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


Fort Larned, 1867, Courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society

Fort Larned's Shelter-Rich History of Soil, Adobe, and Sandstone
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     The rangers and education volunteers are anxiously waiting for spring temperatures and the sound of children's voices stepping off the bus. This year's spring education theme is Dwellings of Fort Larned - An Earthy Experience of the 19th Century. Students will explore the transitions of the soldier's lifestyle from the time the Fort was established in 1859 until the last of the ten sandstone buildings was completed in 1868.

     Fort Larned was a 19th-century army post on the Santa Fe Trail, 1859-1878, named after Paymaster General Benjamin Larned. It was built with natural materials rich in earth properties that are visual proof of water processes from millions of years ago. The Fort was initially constructed of adobe, sod, and crude dugouts. When a more permanent post was built, Dakota sandstone and limestone were hauled by wagons to the site. Nine original buildings remain today, making Fort Larned one of the best preserved frontier military posts in the western United States.

     Earth Science and Santa Fe Trail history are Kansas state educational standards for primary grades. Students will participate in activities involving soil and adobe, finding and examining fossils and iron ore concretions, and exploring spaces in the original sandstone buidings. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the history of Fort Larned's habitats during the field-trip activities and, following the field trip, in a virtual learning exercise in a post wrap-up lesson.

     Fort Larned received a $10,000 Open Outdoor/National Park Foundation grant to help assist school districts with bus fuel. The grant supplies funds for all grades coming to the Fort, K-12. Interested teachers should call the Fort at 620-285-6911.

Fort Larned Old Guard Annual Mess & Muster, April 27
     The Old Guard's annual Mess & Muster is set for April 27, 2019 (please see the insert in this issue with full details and registration form), beginning with a car caravan from the Fort at 1:00 p.m. to Confrontation Ridge west of Burdett to dedicate a new marker, followed by archaeologists presenting "Digging Fort Larned" programs at the Quarterhouse Storehouse at the Fort:
          3:00 p.m., Dr. Tim Weston, "Archeological Investigations at the Village on Pawnee Fork (14NS403): A Well-Known Site Lost and Then Found."
          4:15 p.m., Dr. Gina Powell, "Fort Larned Metal Detector Survey 2016: Where Federal Compliance Archeology Meets Volunteer Opportunities near a National Historic Landmark."

          5:30 p.m., Following "Retreat" at there is a catered dinner at 6:00 p.m., reservations required by April 18, 2019, followed by a brief Old Guard business meeting (including the election of directors and officers, voting on proposed amendments to the Old Guard constitution and bylaws, recognition of the winning entries in the student photo/art contest for 2019, and presentation of the William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award and David K. Clapsaddle Memorial Educator Award), followed by Dr. Doug Scott's "Digging Fort Larned: An Archaeological View of the Fort's History."

     There is no charge except for the dinner ($15, reservations required by April 18, 2019); menu is smoked brisket, new potatoes, green beans, garden salad, cobbler dessert, tea and coffee. Please submit the enclosed registration form with payment or call 888-321-7341 (leave a message if no answer).

     The Old Guard extends special thanks to Derek Schaffer for the design of the Mess & Muster flyer {Front ~*~ Back} inserted in this issue. He donates the layout in memory of his late father-in-law, Pat Hall, who was an active member of Fort Larned Old Guard for many years.
Thank you Derek.

Thanks To Those Who Held The Fort
     During the recent six-week government shutdown, "essential staff" were required to be at work to protect the park and provide security. Chief Ranger George Elmore and Maintenance Water Operator Shawn Calkins were at work everyday to keep watch over this national treasure. We thank them for "Holding the Fort" during troubling times. To all of us who support Fort Larned, we know all the employees at Fort Larned National Historic Site are "essential staff," and we appreciate each one. Thanks for all you do.

Fort Larned Old Guard
Student Photo/Art Contest

     The Old Guard Board established an annual student photo/art contest last year, with the first contest entries due February 1, 2019, extended to February 15, 2019 because of the government shutdown. The contest winners will be recognized at Mess & Muster during the evening business meeting, and awards will be presented. There were more than 50 entries, a good start for anew program designed to get more young people involved with Fort Larned National Historic Site.

As announced in the previous Outpost, the contest guidelines are:
     1. Students from any location may submit one photograph and/or one piece of artwork (drawing, painting, poster, sculpture, or model) for each annual contest. The subject must relate to Fort Larned.
     2. There are three divisions, as follows, with an award for first and second place in each division:
          a. Grades 1-4
          b. Grades 5-8
          c. Grades 9-12
     3. Awards for first- and second-place entries in each division are presented at the annual Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster. The winning students and their parents will be guests of the Fort Larned Old Guard for Mess & Muster when the awards are presented.
     4. The winning entries will be on display at Fort Larned National Historic Site for four months and then returned to the students.

     Please join us at Mess & Muster when we recognize the winners of this first contest.

Protecting Out National Parks
     During the recent government shutdown, some of our National Parks were damaged because of inadequate staff to provide protection. We must protect these national treasures.

     Western writer Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) said, "National Parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."

     George Hartzog, Director of the National Park Service, 1964-1972, wrote in his 1988 autobiography, Battling for the National Parks, "Years ago, coal miners carried canaries with them into the mines to detect lethal gases. Today, our national parks are our ecological canaries."

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Janet Armstead

     Happy New Year! Who would have thought that the New Year would start with the Fort being closed? Everything is open again now, and we hope there is not another shutdown.

     At last October board meeting we looked at the Fort Larned Old Guard Constitution and Bylaws. It has been a number of years since a review was done. Please note the proposed changes elsewhere in this issue and read them carefully so when we meet at April's Mess & Muster you will be ready to vote on these changes.

     Mess & Muster, April 27, looks to be an exciting day! We will dedicate a new marker at Confrontation Ridge. If you've wanted to learn more about this site and see where this bit of history occurred, this is your opportunity. We are very thankful to the McJunkin family for permitting a historic marker on their property and sharing this site with everyone.

     Have you ever wondered what was found, archaeologically, at our Fort and surrounding area? Our Mess & Muster speakers (Dr. Doug Scott, Dr. Gina Powell, and Dr. Tim Weston) will answer your questions. Please look for the schedule of their speaking times on the wonderful flyers created by Derek Schaffer, in this issue. Once again, Derek has developed a beautiful flyer for Mess & Muster in memory of his late father-in-law Pat Hall who was a longtime member of the Old Guard and supporter of Fort Larned National Historic Site. Our program committee, (Rex Abrahams, Martha Scranton, and Leo Oliva) are commended and thanked for arranging this wonderful day. It takes many hours of planning and work on their part to have such a day planned for everyone. Also, special thanks to the volunteers who prepared and installed the signs at Confrontation Ridge, a project in the works for several years.

     I hear through the grapevine that our friend Ken Weidner is getting better. This is such great news. I would imagine patience might be a problem for Ken. Please continue to remember him in your prayers.

     It's a new year--have you remembered to "re-up" your membership to Fort Larned Old Guard? Thank you, especially life members, for your continued support of this great organization whose sole purpose is to support the best historical fort in Kansas. Yes, I'm about as biased as they come!

     Please plan to attend Mess & Muster on April 27.

Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko

     It's great to be back to work after the longest shutdown in our government's history. Fort Larned National Historic Site was left in good hands during the six-week-long closing. I personally thank Chief Ranger George Elmore and Maintenance Water Operator Shawn Calkins for coming to work everyday and providing for the security needs of the park.

     As we catch up on emails, meetings, paperwork, and important partner contacts, our renewed energy and commitment to protecting and preserving America's special places also brings an immense feeling of gratitude. We are thankful to be resuming our services to the public and for all the public support of our park's mission.

     Currently, a maintenance project is taking place in the Visitor Center. Work is being done on the museum's ceiling and electrical system. Because of the demolition of the ceiling, the exhibits had to be moved. Visitors are still able to access the auditorium for the Fort's interpretive film. This project allows us to inch closer to the new exhibits installation which will take place in the spring of 2020.

     Daily we are receiving calls from teachers asking about field trips. Fort Larned received the National Park Foundation Open Outdoor Grant this school year which provides funds for bus fuel. This is the seventh year the Fort has received a transportation grant. The grant program titles have changed over the years. The Open Outdoors grant is for school districts bringing students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Important information for the teachers to know is that buses--school, activity, or leased--are the required form of transportation in order to receive the funds. The grant funds are administered by the Old Guard.

     The cold weather and recent shutdown has slowed the progress made by our Student Conservation Association Interns Ethan Grennan and Lacie Rotz on the native plantings, watering, and mulching. Through the partnership with Student Conservation Association the interns have undertaken a variety of tasks familiarizing them with the National Park Service educational and interpretive work. This includes interpretive programs offered to the public on weekends. Stay tuned for some upcoming programs offered by the interpretive staff and our Student Conservation Association interns.

     Last but not least, the upcoming annual Fort Larned Old Guard Mess and Muster will be held on Saturday, April 27, at the Fort. The theme "Digging Fort Larned" will offer free admittance to hear several quality speakers on the topic of archeology in regards to the Fort's history. Be sure to read the inserted information in this newsletter and mark the date on your calendar. We are looking forward to spring and all its offerings--and the annual Mess & Muster event is a great "kickoff" for our season!

Fort Larned Roll Call:
Ethan Grennan
(Ethan is one of two Student Conservation Association interns serving at Fort Larned National Historic Site until July 2019.)

     Growing up in Kansas, I spent much of my time in the outdoors, camping, hunting, and fishing. Staying active in my Boy Scout Troop allowed me to gain a lot of valuable experiences in the outdoors and provided many opportunities to serve my community as I worked to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. After high school I had convinced myself I wanted to be a wildlife biologist and I spent some time at Kansas State University. However, I ended up spending most of my time studying park management and conservation. After a couple years of being at KSU, I ended up having to take off some time from school and spent the next two years working and living back in McPherson. Eventually, I moved to Wichita to go back to school where I enrolled for a BS degree in Biological Sciences at Wichita State University.

     At Wichita State I grew a lot as a person and developed a deeper passion for biology. Classes like field ecology, conservation ecology, and entomology helped solidify my interest in a career in science and conservation. I spent much of my time in the entomology lab where I met some wonderful people and great mentors. Oftentimes I was assisting graduate students with their research as well as working on my own undergraduate research with carabid beetles. I loved the opportunities to work in the field, see and learn new things, and teach others about what I had learned. I graduated in the spring of 2017 and at some point in the future plan to return to school and earn a Master's degree and further pursue a career as a biologist.

     In my spare time I enjoy trying different methods of both indoor and outdoor gardening, learning about plants and insects, as well as drawing and painting. I spend much of my free time in Wichita where I was living with my girlfriend, Hannah, and our three-legged cat while she finishes her degrees in business management and entrepreneurship. For fun, we enjoy going to movies as well as the outdoors, hiking, and taking trips to the mountains in Colorado. We are both excited for what our futures hold outside of Kansas after she graduates this spring. Serving with the Student Conservation Association has been a great experience and I'm learning a lot about the National Park Service as I enjoy my time here at Fort Larned.

Volunteer Roll Call:
Kyle Burkett
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     The winter months are cold and often dreary at Fort Larned, but Kyle Burkett applied to volunteer as a front-desk greeter for that very reason. It's not that Kyle doesn't want visitors. He's about as friendly and welcoming as a volunteer can be, and he is already into his third month of volunteering here. The peaceful setting and quiet days afford him time to learn more about his great-great grandfather, William Burkett, who served in the U. S. Army and fought on the Union side in the Civil War. Kyle says, "I know what kind of uniform I wore and equipment I used when stationed in the Army. I wanted to see and feel the uniforms and equipment he had in the Army. I wanted to get an idea of how he survived."

     Kyle and his wife, Dionna, are originally from Northern Georgia but have been full-time RVers for the past three years. After 30 years of a military career and then a career in law enforcement, Kyle decided, with Dionne's support, to forge a new adventure for them both. His motto is, "There is more to life than a traditional lifestyle and we wanted to create our own path."

     Two of the special places the Burkett's have volunteered are Yellowstone NP and Glacier NP. Kyle enjoyed the topography, foliage, and wildlife of Glacier but he missed seeing a family of moose that Dionna spied on one of her Yellowstone hikes. They both love the national parks! Dionna volunteered for the Fort's Christmas event serving the foods and desserts while Kyle dressed as a soldier in the barracks. We are happy they can add a real Fort event experience to their volunteer resume! Kyle's favorite book from the Fort Larned library is Don Rickey's Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars.

     Sometimes in the future the Burketts will be heading to Montana to work in the sugar beet harvest for about 6 weeks. This gig is a fast moving, high energy, and laborious yet fun job they have worked annually since taking up the RV way of life. Kyle is a machine operator piling beets and Dionna takes the weigh tickets from the drivers. Kyle says, "The pay is great and allows us to volunteer at different national parks during the winter."

     Kyle recognizes the wonderful resource that is Fort Larned. He shared some of his childhood memories that connect him to Fort Larned, one being his love of watching Wild West television shows and movies. More importantly is the connection he made to Fort Larned and the life of his great-great grandfather. Kyle's not sure which national park is on their list of adventures but before it happens the Burketts will visit all their family back in Georgia. It's been awhile since they've been home.

     The staff at Fort Larned is thankful to have such wonderful volunteers! If you are interested in being a volunteer, call the Fort at 620-285-6911,

Proposed Amendments To The Fort Larned Old Guard Constitution and Bylaws
by Chris Day, Fort Larned Old Guard Board

     The Fort Larned Old Guard Board works diligently to provide support for Fort Larned National Historic Site, which is why the membership voting and contributions are so appreciated!

     At the October 2018 Board meeting, the Board looked over the Fort Larned Old Guard Constitution and Bylaws and voted unanimously to recommend amendments to stay progressive as a friends organization.

     Regarding amendments, "the Constitution of the Guard may be amended only by a two-thirds vote of the voting members who cast a ballot on constitution and/or bylaws questions in an officially called election. Notice of proposed amendments shall be distributed in writing to the membership at least 30 days prior to the election at which the amendment(s) will be considered."

     This notice in Outpost satisfies the "30 days prior" requirement. Please be prepared to vote on the proposed amendments below at the Mess & Muster Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 27, 2019.

     Fort Larned Old Guard Constitution and Bylaws Proposed Amendments approved by the Fort Larned Old Guard Board, October 13, 2018:

Constitution
Name:

     I. The name of the organization shall be: The Fort Larned Old Guard.
Proposal: The name of the organization shall be: The Fort Larned Old Guard, Inc.

Rules of Order:
     III. Voting membership carries with it the right of casting a ballot in all elections. Voting members will receive copies of the annual report of the Old Guard and quarterly newsletter. Proposal: Voting membership carries with it the right of casting a ballot in all elections. Voting members will receive copies of the Old Guard quarterly newsletter.

Bylaws
Article I-Election Procedures:

     A. Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected by a simple majority vote of the voting members who cast their ballot in an officially called election.

     Proposal: Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected by a simple majority vote of voting members present at an officially called election.

Article II-Administration:
     C. An Annual Business Meeting of the membership shall be held on the last Saturday in April of each year. The Annual Business Meeting will consist of the Treasurer's report and proposed budget as approved by the Board, nominations for new members of the Board, amendments to the Constitution and/or By-Laws and any other business. The Board shall meet in conjunction with the Annual Meeting and the Fort Larned Candlelight Tour in October. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the Chairman, or a simple majority of its members.

     The Superintendent of Fort Larned National Historic Site or his/her designee from among the staff, shall be invited to attend all meetings of the membership and of the Board to serve as an advisor on National Park Service policy.

     Proposal: An Annual Business Meeting of the membership shall be held on the last Saturday in April of each year. The Annual Business Meeting will consist of the Treasurer's report as approved by the Board, nominations for new members of the Board, amendments to the Constitution and/or Bylaws and any other business. The Board shall meet in conjunction with the Annual Meeting and the Fort Larned Candlelight Tour in October. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the Chairman, or a simple majority of its members. The Superintendent of Fort Larned National Historic Site or his/her designee from among the staff, shall be invited to attend all meetings of the membership and of the Board to serve as an advisor on National Park Service policy.

Article II-Administration:
     F. A petition signed by fifty (50) percent of the voting members and submitted to the Board shall make it mandatory for the Chairman to set a date as soon as possible, and in any event within thirty (30) days of receipt of the petition, for a meeting of the voting members. Any transactions adopted at such a meeting, including the amending of the Constitution and/or By-Laws shall be binding on the Board and all officers of the Old Guard and, where applicable, shall constitute changes in the Constitution and/or By-Laws of the Fort Larned Old Guard. Proposal: Completely delete.

Article III-Fiscal Policy:
     B. The Treasurer shall make no disbursements of Old Guard moneys without authorization from the Board, except that the Chairman may authorize an expenditure of up to five hundred ($500) dollars without the prior approval of the Board. The Treasurer shall deposit all funds of the Old Guard in a bank approved by the Board and in the name of the Old Guard. The Board will approve all investments of the Guard's Funds. The Treasurer shall balance the accounts of the Old Guard as of September 30th for each fiscal year and a report be submitted to the membership at the annual meeting.

     Proposal: The Treasurer shall make no disbursements of Old Guard moneys without authorization from the Board. The Treasurer shall deposit all funds of the Old Guard in a bank approved by the Board and in the name of the Old Guard. The Board will approve all investments of the Guard's funds. The Treasurer shall balance the accounts of the Old Guard as of date of each board meeting and report the balance to the board, and the Treasurer shall report current financial balance to the membership at the annual meeting.

Veteran Care
by Sam Young, Fort Larned National Historic Site Volunteer

     Fort Larned, like other U. S. Army forts, had a military hospital and usually had a military doctor assigned to provide medical care to the soldiers stationed there or passing through the area. The biographies and services of the post surgeons at Fort Larned have been chronicled in recent issues of Outpost. Many of these doctors had served as doctors during the Civil War. It was not uncommon for these doctors to also treat civilians, some of whom were veterans of military service. One such veteran who may have been treated at Fort Larned was John Riley Mote.

The following was submitted by Susan Toman
Great-Great-Granddaughter of John Riley Mote:

     John Riley Mote was born in Macon, Missouri in December of 1844, to David and Susanna Crain Mote. He was a farmer, horse trader and a proficient horseman. He served in the Civil War with Second Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, also known as Merrill's Horse. He married Mary Sarah Campbell on September 5, 1869 in Macon, Missouri and they had nine children in 23 years.

     John Riley Mote like many soldiers he suffered from war related illnesses that required ongoing medical treatment. Throughout his remaining years he lived near a Fort that could provide the medical care that could serve his needs. Thus he and his family moved from Missouri to Colorado, to Kansas and he most likely received medical treatment at Fort Larned, near Great Bend, Kansas where he lived. He served as the post commander for the Grand Army of the Republic, Pap Thomas Post No. 52 in Great Bend, Kansas. The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was a veteran's organization for former Union Civil War soldiers founded in 1866, but primarily active in the 1880s and later. He died on October 23, 1906 in Great Bend, Kansas of a stroke and is buried in the Great Bend Cemetery, in the Civil War Circle.

     At age 17, with his own horse and equipment, John Riley Mote volunteered in Company C, 11th Cavalry Regiment, a federally funded Missouri state militia organization. It was organized in Missouri from January 1 to April 20, 1862, and was assigned to duty in the District of North Missouri. Company C fought in actions at Cherry Grove, Missouri, on June 26 and July1, and near Memphis, Missouri on July 18. Later he served with the Second Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, also known as "Merrill's Horse." The Second was organized by Captain Lewis Merrill, a regular Army officer and a veteran of the prewar U.S. 2nd Dragoons. The Second was active from December 1861 to September 1865. Mote fought in engagements at Blackwater, Roan's, Tan Yard in Memphis, Moore's Mill, Kirksville and the Chariton River.

     John was a lone cavalryman sent to deliver information to Company H, 2nd Regiment Missouri State Militia, engaged in battle at Chalk Bluff, Arkansas, May 1-2, 1863. When he arrived the battle was over and he was ordered to return to his post. On his way back he was ambushed by Confederates who chased him into a farmer's barn. A short battle ensued and the Confederates set fire to the barn with John and his horse inside. John escaped, but his horse perished. It took him over a month to walk back to his post and avoid being captured. When he arrived he was promptly charged with desertion. In January 1869 the War Department Adjutant General's Office deducted $3.60 from his pay for the use and risk of his horse. On March 26, 1883, he was exonerated of the desertion charges by the Adjutant General.

Fort Larned In The News
(A search of old newspapers turns up articles about Fort Larned, important sources of information. Plans are to make this a regular column as articles are found and space is available.)
Indian News, Leavenworth Times, May 21, 1868

     Capt. A. J. Angell has arrived here from the Plains. He believes there is no prospect of any immediate difficulty with the Indians. At Fort Larned there are about six hundred Indians, and about the same number at Fort Dodge. Maj. Wynkoop is at Fort Larned and has invited all the Indians to come there and receive their annuities. The Agent was dealing out to them flour, sugar, coffee, tobacco, cloth, &c. A large part of the Indians are well armed with Spencer carbines--with which they are very expert- -and are well supplied with ammunition, furnished by the Government. All seems quiet and harmonious now but should hostilities begin, these savages have "all the modern improvements" for deadly warfare.

     Mr. (James) Morrison, Maj. Wynkoop's interpreter, recently went from Larned to Dodge to request the Indians there to come up to Larned. He reports that he was shot at by the Indians, but that TAll Bull, chief of the Dog Soldiers (a band of the Cheyennes) interceded and saved his life. The Indians were reluctant about leaving Fort Dodge, but the shooting at Morrison probably had its origin in a mere personal feud.

     Capt. Angell does not believe that there is any danger of an Indian war in that region, at present unless the Indians are furnished with whisky by the white miscreants, not a few of whom are roaming about the Plains. On the way out the party visited an Indian camp near Fort Dodge and found more than half of the Indians drunk. Some time ago a man named White, Chaplain at Fort Dodge, was discovered in smuggling whisky, at midnight, to one Jones, a discharged interpreter. White is now on trial at Fort Dodge and will probably be dismissed the service. The officers at these Posts fully understand the danger which may arise from a single drunken brawl between whites and Indians, and they seem to be doing all in their power to keep whisky from the savages. (The Fort Dodge Post Returns show that Chaplain Alvin G. White was dismissed from the service.)

     Capt. Angell brings in some very fine specimens of coal from the West, and reports heavy deposits in the locality where these specimens were found. They will prove very valuable to the Pacific Railroad and for manufacturing purposes.

Fort Larned Sold, Larned Chronoscope, July 4, 1902
     J. C. Pontius reports the sale of four sections, including the buildings, of old Fort Larned this week to E. E. Frizell, who has just returned from Lincoln, Illinois, where he closed the deal with Frank Frorer, owner of the Fort ranch. The consideration was $40,000, on which Mr. Frizell turned his eight hundred acre farm in Missouri.

Indian Outrages! A Trading Post Burned!
Leavenworth Times, May 24, 1868

     We gain the following intelligence from Mr. Joseph Douglas, who has just arrived here from the West. Some months ago Mr. Douglas was appointed Post Trader by the commanding officer at Fort Zarah, and his store was on Walnut Creek, very near that Post. On Tuesday last, the 19th, about one hundred and twenty five Cheyennes, accompanied by a few Arapahoes, came to the trading house and demanded whiskey. They were refused, and became very much excited. It was evident, from their manner, that they had already been drinking. Not succeeding in their efforts, they resorted to all possible schemes to provoke a collision, with the white men and the soldiers. They cocked revolvers and held them at the heads of white men. Holding their revolvers in this way, some of them compelled soldiers to take cartridges and bury them in the sand, and then dig them up again. Lieut. Shepherd is in command at Fort Zarah, but he has only twenty five men, and if they had resented any of the insults heaped upon them, it would have resulted in an indiscriminate massacre of the entire garrison. Matters went on in this way all Tuesday afternoon, the Indians occasionally galloping up the Creek to obtain whisky from some miscreant who was thus feeding them with fire.

     In the evening Mr. Douglas left his store and went to the Fort. At about ten o'clock the Indians were seen kindling a fire around the store, and in a few minutes the building was in flames. The store and all its contents---valued at $5,000---were entirely destroyed. The Indians then went away.

     The general feeling in that vicinity is that the Indians want to fight. They recently told a white man named Parker, with whom they claim to be friendly: "When we go down to Zarah, look out, every white man is a -----," They drew fifteen sacks of flour at Larned the other day and then threw it away.

     It is plain that it will take only a spark to kindle this excited mass into a flame which will spread all over the Plains.

Col. Almon Rockwell leaves Fort Larned
Burlington (KS) Patriot, May 9, 1868

     (Col. Rockwell was the Quartermaster who oversaw the construction of the stone buildings at Fort Larned.)
     Col. Rockwell, Q.M.U.S.A., passed through Burlington yesterday with his personal effects and a supply train of nine wagons. He is on his way to Fort Gibson, whither he has been assigned to act in the capacity of Chief of Quartermaster of the District of the Indian Territory. He is from Fort Larned, where he has lately been on duty.

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. At this point Peck is telling about hunting. He was a serious hunter, sold wolf pelts, and later wrote a novel about wolf hunters near Fort Larned. At this point he explains antelope hunting. He wrote:)
     The antelope is a more keen-sighted animal and more wary than the buffalo, but their inquisitiveness is so great that this weakness is often taken advantage of by the hunter to draw them up to him and hold them there until he has killed several. The crack of a rifle or puff of smoke will cause them to jump and run a little way, but if the hunter remains concealed they soon return to stare at the place whence came the report and smoke, apparently wondering what caused the strange sound and sight.

     One day of the previous Summer as we were riding along on the march we saw one of our Delaware Indians do a job of scientific stalking that beat anything of the kind I had ever seen or heard of. Out on the level prairie about a half mile from the road was a small bunch of antelope grazing, but taking little notice of our marching column.

     The Delaware dismounted and, staking his horse by the side of the road, started on foot walking towards the antelope. Holding his rifle muzzle down, against his right side and leg, and the left arm motionless against the body, he walked swiftly towards them while their heads were down grazing, making no motions except the movement of the legs in walking, stopping instantly and remaining motionless as a stump whenever one of the little animals would raise its head to look at him; then as soon as they were all busy feeding he moved on again. In this way he approached within easy gunshot of them, raised his rifle quickly and fired, killing one, but the rest ran away. It was an intensely interesting sight, and I never saw a better job of stalking before or since.

     On another occasion I saw another one of our Delawares approach a herd of antelope on foot near enough to attract their attention and excite their curiosity by raising the corner of a red blanket on the end of his wiping stick, which he had stuck to the ground. He then coolly lay down behind the blanket and waited for the inquisitive little animals to come to him, which he knew they would do. When they first noticed the blanket they seemed excited and frightened by the strange object, and started to run away, but overcome by curiosity, they would circle round, approach, halt and gaze at the wonderful thing; then start off again, circle round, and come back to take another look, each time coming a little nearer. The hunter meantime lying perfectly motionless, with his rifle ready to fire when he thought they were near enough, drew them on until they were within short range, fired, killing one, reloaded his piece, fired again, killing another. This operation he repeated until he had killed four of the pretty but fatally inquisitive little animals, before their curiosity was sufficiently satisfied to run away. In this exploit the Delaware, whose name was "Dead Shot," used one of our Sharp's rifle carbines, the first breech loader he had ever seen, and seemed delighted with the workings of the new invention. These carbines threw a half-ounce ball 800 yards, were pretty accurate, and the longest range rifles then known.

     In this instance the antelope could have readily recognized an enemy in a man standing up and shooting, but the strange object which was partially concealed by the red blanket was beyond their comprehension, and an intense desire for a more intimate acquaintance lured them on to their death. When frightened and running they get over ground very rapidly and very gracefully.

     It is a singular fact, and a wise provision of the Creator, that the female of antelope, deer, elk, and possibly some other animals, do not leave any scent to their tracks during the time that their young are in the helpless stages of infancy or suckling. When the fawn is weaned, and of an age that enables it take care of itself, then the track of the doe will again give forth a scent that enables a dog or wolf to follow it. Were not this wise safeguard placed around the young of such animals their enemies would trail them to the hiding places of their young ones, and by destroying the offspring soon exterminate the species.

     My remarks in reference to the buffalo may sound a little like ancient history now (1901), when the species is almost extinct, but any one who crossed the plains during that period can remember the herds of countless millions that roamed at will through what is now a settled country dotted with farms and towns. Even their bleached bones, that once were so numerous everywhere in the old range, are becoming quite scarce now, having been gathered up and shipped east in hundreds of car loads to be ground up for fertilizing land.

     Much as we may deplore the wanton extermination of the buffalo, their destruction proved to be an important factor in solving the Indian problem. The buffalo was the plains Indian's main dependence for food, clothing, shelter, and many other things. With the buffalo for an inexhaustible and never-failing supply of his principal necessities, the plains Indian roamed at will, was practically independent of Uncle Sam, and waged a cruel war on the helpless travelers and settlers of the frontier. The buffalo gone, and other game made correspondingly scarce, Mr. Lo soon felt his helplessness and dependence on the Government, and was easily corraled on reservations and watched by the soldiers, as at the present time. Soldiering on the Frontier, if we have a frontier, of late years is a tame, spiritless occupation to what it was in the early days before the civil war. (to be continued)

New Membership
Fort Larned Old Guard
Welcomes the following new members:

     Kristin Keith, 527 W. 4th, Larned KS 67550
     Tom Giessel, 1392 T Rd, Larned KS 67550, Life Member

Calendar
     April 27, 2019: Fort Larned Old Guard Annual Mess & Muster, see insert in this issue
     April 28, 2019: Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail, Fort Larned, 1 p.m., lunch, reservations required by April 18, 2019 program on Lt. Simon Bolivar Buckner on the Santa Fe Trail, 1851-1852

Deadline for next issue: May 1, 2019

     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 2017, 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!!!

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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