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

Gay & Lloyd Choitz: Volunteers of the Year
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     Superintendent Kevin McMurry announced the 2012 Fort Larned Volunteer of the Year Award at the Annual VIP Dinner on Saturday, October 13, 2012. Congratulations to the recipients, Guy and Lloyd Choitz! Thanks to them, the captain's quarters of the North Officers' Quarters has evolved into a wonderfully entertaining and informative stop for visitors at our special events. They do a great job interpreting the lifestyle of officers and families.

     Volunteer hours are up this year at Fort Larned National Historic Site! The volunteers assisting our maintenance staff this year are credited with boosting the numbers. The maintenance project this past summer was roof repairs on the barracks building.

     Accumulative volunteer hours in 2012 amounted to 10,326 compared to 10,290 in 2011. Our recent Candelight Tour event was very successful due to the 86 volunteers taking part in scenes, guiding the tours, and helping with the refreshments. Some new faces helping out included Boy Scout Troop 524 from Wichita and several Fort Hays students who were also here for the Labor Day event. Chief Ranger George Elmore thanked the volunteers saying "You really made history come to life and set new high standard for next year!"

     The staff of Fort Larned extends deep gratitude to every volunteer who gives of their time an talent throughout the year. We feel very fortunate to have an active and strong volunteer program.

Volunteers Baylea Perez, Cathy Weber and Rex Abrhams portray
scene in Commissary Storehouse for Candlelight Tour.
Photo courtesy of Tracy K. Williams.
Volunteers Provide Great Candlelight Tour
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     A very successful Candlelight Tour on Saturday, October 13, was enjoyed by all thanks to the 86 volunteers who took part! The theme of the evening was "Necessary Evil-Post Sutler/Trader." Nine very different scenes showed recorded events involving the sutler and his wares at Fort Larned. More than 280 visitors took a step back in time as they followed guides to each vignette. They observed the importance of the sutler's services to the fort but also saw the corruption in the system.

     Although for a very short time Fort Larned had two post sutlers, there was usually only one appointed to each post. That sutler, or trader as he was often called, had an exclusive guaranteed market. But with the license came certain conditions set by the Post Council of Administration. The prices he could charge were established by the Council. The sutler was not to sell alcohol to the soldiers without permission from the officers, a condition which was ignored more often than not. The sutler was not allowed to extend credit for more than half the soldier's monthly salary. Merchandise included canned goods, cloth, ammunition, and soaps, to name a few. He sold a considerable number of luxury items besides spirits of the beverage kind, including oysters, chocolate, cigars, and cologne.

     One scene during the Candlelight Tours involved the sutler selling goods at prices exceeding those set by the Council. Several officers attend a meeting at Captain Nicholas M. Nolan's quarters to discuss the problem. Another scene taking place at the Shops' Building showed carpenters working on a "Big Board" to be used by each company to keep track of the number of drinks each man consumed at the Sutler's store--the limit was to be three.

     The role of the sutler didn't just affect the soldiers but also the families living at Fort Larned and civilians at the post and passing through. The tours encountered a laundress, with her daughter in tow, begging the clerk at the Commissary for rations to feed her family. Her family's lack of food supplies was due to the high prices at the Trader's Store. The clerk cannot oblige unless one of children becomes a company laundress too. Her predicament seems dire until the clerk relents by giving her food against her next allotment.

     In a scene on Officers' Row, two young ladies, rolling dough for pie, take a jab at the sutler. "He just has canned vegetables on his shelves." The squash pies boast the success of the company's gardens. An irony is revealed when the matron of the kitchen reminds the women that, "Those canned goods will keep vegetables on our table this winter-now get back to work!"

     It was not all work and no play for our volunteers. Boy Scout Troop #524 had a great time portraying soldiers in some scenes and children playing with old-fashioned toys elsewhere. The ladies on Officers' Row enjoyed a party complete with music and hot chocolate. The night sky was so ablaze with star constellations it literally made some dizzy to look at it! What a wonderful and entertaining evening this year's Candlelight Tour turned out to be!

     We encourage you all to jot down this date for future reference--October 12, 2013--the next Candlelight Tour event.

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
     It has been quite a year for Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Fort Larned Old Guard. After years of planning, hard work, and patience, the North Officer's Quarters (HS9) has been opened to the public. This interpretive addition to the fort's strong list of nine original structures makes Fort Larned one of the best Indian Wars-era forts in the U.S. Of course, all of us associated with the fort think it is THE BEST.

     Construction plans are well underway for the building of a new "historic" bridge just west of the quadrangle and a new parking lot across the Pawnee. Entrance to the fort will be from this western edge, just like the original travelers entered the fort. Watch for completion in 2013.

     Congratulations to Volunteers of the Year Lloyd and Gay Choitz. Your hard work and dedication to Fort Larned is sincerely appreciated. We value the hard work you have put in on HS9. It looks great. Thank You!

     Now, what has the Old Guard done this year? Well, here is a quick list:

     Accepted the donation of the Little Red House on behalf of Fort Larned. A gift given by Old Guard members David and Alice Clapsaddle. Several programs have already been held at the Little Red House.

     Helped sponsor the latest Fort Larned brochure/rack card, along with the Larned Tourism Committee. We are hoping it is as big a hit as the previous one which flew off the racks and had several reprints.

     Your Board served 190 people "Lunch in the Barracks" at the Santa Fe Trail Symposium held on Saturday, September 22, 2012. We had to move the meal from the barracks's mess hall to the Quartermaster building when the reservations increased 60% over 2010.

     Hosted the Santa Fe Trail group at the Indian Village site where Leo Oliva and Louis Kraft gave a program to over 160 attendees.

     Now here is some big news! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27, 2013. The Old Guard is going to sponsor the Kansas premier showing of a long-lost 1920s' silent film called "Daughter of Dawn." This movie was made in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma and featured Kiowa and Comanche actors. The Oklahoma Historical Society owns the film which had only been shown a couple of times during its original premier in Los Angeles. The movie, the story of how the film was discovered, and a side note about a special tipi used in the film is truly amazing. Google "Daughter of Dawn" and read up on this unique film. As Fort Larned Old Guard Board member Kathy Pickard expressed, "It almost brings goose bumps just thinking about it" (the recovery and the history it represents).

     Old Guard Board Vice-Chairman Tim Zwink is hard at work putting this program together. He intends to have other speakers accompany the film to offer what might be called a "directors cut." We have reserved the Larned Community Center for this presentation. It will truly be a one-of-a-kind day. You will not want to miss it.

     It is time to renew your annual membership (see enclosed form for your convenience). Your memberships are not taken lightly. We sincerely appreciate them. The funds generated from membership renewals are used to promote and enhance the forts' "experience" to our visitors. The Old Guard has supported speakers and symposiums, purchased artifacts, created traveling displays, and secured the Indian Village site that General Winfield S. Hancock destroyed in 1867. Thank you for being a part of this heritage!

     I close with one more Thank You to all of the Volunteers who make Fort Larned such a special place. There are over 300 on the rosters and we appreciate each and every one of you. You help make Fort Larned the special place that it is. Thank you!

Superintendent's Column
"On Our Watch" by Kevin McMurry
     Dear Friends,
A year in review at Fort Larned, Southwest Kansas's National Park always includes great Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day celebrations with hundreds of volunteer "living history" reenactors bringing the 1860s military post to life. Along with the official reopening of the North Officers' Quarters after being closed to the public for more than three decades, 2012 was no different with the summer holiday weekends bringing some of the largest crowds in years to experience the working frontier fort. In addition, the Fort's annual Visitor Survey conducted by the University of Idaho indicated 99% public approval of facilities and 100% approval of professional services and programs offered!

     After a few months off, we are very pleased to have our great friend, Dr. David Clapsaddle, back in the business of delivering the hands-on education programs he's developed, targeting Fort Larned and Santa Fe Trail history. Through his efforts Fort Larned continues to offer its largest assortment of off-site school programs ever. David's series of traveling trunks, containing artifacts relative to compelling and historically-accurate stories which he has written, continues to be highly requested by schools in Kansas and neighboring states.

     Each story relates to the Santa Fe Trail or Fort Larned, or both, and includes a display of the artifacts and a question/answer period. Each presentation requires about 45 minutes. The program is available at no cost to elementary schools, public and private. Interested educators can contact Dr. Clapsaddle directly at 620-285-3295 or the Fort at 620-285-6911. Information on the different trunk programs is available from David or at the Fort's website {}. In a related development and with valuable assistance from the Fort Larned Old Guard and Western National Parks Association, the fort continues to offer a descriptive brochure which is available on request that details the educational opportunities provided by the Fort and all its education partners.

     Another significant education program improvement came from David and Alice Clapsaddle and the Fort Larned Old Guard (Fort Larned Old Guard) in transfer of the Little Red House and property to the Fort Larned Old Guard. In collaboration with Fort Larned, Kansas Department of Corrections, the City of Larned, and property neighbors, this icon representing the beginning of the City of Larned continues to be available for education programs and celebratory events.

     The Plains Indian Exhibit constructed by Fort Larned Old Guard Board Member Ken Weidner continues to tour the State and, after its summer stay at the Pratt Museum, is now displayed at the St. John, Kansas Ida Long Goodman Library. The Fort's other traveling exhibit displaying a Buffalo Soldier and his horse is currently at the Larned Library. Contact us at the Fort to request either exhibit for display and we'll get it on the calendar.

     Again this May, the Fort hosted its "Junior Ranger" Day with two special programs teaching knowledge and skills necessary to become a Fort Larned Junior Ranger. The new Junior Rangers received a Junior Ranger badge and a surprise souvenir. Drinks and snacks were provided by volunteers during this fun event for children and their families. In addition, the Fort hosted two separate programs introducing both the Boy Scout Ranger and Girl Scout Ranger patches which are now available.

     After too short a summer with great visitors, seasonal coworkers, volunteers, and other partners it was time for the Candlelight Tour and Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. The Candlelight Tour, "Necessary Evil-Post Sutler/Trader" showed both the good and bad of dealings with the independent contracted Sutler.

     Prior to the candlelight tour, the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Awards Program was sponsored by Western National Parks Association and catered by Tagga's Catering of Larned. This annual program recognizes the hundreds of volunteers who supported Fort Larned by contributing more than 10,000 hours of volunteer services throughout the year. The 2012 Volunteers of the Year Award went to Lloyd and Gay Choitz who are not only great volunteers but who have also become very good friends to all of us. Read more about Lloyd and Gay elsewhere in this edition!

     Efforts continue to assist the City of Larned and community partners in developing a hiking, biking, and fitness trail system through Larned and on to Camp Pawnee and Fort Larned. Currently, the trail plan is in final revision for further discussions with stakeholders prior to searching for funds necessary for design and construction.

     Initial planning to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Fort Larned National Historic Site in 2014 is already beginning with the Fort Larned Old Guard and numerous other partners. Fort Larned, Kansas's first National Park site was authorized by President Lyndon Johnson in August, 1964 and since then many people and events have shaped the park and programs bringing us to today. The 50th anniversary celebration should recognize all those milestones, and we look forward to including everyone interested in helping us plan the events.

     Work throughout the year to reconstruct the historic wagon bridge in its original location proceeded well and the contractors secured by the Federal Highway Administration Office in Denver have completed their preliminary inspection of the site. Work is expected to begin soon and continue through the winter, weather permitting. I look forward to relating the progress of this work in the next issue of Outpost!

     Be sure to join us for a "Fort Larned Holiday Open House" program on December 8 with special musical guests, Fort Larned Old Guard members Chris Day and Janet Armstead! Also watch for announcement of the community Holiday celebration at the Little Red House also in early December. With generous assistance from employees, partners, and great volunteer friends, Larned's National Park site continues to provide Fort Larned and Santa Fe Trail history for all to learn and enjoy.

Margaret Linderer
Fort Larned Old Guard Roll Call:
Margaret Linderer
     (Margaret Linderer and husband Steve (retired superintendent at Fort Larned National Historic Site) are life members of the Old Guard. Margaret has volunteered at the fort for more than 20 years. She has sewn period clothing for many other volunteers and helped prepare exhibits for the fort. She is known for cooking wonderful meals for living-history volunteers. Although she and Steve now live in Colorado, Margaret continues to volunteer at the fort. She provided the following biography for our readers.)

     I grew up on a farm in Central Oregon. After graduating from the small, local high school, I earned a B. S. in zoology and an M. S. in natural history and ecology from Oregon State University. I joined the National Park Service as a ranger trainee in 1971. This took me first to Albright Training Center at Grand Canyon National Park, then to Washington D. C. for about nine months of "urban experience." Since I had never been east of Oregon and my hometown had 600 people, this was quite an adventure. My assignment after my training year was Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the big island of Hawaii. My duties ran the gamut from the routine front desk, interpretive programs and patrols, to accident investigations, goat roundups, and a lot of eruption duty. While at Hawaii Volcanoes I was sent to law enforcement training (Federal Law Eenforcement Training Center) in Washington, D. C. There I met Steve and we married after he transferred to Hawaii two years later.

     When Steve was transferred to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, I was unable to find a position nearby, so left National Park Service. A lifelong interest in sewing led me to apply for work at a fabric store. I worked there, and managed the store on an interim basis until it closed. Soon after, our son Russell was born. Not long after that, I began my sewing business, doing alterations for clothing stores and private clients as well as constructing garments.

     The next transfer was to Friendship Hill National Historic Site in SW Pennsylvania. This is where my interest in historic clothing took off. The main feature of the park is a house built in stages from 1789 to 1822. We all participated in their first fashion show with some of my early efforts. Steve wore knee britches and a great coat. I had a dress from 1789, and Russell wore a dress (he was 2). Closely associated with Friendship Hill is Fort Necessity National Battlefield. The Mount Washington Tavern (within Fort Necessity NB) spans the period from the late 1820s to the mid 1850s. While we were there, I made at least ten dresses with all the under garments, as a Volunteer in Parks (VIP).

     We arrived in Larned in August 1990, about two weeks before Russell started kindergarten. Our first volunteer event was the candlelight tour that year. Russell hasn't missed a candlelight tour since. My first VIP sewing project debuted at the Christmas open house that year. It was a dark green calico dress that is still in service. Since then I have made many ladies' dresses, chemises, drawers, jackets, children's garments, men's shirts and trousers, a sack suit, a Jesuit robe, and a chaplain's frock suit. I've lost track of how many pieces are now in the clothing collections. Other projects include curtains, signal flags, and bags for cannon balls.

     The first cooking adventure in the hospital kitchen was Labor Day weekend 1994. That kitchen then had a small stove (now in the north officers' quarters) whose top was smaller than the big frying pan. Since then I've been there every Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, plus some special events. Fortunately, the current large range has been in place for a number of years. One challenge was doing a roast beef dinner for then National Park Service Director Robert Stanton and about 80 volunteers.

     Besides sewing and cooking, I've been involved in other VIP jobs at Fort Larned. I've spent many hours manning a booth at the State Fair and other events. Among the more mundane jobs has been picking up trash, shoveling snow to clear out for a Christmas open house, and being a general purpose gofer.

     My business sewing in Larned varied between busy and total chaos. I did a lot of alterations, drapes, weddings (bride and bridesmaids), prom dresses and historic clothing for reenactors.

     Following Steve's retirement at the end of 2005, we moved to the mountains of southern Colorado where we live in the pines and are surrounded by birds, deer, and bears. I have returned each Labor Day and Memorial Day to cook in the hospital kitchen. There have been several major VIP projects as well. For the 150th anniversary of Fort Larned, I created a timeline fashion show from the establishment in 1859 until it was reacquired by the government in 1966. Garments and a slide show highlighted each decade. Another project unveiled in October 2010, was the guidons representing each unit that served at Fort Larned during its active period. George Elmore did the research and the roughly half-scale flags were created by a combination of sewing and painting--something over 180 hours of VIP time.

     Since Steve's retirement, it's been legal for me to be hired for some projects.Some additions have been made to the clothing collection, but the biggest project was creating the curtains and drapes for the North Officers' Quarters. Those were hung in May 2011.

     My sewing business has slowed since our move, but I'm still at it. A few alterations, alpaca jackets, and a few historic pieces here in Colorado, and I'm still doing historic clothing and some alterations and other projects for people in Kansas.

     Life in Colorado had been anything but boring. We are playing in two community bands and an Oompah (German Oktoberfest) band in the fall. Steve plays trombone and I play clarinet, as we did in the Fort band. I've gotten into some costuming for the local theater group. I've been involved in some modern things, and some Shakespeare, but the most challenging was "A Man for all Seasons" set in 1535. That was my first experience with theater costuming. It entailed creating about 80 pieces, 40 of which were full garments. It was much easier than anything I had worked with and it was done in about six weeks. We come back to Larned to check on Russell and his family and have done a little traveling. Trips have included Yellowstone in winter, Patagonia, and Norway.

Fort Larned Holiday Open House, Dec. 8
     The annual Holiday Open House at Fort Larned begins at 1:00 p. m. on Saturday, December 8. Living-history Christmas scenes will delight everyone and certainly put us all in the holiday spirit. Enjoy a guided tour to several of the buildings, sample a tasty 1860s dessert, and meet the officers and their wives as they prepare for a memorable holiday celebration. Lend a hand with decorating a tree. Stop in the barracks and see how the enlisted men celebrated Christmas. At 5 p. m. we will assemble in the hospital where Chris Day and Janet Armstead will perform holiday music of the period. Santa Claus will make an appearance before the close of the evening's entertainment. Everyone is welcome.

Bill & Cathy Weber
Volunteer Roll Call: Bill & Cathy Weber
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     If you ask Cathy Weber what she likes most about volunteering at Fort Larned, she is quick to say she likes the public! She enjoys hearing people reminisce about their families and the past. If you ask Cathy what she likes interpreting at the fort, the answer isn't that simple. She likes it all! She enjoys interpreting in the school or cooking period foods on Officers' Row (a skill she is still learning under the guidance of Gay Choitz). This year she has spent time portraying a hospital matron. During the Candlelight Tour she was a laundress---and did a fine job of that! She won't limit herself to just one role in interpretation. She enjoys learning and likes new challenges.

     Cathy Weber began volunteering at the fort in 1005 with a mild interest in history. Shortly after her husband Bill joined the VIP ranks too. Now they are both much more interested in history. Bill appears as an officer of the cavalry at many of the fort's events. He drove a wagon pulled by mules for the Candlelight event this year.

     The Webers live on five acres north of Pawnee Rock. If you've spotted mules at the fort during other special events most likely they belonged to Bill and Cathy or George Weber, Bill's brother. Cathy explains the mules were acquired for guarding the Webers' residence and the domestic animals they love--their dogs and cats.

     The Webers have taken the history they've learned on the road. Their daughter Stacey, a teacher in a suburb of Dallas, has invited Bill and Cathy to her classroom to present 19th Century lifestyles. Bill presents a soldier's life. He shows the students items kept in a haversack. He has a tin cup, loaf of bread, spoon and fork, note pad and pencil, and a book from the late 1800s. He has two boys come up front and shows them how soldiers lay head to toe in the bunks. That always gets a good response from the class! Cathy brings a bit of family life to the program and enjoys passing around school items: a McGuffey Reader, slate, chalk, and a sock for an eraser. "The teachers always look at my McGuffey Reader--it's an original."

     They also enjoy hitching up the mules to a wagon and participating in the small-town parades of this area. They recently won 2nd place overall for their entry at the Ellinwood After Harvest Parade. The Webers have participated in parades in St. John, Hudson, and Raymond. Of course they have a 21st-century life too! Bill is a mechanic/welder and Cathy works in the business office of a medical center. We are so happy they fell in love with history and enjoy sharing what they've learned with others.

Mike Seymour
Fort Larned Roll Call: Mike Seymour
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger
     Mike Seymour knows his historic weapons! When he joined the staff of Fort Larned National Historic Site in 1997 he realized his hobby was also his work! Mike's passion for military history began when he was a child. He became an avid fan of the 1950s weekly documentary "Big Picture," televising actual combat footage of the Korean War. "I would glue myself to that TV in the afternoon. . . this was on site!" As he matured he became interested in the evolution of weapons, equipment, and military tactics, being "a mechanical kind of guy." This mechanical guy would own and operate his own car repair business for 27 years.

     Mike married his high school sweetheart, Janice, and then served in the Armed Forces from 1966-1971. Prior to both these events he began to collect historic weapons. He had no idea that his collection would grow into an impressive array of guns ranging from a 1763 French Charleville Musket to present-day weapons. Of course there were children to raise, two boys, and his weapons collection was stored away for many years. By the time his interest was renewed, he was thoroughly immersed in the study of the 19th Century military. He began collecting again! The weapons collection has been on display at some very impressive places for commemorative occasions. A few of the events include Officers' Day at Fort Leavenworth, Territorial Days in Lecompton, and in 1999 the Veteran of Foreign Wars commemoration at Fort Leavenworth again.

     When Mike first visited Fort Larned in 1988, he asked "Where has this been all my life?" A few years later he wrote a letter to the historian at Fort Larned asking if the fort was interested in displaying military weapons that honors the Infantry soldier. The historian, George Elmore, took him up on the offer. The rest is history! His historic weapons collection can be viewed at the Fort's Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend events.

     Mike has enjoyed wearing many different hats at the fort. His title went from a volunteer, to a paid intern, to a Seasoned Park Guide, and then, finally to a Permanent Park Ranger (furlough) in a span of 10 years. You can usually find him interpreting the Fort's history as an Ordnance Sergeant--a Post staff position. He has earned the right to be our number-one tour guide. Janice, who also volunteers to give tours from time to time, has remained a dedicated volunteer and often shows up with the kids and grandchildren in tow. Their grandchildren range in age from 2 to 12 years old.

     In his off-season away from the Fort, Mike works for Cabela's in Kansas City. What does he do at Cabela's? He cares for the company's museum quality guns-antiques and the exceptionally rare! Mike is fortunate that his passion is also his work. And Fort Larned is fortunate to have Mike on staff.

Quartermaster Report: Flagpole
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is fourteenth in a series on the structures at Fort Larned.)
     Although the fort's flagpole isn't a building, it would have been every bit as important as any other structure on a frontier post. As national symbols, flags provide a source of pride and identity for people. For the Army, flying the U. S. flag designates the post as an official government representative in the area, letting travelers, traders, and Indians know that the Army was there to maintain safety and order.

     There is not a lot of information about the original flagpole at Fort Larned. Army records indicate it was raised in the 1860s. In an 1863 letter to his brother, Captain A. W. Burton reported that on the Fourth of July of that year, "We raised the garrison flag at noon on a new flag staff, (the first that was ever raised at this post, and for which we had to send thirty-five miles, as this is not what would be called a timbered country) and fired a national salute from the battery. We also in our enthusiasm gave a few cheers for the old 'Gridiron' and Col. Leavenworth made a few patriotic remarks of the Star Spangled banner order to the battalion."

     According to the records, the flagpole was placed in the center of the parade ground on a small mound created with fill dirt. The pole came in sections from Fort Leavenworth in freight wagons and was put together at Fort Larned. It was 110 feet tall, about 24 inches in diameter and cost $1000 to ship and assemble. In a January 1869 report, Assistant Surgeon W. H. Forewood described the parade ground as being "perfectly level and covered with Buffalo grass and wide gravel walks all around in front of the buildings. A flagstaff 100 feet high stands in the center on which the flag can be seen from 6 to 15 miles in different directions over the plain."

     A substantial piece of the original flagpole was discovered in 1983 while digging a hole for the reconstructed flag pole. An archeologist from the regional office came to investigate and eventually determined that it was made of Eastern white pine. Evidence from the find also indicated that the base of the original pole was sunk 10 feet in the ground (not very deep for such a tall pole) and had a wooden bracing system at the bottom. From an 1878 picture of the fort it's evident that the original pole had been constructed in the form of a ship's mast, with a crow's nest midway up, to better withstand the strong Kansas winds. The 1878 picture also shows single-tree ladder-type steps up to the cross trees.

The Reconstructed Flag Pole is featured on one of the five
Civil War Trading cards available at Fort Larned
     The flag that would have most often flown from the original Fort Larned flagpole was the Army's garrison flag. the 1857 U. S. Army regulations specified that a garrison flag should be 20 by 30 feet, made of wool bunting with a canvas heading with a grommet at the top and bottom. The red and white stripes were sewn together, and the white five-pointed stars were usually cut out of various cloth and sewn to the blue field, commonly called the ensign. Garrison flags would be flown in good weather and on holidays and other special occasions. A 10 by 20 foot "storm flag" would be flown on all other days.

     The original flagpole was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1878. The Fort Larned Historical Society erected a metal flag pole in the 1950s, close to the location of the original one. In 1983, after extensive research to determine style and dimensions, the present-day reconstructed flag pole was erected on the original location. It's comprised of two utility poles joined together at the cross trees and has guy wires for support instead of wooden braces at the base for better stability and safety. It also has a lightening rod attached so that it hopefully will not suffer the same fate as the original.

Post Commanders: Spring 1867
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is the twelfth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
     The year 1867 opened with Brevet Major Henry Asbury, 3rd Infantry, in command of Fort Larned. The coming year would be a challenging one for the U. S. Army's frontier forces, and Fort Larned would be unable to avoid the coming trouble. The Fort provided a staging area for mail and commercial wagon trains along the Santa Fe Trail, sent out frequent patrols to deal with the roving Indians, while also serving as a central location for Indians to meet with their agents and collect their annuity goods.

     The winter of 1866-1867 was a typically cold one for the area, so traffic along the trail was relatively light until the spring. Major Asbury had command of only 100 men to take care of all the Fort's duties both on and off post. Without consideration for his diminished garrison, he was asked to provide pickets for Fort Zarah, to which he replied to his superiors, "Let Harker furnish some of the pickets, they have five companies to my one!" Throughout the first part of the year he had to deal with more shortages of men and supplies, threats from the Indians upset at more incursions into their lands, as well as increased trail traffic that came with the warmer spring weather.

     The military officers and Indian agents, including Edward W. Wynkoop at Fort Larned, were working to secure agreement from the factions of tribes that had refused to sign the Treaties of the Little Arkansas in 1865. The efforts for peace were frustrated by General Winfield Scott Hancock, Civil War hero and presidential aspirant, who took command of the Department of the Missouri with the idea that the way to deal with Indians, about whom he knew nothing, was to use strong military force, beat them into submission, and then drive them onto the reservations. He had no patience for peace treaties and distrusted the Bureau of Indian Affairs (located in the Department of the Interior and separate from the War Department where it had originally been until 1849). Upon assuming command, Hancock learned that Cheyennes had been raiding along the Smoky Hill Trail and he began to make plans to send enough troops to punish them and push them to the reservations. He did not trust Indians and was willing to believe the worst reports about them.

     There were increasing rumors that the Indians were planning a major uprising in the spring of 1867. General William T. Sherman, division commander, visited the area in the autumn of 1866 and found the rumors of impending warfare to be unfounded. He wrote: "These are all mysterious, and only accountable on the supposition that our people out West are resolved on trouble for the sake of the profit from military occupation." Business men, railroad executives, politicians, and newspapers sometimes promoted war because they benefited from it.

     The firms that supplied the army, delivered freight to military posts and troops in the field, and carried equipment and supplies to accompany military expeditions could earn huge profits if there were wars. The railroads wanted the Indians removed (that would be good for their business and for construction through Indian lands), and there was evidence of railroads bribing politicians to demand removal of Indians by force. Clearly, the rumors of war that Hancock and others were hearing, were motivated more by politics and economics than by the activities of the Plains tribes.

     Throughout the winter of 1866-1867 the rumors increased that the Indians were planning a major uprising in the spring. In March 1867, Brevet Major Asbury reported, "The Cheyenne talk but little but are among the most dangerous of the Indians on the Plains, on account of their superior qualities as soldiers."

     There was evidence that the Plains tribes were receiving arms and ammunition from various traders in violation of the Army's General Order No. 70, which stated that only traders authorized by the Army could sell weapons to the Indians. Another concern was how to persuade the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers to vacate their hunting grounds along the Smoky Hill River to make way for the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division. The Dog Soldiers had no intention of leaving and rumors of their attacks in the area began to circulate, though many were untrue.

     Although it was later learned that most of the rumors had been fabricated, General Hancock was convinced the Plains tribes were preparing for war. He decided to strike hard and fast. He never visited the area and never investigated the stories.

     He put together an imposing military force to march onto the Plains and intimidate the Indians. They would either accept the terms of the treaties and go to the reservations peacefully, or the army would, in his words, "chastise" them. The expedition was organized at Fort Riley, including in all some 1400 soldiers, including troops of the 7th Cavalry (a new regiment commanded in the field by Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, who would have his first encounter with Indians that year near Fort Larned), 37th Infantry, a battery of the Fourth Artillery, a squadron of engineers, and several scouts (including Wild Bill Hickok, Jack Harvey, Tom Atkins, Ed Guerrier, and 15 Delaware Indians under Fall Leaf).

     They marched from Fort Riley on March 26 and came via Forts Harker and Zarah to Larned, arriving there April 7. Indian agents Wynkoop and Jesse Leavenworth had been charged with getting some of the Indian leaders to Fort Larned for a talk. Everyone knew of the Cheyenne and Sioux village located some 30 miles upstream from Fort Larned on Pawnee Fork and expected some of those Indians to come to the fort. Plans were interrupted by a blizzard on April 9. On April 12 Cheyenne Dog Soldier leaders Tall Bull and White Horse with a few of their followers came to meet with Hancock. Hancock was disappointed that so few Indians appeared, and he said he would march his troops to their village the next day. Tall Bull objected to this, possibly fearing an attack on the village where the Cheyenne and Sioux families resided.

Winfield Scott Hancock
     The next day Hancock marched his troops 21 miles and encamped beside the Pawnee. Hancock was met by Oglala Sioux Chief Pawnee Killer and Cheyenne Chief White Horse who requested that the troops not approach the village because it would frighten the women and children. After the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864, there was always fear of troops coming close to a village. The two chiefs agreed to stay the night at Hancock's camp and bring more Indians to meet him the next day. The next morning, April 14, Pawnee Killer left to bring other chiefs. When he had not returned by 11 a. m., Hancock started his troops on the march toward the village.They had not gone far when they met several hundred Cheyenne and Oglala Sioux, dressed for war, and lined up, facing them in the Pawnee Valley (this was confrontation ridge west of present Burdett). Hancock formed his troops into a line of battle. Agent Wynkoop intervened and arranged a conference between the two lines where Hancock and other officers met with several Indian leaders. The Indians declared they were peaceful, but they did not want the soldiers to come closer to their village. They would protect their families.

     A fight was avoided when Hancock agreed not to enter the village, although he planned to encamp his force nearby. That afternoon the troops established their camp on the north side of the Pawnee within a mile of the village. Some Cheyennes informed Hancock that the women and children had fled from the village because they feared an attack. Surgeon Isaac Coates with the expedition wrote that "the women and children were so terrified on seeing the troops approach" that they "ran off leaving everything behind them."

     Hancock assured them they were all safe and asked them to return to the village. By sundown the scouts reported that all the Indians were leaving the village. After dark Hancock sent Custer and a detachment of 7th Cavalry to investigate and prevent the escape of the Indians. Custer was too late. The entire village had fled, except for an old man, an elderly woman, and a sick girl. Those captives were later taken to Fort Dodge where the man and the girl died and the woman escaped.

     Hancock concluded the Indiansd must be guilty of something o they would not have run away. he wrote," this looks like the commencement of war." Surgeon Coates noted, "up to this time, the mission of the troops on the Plains had been to scare the Indians, henceforth, to war upon them." The next day Custer and the 7th Cavalry were sent in pursuit of the Indians while Hancock and the remainder of his force encamped on the south side of the Pawnee opposite the Indian village.

     Custer, who took time to do some buffalo hunting along the way, never found the escaped Indians, but he arrived on the Smoky Hill Trail on April 17 and learned that some stage stations had been attacked. He did not know the identity of the raiders, but he sent a report to Hancock of the attacks. Custer went to Fort Hays, where he was delayed several weeks, and then he went on a long pursuit of Indians that led him into Nebraska and Colorado and back to Fort Wallace in Kansas where he abandoned his command in July and rushed to see his wife at Fort Riley, resulting in his court-martial and suspension from command and pay for a year.

     Hancock, before receiving the report from Custer of the raids along the Smoky Hill Trail, had determined to burn the captured village and so ordered. Agent Wynkoop protested the order, but Hancock had the village burned on April 19, as he declared "a punishment for the bad faith practiced by the Cheyenne and Sioux."

     The burning of the village soon brought a major uprising in retaliation, fulfilling Hancock's expectations of increasing warfare. The conflict is still known as "Hancock's War," for he had started a conflagration where none existed before his visit to the plains. Hancock brought reinforcements to the military posts in the region.

     The garrison at Fort Larned was increased. By May 20, 1867, Major Meredith H. Kidd, 10th U. S. Cavalry, arrived at Fort Larned to assume leadership of the post and Major Asbury returned to his position as infantry commander. The situation Major Kidd inherited was one that required heightened vigilance from the Fort's garrison. Hancock's expedition, intended as a way to end Indian attacks in the region, had actually stirred the flames even higher. The summer of 1867 promised to be a hot one for the fort in more ways than one.

Little Red House Series, Part I
by David K. Clapsaddle
     (This article begins a series related to the Little Red House by David Clapsaddle. The series will speak to the history of the Little Red House interspersed with information in regard to events conducted at what began as the sutler's mess house at Fort Larned and became the first building in the infant City of Larned. David and Alice Clapsaddle donated the Little Red House to Fort Larned Old Guard in 2012, to hold for use of Fort Larned National Historic Site. At the time, Fort Larned Old Guard Chair Rex Abrahams wrote,"The house serves as a visible link between the fort and the City of Larned. Originally built as the sutler's mess hall at the fort in 1863, it was ultimately moved to Larned where it served in numerous capacities; residence, post office, hotel, restaurant, saloon, dance hall, brothel, church, school, and courtroom. Quite the existence! The original structure has since been torn down and the current recreation was started in 1998 in a building with similar dimensions that was relocated from the US Army Air Force Base at Great Bend to Larned after World War II. The Clapsaddles purchased the property, remodeled the building, and furnished it to interpret the historic 'Little Red House.' While not, the original, the ambience can be felt as one moves from room to room. The Clapsaddles did an outstanding job recreating the look and feel of the original structure.)

Prelude To The Little Red House
     The founding of the military camp that became Fort Larned was the result of requests by the mail contractor for the route from Kansas City to Santa Fe to protect a new mail station on Pawnee Fork. In 1858 the Post Office Department took bids to increase the frequency of mail service over the Road to Santa Fe, and they urged contractors to establish more stations along the route in order to increase frequency of departures (weekly instead of every other week) and speed up the running time between Kansas City and Santa Fe (setting a goal of 15 days for a trip either way, reduced from 20 days at the time). There was no station at the time between Walnut Creek (known as Peacock's Ranche) and Fort Union in New Mexico. The mails followed the Cimarron Route.

     Hall & Porter won the new contract (they also held the old contract), and in 1859 began preparations to meet the new standards. Jacob Hall was determined to establish a mail station at Pawnee Fork; but the Kiowas and Comanches indicated they would resist such an intrusion and would prevent the establishment of any station west of Walnut Creek. It was reported that an attempt to establish a mail station at Pawnee Fork in the spring of 1859 was thwarted, but it is not clear that a physical station was actually begun.

     Jacob Hall requested military protection, and that was one of the reasons a battalion of First Cavalry was sent from Fort Riley to spend the summer encamped near the site of old Fort Atkinson (1850-1854) just west of present Dodge City. The battalion saw little Indian activity in that vicinity. That changed when the troops started back to Fort Riley in September.

     Also, Hall had persuaded Postmaster General Joseph Holt to contact Secretary of the Interior Jacob Thompson and Acting Secretary of War William Drinkard to provide protection for a new mail station on Pawnee Fork. That protection might not have been provided had something else not happened that touched off the Kiowas and increased their determination to resist the mail station.

     Following some trouble with Kiowas at Peacock's Ranche, Kiowa Chief Pawnee was killed by Lieutenant George Bayard while trying to escape from custody on September 22, 1859. Two days later, Kiowa warriors attacked a mail wagon at Jones Point, about four miles southwest of present Larned. Killed were brothers Michael and Lawrence Smith. The mail company's repeated requests for protection finally led to 75 men of the First Cavalry, under command of Captain George H. Steuart, being dispatched from Fort Riley to protect the mail station to be constructed for Hall & Porter by William Butze and crew. Nearby, the troops established a little outpost named Camp on Pawnee Fork. The main mission for the troops was to escort the mail wagons on a 140-mile length of the Santa Fe Trail, Cow Creek (four miles west of present Lyons, Kansas) to the Cimarron Crossing of the Santa Fe Trail just west of present Cimarron, Kansas.

Jesse Crane Appointed Sutler
     In November 1859 young Jesse Crane was appointed sutler at Camp on Pawnee Fork. Crane was a member of a well-respected Topeka family.

     Prior to his appointment at Camp on Pawnee Fork, Crane had been employed as a clerk at Bob Wilson's sutler's store at Fort Riley. Thus, armed with his retail experience at Fort Riley and financed by Theodore Weichselbaum, Crane was well prepared for his venture into entrepreneurship. Although appointed Camp on Pawnee Fork's sutler in November 1859, Crane's first shipment of merchandise did not arrive until the following February. By this time, the name at Camp on Pawnee Fork had been changed to Camp Alert. Crane maintained his appointment at Camp Alert and at Fort Larned, the new name for the outpost renamed in May 1860 and removed about one-eighth mile to the west in June, 1860. During that summer, troopers set to work constructing temporary buildings, mainly adobe, to house the garrison.

     During his tenure at Fort Larned, Crane and Weichselbaum constructed a complex of structures: the stone sutler's store, a residence, and a mess house, the latter two being frame buildings. Crane's buildings stood in sharp contrast to the shabby adobes occupied by the troops.

Cub Scouts at the Little Red House
     Cub Scouts from Pack #123 accompanied by their leader, Beth Burke, and parents toured the Little Red House on September 18, 2012. Thanks to Ranger Mike Seymour for serving as tour guide.

Kansas Forts And The Indian Wars Presented
by Edwards County Historical Society, 2013
     A series of programs on Kansas Forts and the Indian Wars, funded in part by the Kansas Humanities Council, will be presented by the Edwards County Historical Society, January-May, 2013. Project Director Joan Weaver, Kinsley Public Library, will coordinate the programs and handle registrations. Leo E. Oliva will serve as the project scholar.

The schedule:
     January 13, City of Kinsley Meeting Room
     February 10, Fort Larned National Historic Site
     March 10, Fort Dodge Soldiers Home
     April 14, Fort Hays State Historic Site
     May 5, City of Kinsley Meeting Room

     Each session will include discussion of assigned readings, presentation by Dr. Oliva, a guest speaker, and refreshments. There will be a small registration fee. Those registering do not need to attend every session if they have a conflict, but only those who register will be able to participate in the series.

     Among the books to be discussed is Thomas Berger's Little Big Man, considered by many historians to be the best novel written about the era of the Indian wars. Other readings will include Dr. Oliva's booklets on the forts visited.

     Tentative topics for guest speakers include Life and Equipment of a Cheyenne Warrior, Life and Equipment of a Frontier Cavalryman, Life and Equipment of a Frontier Infantryman, Letters of Isadora Douglas at Fort Dodge, and Scouting for the Frontier Army.

     Complete details will be available soon at Kinsley Public Library, phone 620-659-3341, email {}. All information will also be posted online at {}.

     In May the Fort Larned traveling exhibits will be located at the Edwards County History Museum to complement these programs.

     This series provides an opportunity for anyone interested in Kansas forts, Plains Indians, and Indian/white relations on the Kansas frontier to learn more and visit historic sites. Tours of the forts visited will be part of the programs.

Fort Larned Wins 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic
     A four-year-old Thoroughbred named Fort Larned, owned by Janis Whitham of Leoti, KS, won the November 3 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park, California. Ridden by jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. (who celebrated his 27th birthday with the victory), and trained by Ian Wilkes, Fort Larned, a 9-1 long shot, led all the way and defeated Mucho Macho Man to win the $5 million race. The horse also provided national publicity for historic Fort Larned. Whitham owns a half-brother of Fort Larned named Fort Wallace.

Rough Riding On The Plains (continued)
by Robert Morris Peck
     (Peck's memoirs of life at Camp on Pawnee Fork, which became Camp Alert and then Fort Larned, continue with his account of escorting mail on the Santa Fe Trail during the winter of 1859-1860. His account continues after finding a party of emigrants who had been killed by Indians near the crossing of Coon Creek.)

     About noon the next day after we buried the murdered emigrants we reached the bank of the Arkansas, and stopped for dinner not far from the ruins of old Fort Atkinson. There is nothing left of Fort Atkinson now, except parts of the old 'dobe (sod) walls, and most of them are nearly level with the ground. One of our men was strolling about the old place when he suddenly called out:

     "Run here, boys: here's a dead man!"

     And on reaching the spot we found, on the inner angle of a corner of the wall, that was about waist high, the body of a man who had apparently been dead about 24 hours.

     He had not been scalped, and the wolves had not found him yet. He still grasped his rifle, which had evidently been fired and reloaded, and his Colt's navy lay on the ground by him ready for use.

     His bowie knife also lay near him, and he had seemingly used it to gouge a notch in each slope of the crumbling wall near the corner to rest his rifle in and shoot through as he lay concealed. He seemed to have made preparations to sell out to the best advantage.

     He had spurs on his boots, which showed that he had been mounted. There was no other wound but that of a rifle ball in the left side, from which he had bled freely, and it had apparently caused his death.

     We traced the blood and his tracks to a point a little way outside of the enclosure, where he must have been when struck. Following on in this direction a little farther we found in a little depression his saddle and bridle, but the horse was nowhere in sight.

     Pitting all these signs together the story of the affair read about like this:

     A mounted man, traveling alone, had stopped here the day previous to take his nooning. He had unsaddled and picketed his horse a little way off, where there was a small patch of bottom grass that was still green; had lain down with his head on his saddle and fallen asleep; was awakened by the sound of galloping hoofs or the neighing of his horse, and on looking about saw a party of mounted Indians making for his horse--they not having yet seen him, as he lay in a buffalo wallow. He has fired one shot at them out of his rifle, with what effect could not be seen, and then started for the old ruins for cover. One of the shots of the enemy had struck him before he reached the shelter, mortally wounding him; but the Indians, not knowing this, and probably having good reason for wishing to keep out of the range of his rifle, had found it too dangerous an undertaking to secure the saddle and bridle, or to attack the man behind the walls. They had therefore discreetly retreated, taking the horse with them, not suspecting that their victim was slowly but surely bleeding to death behind the walls.

     He may have, and probably had, fired several shots from where he lay, as his ramrod was lying beside him, as though he had been using it to load.

     We hurriedly dug a hole just where he lay, and buried him in the angle of the wall, carrying in a lot of rocks to fill the top of the grave to keep the wolves from digging the body up.

     Neither in this case nor that of the emigrant family we had buried the day previous did we find anything to tell us who they were or where from. Nor had we time to inscribe and put up a headboard for the repetition of the old frontier story, "Killed by Indians." Probably their loving relatives in the old homes back in the States have long wondered, but never learned their sad fate.

     By night we had reached the Santa Fe Crossing of the Arkansas, where we were pleased at meeting a detachment of Mounted Rifles from Fort Union, N. M., escorting a mail eastward-bound. They reported not having seen any Kiowas, but had noticed the trail of a small war party crossing the road not far south of the river, going westward.

     We camped near the Riflemen that night, and told them of our experience in burying murdered travelers, and exhorted them to let no chance slip to kill Kiowas if the opportunity was afforded, promising ourselves to do likewise.

     In the morning we parted company, each party taking the back track-we with the mail they had brought, and they with the one we had escorted; and in due time we reached our little station, Camp Alert.

     Here we were relieved by another detail, who took the mail on eastward as far as Cow Creek, and brought back the next one.

     The escort that relieved us and took the last mail on to Cow Creek happened to camp on the trip near the grave of Pawnee, the Kiowa Chief who was killed by Lieut. Bayard, and buried near Peacock's Ranch, at Walnut Creek, and some of the boys, prompted by curiosity, dug into the grave "just to see if he was all there," as Bill Crowly said; and to keep the old fellow from getting into mischief, we brought away his bow and arrows, shield, and tomahawk, and a lot of other Indian "fixins" that had been placed in his grave by those two bucks that we killed out yonder on the prairie that day.

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

     This shield was a combination arrangement. The main part of it was a circular piece of very thick rawhide (evidently taken from the neck of the skin of some old buffalo bull), about two and a half feet in diameter, and one inch thick. This was loosely covered by a heavy buckskin, drawn over the shield, and its edges puckered on the inner side by a drawstring. This side (the side to be held next the body) was supplied with a couple of stout loops, one to be slipped over the forearm as far as the elbow, the other to be held in the hand. (to be continued)

     Dec. 8, 2012: Fort Larned National Historic Site Holiday Open House
     April 27, 2013: Fort Larned Old Guard Annual Mess and Muster, featuring the Kansas premier of the historic film, "The Daughter of Dawn"
The Daughter of Dawn Information-Front - - - - The Daughter of Dawn Information-Back

Schedule of Events
     True to life stories of the Indian Wars along the Santa Fe Trail, brought to life by some of the greatest volunteers in the West. . . . Visit the most complete fort surviving from the days when Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody rode through this part of the West on their missions. Original restored buildings to that time peroid, 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) Reneactors bring the fort back to life for the holiday weekend.

     Candlelight Tour (2nd Saturday of October) Entertaining evening tours with vignettes from the fort's history.

     Christmas Open House (2nd Saturday of December) Old-fashioned Yuletide celebration with hot apple cider, cookies and Christmas carols.

Deadline For Next Issue: February 1, 2013

Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2013, please send dues to membership chair Linda Peters, 1035 S Bridge St, Lakin KS 67860. Thank you for your support.

     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.

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