell had sent a report to each party of the affair of the whisky.

     "Did you see or hear any signs of Indians along the road?" asked the Corporal.

     "Well, I ain't certain whether I did or not," I answered; and then related my meeting with the wolf-hunter at Ash Creek, and what he had told me about his missing partner, and the incident of the buffalo, and uneasy actions of my horse--but didn't tell how badly scared I'd been.

     "When we reached here, just before sundown," remarked Richmond, "Peacock told us that there had been a few Indians seen skulking around in the sand hills on the other side of the Arkansas for several days past, and he was pretty sure they were Kiowas. If they were friendly they would certainly come over to the store to do a little trading, or out of idle curiosity; but these seem to try to keep out of sight and don't come near the ranch."

     "Puttin' this an' that together," remarked old Tom, "an' what the wolf-hunter said, an' what Peck saw and heard, I'm inclined to think that it's more'n likely that the wolf-hunter's pardner has lost his hair, and that Mr. Peck was a heap nigher to them Kiowas tonight than he dreamt of. It is quite likely they had taken in the wolf-hunter's pard, and was a waitin' for the wolf-hunter to come across the river to look fur him, an' they'd a took him in too. He was too sharp fer to be caught that way; but when he rolled out fer the big road they was a watchin' him an' followed him, expectin' to find him about Pawnee Rock. An' if that wolf-hunter ain't up to their tricks they'll get him yet."

     "Why," remarked one of the men, "old Tom talks like he knows all about it."

     "I ain't a prophet," replied the old man, "nor the son of a prophet, but I ain't bin out in the Injun country all these years readin' Injun signs for nothin'. I don't quite see, though, how they managed to let Peck slip by 'em tonight, if they was there by the Rock. They shore didn't see or hear him, or they certainly would a tried to take him in. It's pure luck--jist one chance in a hundred." Then looking at me he added, "You'd better keep you eye skinned as you go back over the road tomorrow, young fellow, or you may find some Injuns yet, afore you get back."

     "Not tomorrow," said the Corporal, looking at his watch, "but today, for its now half-past two, and if any of you expect to sleep any more tonight you'd better turn in."

     I was both tired and sleepy, and having got my feet warmed and put myself outside another cup of hot coffee, I accepted the invitation to turn in between a couple of the boys and was soon sound asleep.
     (to be continued)

     Notice: If you would prefer to receive OUTPOST as a pdf file via email to save paper and postage, please send a note to the editor at {oliva@ruraltel.net}. You will see color photos in color and may print out the newsletter if you want a hard copy. Thank you.

Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2016, 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. Thank you so much for all your support!!!

Calendar
     For more information, please call the Fort at 620-285-6911.
     Dec. 10, 2016: Christmas Open House
     April 29, 2017: Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster, commemoration of Hancock Expedition in 1867 with programs at Fort Larned and the Cheyenne and Sioux Village Site

Deadline for next issue: Febuary 1, 2017

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 Fort Larned 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.

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




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