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

Hometown Team Project News
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     We are nearing completion of the exhibit on "The Evolution of Hunting from Survival to Market to Sport at Fort Larned," scheduled to be unveiled on March 31, 2015. The exhibit has been made possible by a Kansas Humanities Council grant called Hometown Teams. This came about to recognize and support a traveling Smithsonian exhibit which is featuring Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America. The Smithsonian exhibit will be traveling through Kansas this year. Ellinwood is the first to host the exhibition at the community library. Check the schedule below to see when and where this nationally engaging exhibit will be.

Ellinwood, January 31 - March 15, 2015
     Ellinwood School & Community Library
     210 N Schiller Avenue

Goodland, March 21 - May 3, 2015
     High Plains Museum
     1717 Cherry Street

Greensburg, May 9 - June 21, 2015
     Kiowa County Historical Museum
     320 N Main

Atchison, June 27 - August 9, 2015
     Atchison County Historical Society
     200 S. 10th Street, Santa Fe Depot

Perry, August 15 - September 27, 2015
     Historic Perry Rural High School Gym at
     Highland Community College Perry Center
     203 W Bridge Street

Humboldt, October 3 - November 15, 2015
     Humboldt City Hall
     725 Bridge Street

Kansas Humanities Council
     Brochures on the Hometown Teams Smithsonian exhibit and partner sites are available at Fort Larned National Historic Site. A request for a brochure to be mailed, ask Ellen Jones, 620-285-6911 or email {}.

Annual Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster On April 25, 2015
     The Fort Larned Old Guard is proud to be a partner site for this initiative. The Annual Mess & Muster on Saturday, April 25, 2015, will feature an Open House at the fort, a film titled Tatonka about buffalo and buffalo hunting, an afternoon featuring special speakers on the topic of hunting, an evening dinner, and a first-person portrayal of Billy Dixon by Marc Ferguson. All events are free except the dinner, for which reservations must be made no later than April 14, 2015. All events at Fort Larned National Historic Site, April 25, 2015:

     10:00 a.m. Open House Reception - Open to the Public - Refreshments - Exhibit viewing - Music and More!

     11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. Showings of the film Tatonka, Visitor Center Auditorium

     1:30 p.m. Dr. Juti A. Winchester, Assistant Professor of History, Fort Hays State University, "New Yorkers on the Warpath: Easterners Go West to Hunt"

     2:30 p.m. Dr. Dan Witt, Marsh Musings Columnist, Great Bend Tribune, "Guns & Roses"

     4:00 p.m. Pat Cale, Local Avid Collector of Waterfowl, Fish, and Hunting Stories, "A Collection of Hunter History"

     5:30 p.m. Flag Retreat

     6:00 p.m. Dinner (reserve in advance, see below)

     7:00 p.m. National Park Service Centennial Announcement, followed by music by Prairie Larkspur (Janet Armstead and Chris Day)

     7:30 p.m. "The Life of Billy Dixon" portrayed by Historic Reenactor & Curator Marc Ferguson, Dalton Gang Hideout

Dinner Reservations For April 25, 2015
Reservations Required By April 14, 2015

     Menu: Smoked Brisket, Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Potatoes, Green Beans, Baked Beans, Rolls, Dessert, & Drink
     Price: $15, includes tax, gratuity, and evening program, "The Life of Billy Dixon," presented by Marc Ferguson
     Reservations: Dinner reservations are required by April 14, 2015--contact Treasurer Leo Oliva by sending the reservation insert in this issue, calling 888-321-7341 (leave a message if you get the answering machine), or email {}. Credit card payment may be made through the Last Chance Store.
     Registration Form     Mess & Muster Programs

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
"A hunting we will go"

     This is my last letter as Chairman of the Fort Larned Old Guard. My term expires in April. The last five years have gone by incredibly fast. I was going to mention a few major accomplishments and expound on some of the exciting projects/ideas we have in the pipeline. Then, reality sort of jumps up and slaps one in the face.

     We lost a wonderful person and a great volunteer on Sunday, January 4th, 2015. Dannie White died unexpectedly at the age of 53. Dannie and his wife Minnie set up a traditional Arapaho tipi and campsite. They were friendly to all and welcoming of those with questions. One usually saw Board Member Ken Weidner along side the two. They enhanced our fort and were wonderful additions to our interpretive program. Dannie will be sorely missed by all. We extend our sympathies to Minnie and the family.

     I mentioned in my last article that the Old Guard had acquired a significant collection of Santa Fe Trail freighting items. We purchased the lifelong collection of David and Alice Clapsaddle. These items have been donated to Fort Larned where they will be cataloged and used for permanent display in the fort's museum. Many of these items are rare and almost impossible to find. They include: Pack Saddle; Harness Hames; American Training, and Mexican Ox Yokes; Bow Keys; various types of ox/mule shoes; photos; a tar bucket; oil horns; and a wagon jack. A total of 15 items will help the fort interpret freighting along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was excited to receive a collection that spoke to a different aspect of Fort Larned's history, one they had very little of in terms of display items. Thank you David and Alice for giving the Old Guard a chance to keep this collection intact.

     The upcoming annual Mess & Muster will be a surefire hit. It is paired up with the Hometown Teams Grant, "The Evolution of Hunting: From Survival to Market to Sport." This project has been led by Ranger Ellen Jones. A new display in the visitors center will draw attention to the impact sport hunting has had on the Larned area. Programs for the day are titled "New Yorkers on the Warpath: Easterners Go West to Hunt," "Guns & Roses," and "A Collection of Hunter History." The evening program, "The Life of Billy Dixon," will be presented by historic reenactor and Dalton Gang Hideout Curator Marc Ferguson. I'll bet he nails the subject by a country mile! Sorry, I couldn't resist. I cannot wait to hear him. Please plan now to be at Fort Larned on April 25.

     Once more, I thank each and every one of you for your support of Fort Larned and the Fort Larned Old Guard. It has been an honor to serve as chair of the Old Guard. Together we are making significant progress in keeping Fort Larned the "Best preserved Indian Wars era Fort in the United States."

Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko

     (Betty Boyko is currently serving as acting superintendent at Fort Larned National Historic Site. She is superintendent at Fort Scott National Historic Site at Fort Scott, Kansas.)

     If you missed the December Christmas program at Fort Larned, you missed a great event. Although the weather was cold and damp, the annual Fort Larned Christmas Open House was a success. Activities included photos with Santa (in 1860's period clothing), a taste of the past (Christmas foods made by utilizing 1860's recipes), interpreters in period clothing, carriage rides from the parking lot, and singing of Christmas carols.

     As we reflect on the past year and welcome a new year, it provides us with the occasion to celebrate our successes and focus on a new season of opportunities. January's subzero temperatures really contributed to my appreciation of milder temperatures and the possibilities that lay ahead in 2015 for Fort Larned, the staff, friends, and volunteers.

     Although visitation at Fort Larned diminishes somewhat during the winter season, park employees remain very busy planning for future events and activities. Project statements are developed in an effort to compete for additional funding to support those programs and activities that cannot be funded through the park's budget. Examples of previous successful efforts include a "Ticket to Ride" grant (which provides opportunities for new school groups to travel to and experience the Fort); temporary employment of a teacher-ranger-teacher to assist in developing curriculum-based programs; exhibit development; and maintenance and repair of historic structures.

     If you are a Fort Larned National Historic Site volunteer you should have received, through your email, the new Fort Larned National Historic Site Volunteer Handbook. The handbook gives an overview of Fort's history, the National Historic Site mission statement, purpose, and significance. It covers such areas as the National Historic Site's Volunteer-In-Parks program, the volunteer application process, volunteer positions, clothing and equipment, and recommended reading. It also addresses volunteer protection; ethics and standards of conduct, equal opportunity, safety, and emergencies. We are in the process of preparing printed copies that will be available in time for the Old Guard Mess & Muster in April, 2015.

     To kickoff the National Park Service Centennial, we will announce a new campaign at the evening program of the Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster on April 25, 2015. We are preparing for an all-day Open House packed with special speakers and music. The Hometown Team interactive exhibit will be on display. This will be a great time to announce the Centennial campaign. There is still much to plan for during this milestone in our National Park Service history. Please consider how we can best promote our park and help people connect or find relevancy to not only Fort Larned National Historic Site but to the opportunities and benefits associated with the entire National Park Service experience.

     I thank all of you for the support you have given me and the park throughout the year and look forward to the continued successes we will achieve together.
     Happy New Year!

Fort Larned Roll Call: Celeste Dixon
"A Long Way From the Civil War"

     When I came to Fort Larned in February 2008, I had spent most of my Park Service career at Civil War sites. It wasn't necessarily by design though.

     I started my career as a summer seasonal at the Chickamauga Battlefield District of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Although I eventually got a permanent park guide position at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta in the spring of 2000, I was soon accepted into the intake training program and sent to Richmond National Battlefield Park in the fall of 2001. When the program finished two years later, I was transferred to Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park.

Celeste Dixon
Celeste Dixon
     I enjoyed my time at these Civil War parks. It's a fascinating time in our nation's history and I learned a lot about the time, the war, the people and events that helped shape us into who we are today. Some Civil War enthusiasts would tell you differently (smile), but the Civil War is not the only important era in our history. And after almost 10 full years at Civil War sites, I was ready to learn a new chapter in our nation's history.

     In the fall of 2007 I saw a park ranger job advertised at Fort Larned National Historic Site. I had actually heard of the place before because one of the rangers I worked with briefly at the Truman Home had been a seasonal here when she attended college. When I was offered the job I accepted, even though the fort's time period covers the Civil War, I didn't think that it would feature prominently in the fort's history, given its location in western Kansas. And, luckily for me, I was right.

     Although the main interpretive year here is 1868, which is chronologically only three years after the Civil War, the historical outlook is "a long way from the Civil War." The focus is on the post Civil War, of a nation moving westward and getting on with its life. Here was this whole new chapter in our nation's history that I had been looking for unfolding before me. And it's one that I have come to enjoy as much as I did the Civil War.

     As I've had time to think about it over the years I realize that this different attitude is a mix of the time period and the location. People in Kansas don't seem to dwell on the Civil War the way many Southerners do. "It happened, it's over, we're moving on," seems to be the attitude here.

     To me it's a refreshing attitude because it has helped me put the Civil War into perspective. Although it was an important chapter in our history, there were many more before it, and many more after it, and I've learned that Kansas and Fort Larned played a fairly important role in one of those later chapters. Working at Fort Larned has helped me realize that there is life after the Civil War.

Volunteer Roll Call: Christine LaRue
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     The fort staff has caught up with a very busy lady who never lacks for something to do! Christine LaRue volunteers for several organizations and has an envious full-time career. If you know her, you can attest to how calm and nice she is, in spite of wishing for more hours. She volunteers at the fort as a cook during the special event weekends. She enjoys combining her love of baking with living history and that makes us pretty lucky indeed.

     Christine was born and raised in Granite City, Illinois, where she lived with her parents, one sister and two brothers. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville with degrees in Foreign Language and Accounting. The accounting degree came in handy when she began her career with the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 2003. But first, inquiring minds want to know more about Christine before being hired by Quivira National Wildlife Refuge - where she works today.

     It wasn't that long ago Christine worked as a concessionaire at both Yellowstone National Park and Everglades National Park. Her experiences caused her to take a good look at the National Park Service and eventually she became a park ranger. But not before meeting her beloved husband of 20 years, William "Chappy" Chapman, Fort Larned's Facility Manager. Chappy was already working for the National Park Service as a maintenance mechanic at the Everglades. Soon after there marriage Christine was hired as a park ranger there, and then journeying on to Harper's Ferry National Park.

     Christine describes her life as a rolling stone - that is until she arrived in Fort Larned. She and Chappy devised a two-year plan not realizing how enamored they would become with the town, people, and lifestyle in the Midwest. Living in big sky country with shimmering native grasses within a stone's throw can cause one to pause - and then stay. Now Christine and Chappy are happily celebrating almost 13 years in Larned. So much for the 2-year plan! She loves her work for our sister agency, Fish & Wildlife. She climbed the ranks quickly and recently was promoted from Office Administrator to Program Manager for four states. She oversees all administration functions for Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and parts of South Dakota.

Christine LaRue
     Many of us recognize Christine driving down the road. She has a personal license plate which she has claimed as her own as far back as owning her first car. Feline 6, easy for her to remember, can claim to have been on four different state license plates. Although Christine is a cat lover, she currently doesn't own one, but, she does own a new car. Same tag - new car. She is also a chocolate lover, but I resisted lecturing her about chocolate in a new car.

     Christine enjoys volunteering at Fort Larned, the State Theater as a projectionist, and Prairie Land Foods Coop. She is an excellent knitter and patiently helped me hone my crochet skills. Any textile related project she will tackle with a passion. Christine is very proactive in sharing her love of Fort Larned with visitors. She might be wearing cake flour on her face, hands, and dress---but that doesn't stop her from being an advocate for the Volunteer Program!

Commemorating The Surrender At Appomattox
Court House 150 Years Ago, April 9, 2015
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     For the last four years the National Park Service has been commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. On April 9th, 2015, as part of their week of events, the staff at Appomattox Court House will commemorate the meeting between Generals Grant and Lee by ringing a historic bell at the time concluded, 3:00 p.m.

     The National Park Service would like to make this a nationwide event with those bells reverberating across the land. They would like to have National Park Service sites and communities across the country participate by ringing bells at 3:15 Eastern Time; 2:15 Central Time. The plan is to have the bells ring for four minutes, one minute for each year of the war.

     Fort Larned plans to participate in this event by getting the community of Larned involved in the bell ringing on April 9th. Park Ranger Celeste Dixon, who worked at Appomattox Court House, will be presenting a special program on the surrender meeting. The date of the program has yet to be determined so stay tuned for more details.

Flog Roll Call: Ken Weidner
     (Ken Weidner, Copeland, is a member of the Fort Larned Old Guard board and a volunteer at Fort Larned National Historic Site. Some of his Plains Indian exhibits are in the Fort's museum. He shares his story:)

     Ken Weidner is a farmer and rancher from Copeland, Kansas. When he is not farming, you won't find him at the coffee shop as he is usually researching or making reproduction Plains Indian artifacts.

     His interest began in grade school when he first began reading about the Fur Trade and various battles of the Indian Wars. His main interest lies with the Southern Cheyenne but also includes the surrounding tribes, both friend and foe alike.

     Ken has taken the hobby from simply reading to learning how to tan hides, make beadwork, silverwork, paint rawhide parfleche, and many other craft forms. His specialty is making Indian saddles and horse tack. Yes, although Indians did ride bareback, they also made and used saddles. By learning to actually make items, it helps him learn how they lived their life. Ken and several of his friends also set up tipi camps where they continue their search for answers. By wearing the clothing, sleeping on buffalo robes, riding Indian-style saddles, and eating the foods of the time period, they learn more than could ever be learned from a book.

     These living-history camps have lead Ken to participate in many different activities, some of which include mounted battle reenactments against Cavalry, Infantry, Buffalo Hunters, and Crow Indians. Other scenarios,include mounted buffalo hunts using bow and arrows, butchering buffalo, games, dancing, etc. This is his favorite method of learning, actually living the part.

     Ken has been asked to help design and equip many museum exhibits. Local museums that have Ken's work include Grant, Finney, and Scott County Historical Societies. Some of the larger museums he has made saddles for include Fort Larned National Historic Site; Oklahoma State Historical Museum; Gene Autry-South West Museum; Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument; and the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian's new Indian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Ken Weidner (Whirlwind)
Ken Weidner (Whirlwind)
     His experience with mounted battles have resulted in being included in several films, both documentaries and movies. He worked on the following films; The Postman, Ride With the Devil, Bloody Dawn, and Galileo (German Version of Myth Busters). One of his favorite events was setting up three tipis and riding with his son Tate and three other good friends at the 2009 Symphony in the Flint Hills.

     In November 2014 a Tommy Lee Jones's movie, The Homesman, was released. Two of Ken's silver bridles and four of his Indian saddles were used in the filming of this movie.

     Ken has been honored to serve on the Fort Larned Old Guard board of directors, and he has set up his tipi and explained, with items he has made, the material culture of the Plains tribes. Working with the Old Guard has been a very rewarding endeavor, as many worthwhile projects have been made possible by the work of Fort Larned Old Guard.

     Weidner enjoys living-history events at Fort Larned and many other historic sites, where he can visit with people about Plains Indian culture on a one-on-one basis. Through the various venues, he has had the opportunity to meet many very interesting people over the years.

A Tribute to Dannie White, 1961-2015
by Ken Weidner

     If you have taken a field trip up the Pawnee Creek to visit the Cheyenne-Sioux village site that was captured and burned by General Winfield Scott Hancock in 1867, you probably met a fellow named Dannie White. Dannie often volunteered his time to set up his tipi, and this historic site was one of his favorite places to camp.

     On January 4, 2015, Dannie unexpectedly died at his home. He was 53 years old. He is survived by his wife Minnie, sons Anthony and Josh, daughter Alecia, grandchildren, extended family, and many, many friends.

     Dannie had an intense desire to learn about life in the 1800s. He was especially interested in the Indians of the Southern Plains. He further narrowed his interest to the people of the Southern Arapaho tribe, which he duplicated in his dress and camp.

Dannie White
Dannie White
     Although Dannie studied Arapaho people, he also was interested in ALL people living on the plains at the time. He collected guns, saddles, tools and gear of the military, cowboys, settlers, traders, trappers, buffalo hunters, and the many other facets of life on the frontier.

     Fort Larned, Bent's Old Fort, Boot Hill, and many other venues were places that Dannie has set up his camp. Although, he did not consider himself a "Public Speaker," he enjoyed speaking to people on an individual basis. In this way he helped people THINK about old-time life, which often would cause the visitor to reconsider many popular misconceptions.

     When a person walked into Dannie's camp, he or she would be surrounded by re-creations of Arapaho material culture. Dannie did not purchase these items, he made them. His love of craftwork pushed him to learn to brain-tan hides, paint buffalo rawhide parfleches, make period-correct headwork and German silverwork, etc. Even if he had the money to BUY an item, he would not be satisfied unless he MADE the item himself.

     I have known Dannie White for more than 25 years and considered him a very good friend. It has only been in the last month that I realize he was probably my best friend, and the best friend a man could ever have.
     Rest in Peace Dannie.

Post Commanders: Henry B. Bristol
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is twenty-first in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)

     Captain Henry B. Bristol arrived at Fort Larned in April 1872 with three companies of the 5th U. S. Infantry from Fort Harker. He relieved Major James Roy of command, who went with troops from the 6th Infantry to Fort Hays.

     By May Captain Bristol had 84 men under his command. Some of these troops were on detached duty to Fort Zarah to guard the railroad surveyors and to the Medicine Lodge Creek area to keep an eye on the Indians in the area. He was apparently not satisfied with their job performance, saying that the man at Fort Zarah spent most of their time at the "drinking house" and the men at Medicine Lodge were out hunting. Since in both instances the men were infantry and would not have been able to do much anyway if Indians did attack, Captain Bristol suggested they be replaced with cavalry units.

     On May 6, 1872, Captain Bristol sent a request to the Assistant Adjutant General for the Department of the Missouri, requesting clarification about providing escorts for the railroad "details," including instructions as to where and to what extent his command would be expected to guard the crews, and if changes could made without further authority "when in the opinion of the Cmdg officer of this Post and the railroad official it is thought necessary to move a detachment." He also informed them in the letter that the "transportation here is poor, the wagons old, mules thin, having no hay. All of them require rest and time to get in good order." For that reason he "respectfully suggested" that some wagons and mules from Fort Harker "be transferred to the A. A. Q. M. at this place."

     By this time the Indian threat had been so reduced that a sergeant and two privates were all that was necessary to escort a wagon train from Fort Harker to Fort Larned and back. Although the threat from Indian attack was negligible, those guarding the fort's cattle herd were still ordered to have 30 rounds of ammunition just in case they were attacked.

     Bristol was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1838. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th U. S. Infantry on May 15, 1857, and was sent to frontier duty to Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah, until May 10, 1860. He was then assigned to exploration services from Green River, Utah Territory, to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, until August 17, 1860. He spent the Civil War years in New Mexico, receiving the rank of 1st Lieutenant on March 3, 1861. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted to Major for "faithful and meritorious service in New Mexico, and particularly for his untiring zeal and energy in controlling the Navajo tribe of Indians at Bosque Redondo and for his praiseworthy efforts in advancing their condition from savages to that of civilized man." After the Civil War he spent time on General Recruiting service until February of 1869, when he returned to frontier service. He transferred to Fort Larned from Fort Harker on April 26, 1872.

     As they had been for the last year or so, the matters Captain Bristol had to deal with were fairly routine at Fort Larned. He sent Lieutenant Frank D. Baldwin with two privates to buy enough walking beef to feed the men at Fort Larned since the beef contractors had not fulfilled his contract. Any soldiers not on guard duty were kept busy with various chores such as building ice houses or vegetable storage bins, planting and weeding gardens, caring for the animals on post, digging latrines, and general maintenance. Men with construction skills were tasked with putting new floors in the barracks and building gun racks for the guard house, as well as platforms for fire barrels.

     One problem Captain Bristol had to deal with was the post sutler, Henry Booth. Not only was Booth allowing his pigs to soil the river banks near his store, he had also placed a latrine above the point at which the fort drew its drinking water. The post commander called Booth on the carpet for these actions and also warned him about overcharging the men in his store. A Council of Administration was supposed to determine the prices of goods sold in the sutler's store but enlisted men at Fort Larned claimed to have paid $1.00 for towels the council had priced at 60c and 35c for toothbrushes that were supposed to be selling for 25c. Captain Bristol advised him to lower his prices on the goods he was selling in his store.

     Bristol also had problems with the cattle from both Henry Booth and A. H. Boyd, who operated a ranch just off the military reservation, running loose and trampling the vegetables in the post gardens. Booth was fined $200 for the loss of vegetables and Boyd had his animals impounded until he paid for the damages they caused and promised not to let his cattle roam free again.

     In June Captain Bristol received approval to construct an earth closet and steward's quarters for the hospital. The original cost of $189.14 was later nearly doubled to $360.28. The earth closet was of light frame construction and attached to the rear of the hospital's east ward. The steward's quarters were of the same construction. Also in June the garrison received 19 recruits who were assigned to the 5th Infantry. Their arrival brought the total number of men at the post to 77.

     A new era in transportation was ushered in on the Kansas prairie when the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad came to Pawnee Fork on July 20, 1872. There the town of Larned was established. To mark the occasion Lieutenant DeHart Quimby took a detachment of men to a hilltop overlooking the site, where the men fired a salute. The arrival of the railroad also brought a new mode of transportation for the army paymasters, who now came by train instead of wagon to deliver the men's pay. Bristol also made arrangements in July for the mail that used to be carried by wagon to go by train, thus eliminating one more job for the men at the frontier posts along the Santa Fe Trail.

     Rumors reached Kansas in 1872 that General John Pope was considering closing Fort Larned, which prompted Governor James M. Harvey to protest, saying that the people of central Kansas still needed protection from Indians, especially the railroad crews laying tracks for the AT&SF railroad.

     Captain Bristol went on leave in October, at which time Captain Simon Snyder filled in for him until his return in December. While Captain Bristol was gone the soldiers at Fort Larned got a rare treat--fresh vegetables shipped by rail from Lawrence to Larned and taken by wagon to the fort. The days of relying on company gardens for fresh vegetables were apparently over.

     In the new year Henry Booth took the sutler's quarters from the fort, floated it across the Pawnee River, and moved the building to Larned. He moved his family into the building in April when he left the fort to take up residence in the growing community. The Little Red House in Larned is now used to interpret the building, the first house in Larned. Booth's move to Larned signaled a new era for Fort Larned, for communities in the newly formed Pawnee County were growing up all around the military post, many in areas that only a few years previously had been too dangerous for many to travel without military escort. It was obvious that the military was giving way to the civilian in this part of Kansas. Still, Fort Larned had five more years of life left in April of 1873 when Captain Bristol left and Captain Snyder took over as post commander.

     Captain Bristol finished out his time in the Army on the frontier. From Fort Larned he went to Fort Dodge until January 24, 1875, with time out for an expedition to Indian Territory (August 13 to October 28, 1874) and sick leave until May 1875. He then went to Fort Reno in Dakota Territory (now in Wyoming), was in the field in Montana, on sick leave again, and ended up at Fort Keogh, Montana Territory, until June 5, 1878. He once again went on sick leave until his retirement on March 20, 1879, with rank of captain in the 5th Infantry. His frequent time on sick leave and his retirement were due to exposure and illness he contracted while on frontier duty. He died in New York City on May 10, 1904, of Bright's disease (now known as kidney disease) "after a long and severe illness."

The Post Adjutant
by Sam Young, Park Volunteer

     The following special orders, as directed by the Fort Larned commanding officer, were issued in the spring and summer, 1867, by the Fort Larned Post Adjutant:

May 5: Special Orders, No 56, signed by 2nd Lieutenant George W. Raulston, 37th U.S. Infantry, Adjutant:
     Company "A" 10th US Cavalry, will hereafter, until further orders, practice at target firing, using one round of ammunition per man each day.

May 14: Special Orders, No. 60, signed by Lieutenant Raulston:
     1st Lieut a. Kaiser 3d US Infantry A.A.Q.M. will transfer Twenty-two (22) Spades, Twenty-two (22) Pick-axes, Twenty-two (22) Pick-axe helves, Twenty-two (22) Axes and Twenty-two (22) axe-helves from the returns of Camp and Garrison Equipage to the returns of Quartermasters Stores.

Adjutant's Office, Fort Wallace, 26 June 1867
Adjutant's Office, Fort Wallace, 26 June 1867
May 18: Special Orders, No 62, signed by Lieutenant Raulston:
     Capt N. Nolan 10th US Cavalry and a detail to consist of Three (3) Non Com Officers and Twenty-two (22) Privates 3d US Infantry and One (1) Non Com Officer and Seven (7) Privates 10th US Cavalry will proceed to Fort Dodge Ks as escort to Genl Marcey Inspector General U.S.A.

July 6: Special Orders, No 94, signed by 1st Lieutenant Henry Romeyn, 37th U.S. Infantry, Adjutant:
     1. Privates William McNamara Co "B" 3d Infantry and Joseph Miller Co "D" 3d Infantry are hereby relieved from daily duty as Post Gardeners and will report to their Company Commander for duty.
     2. Private James Wainhoff Co. "D" 3d Infantry is hereby detailed on daily duty as Post Gardener and will report to the Post Treasurer for duty.

     From the above special orders, it is evident the post adjutant had a very important position. It was his duty to assist the post commanding officer with the commander's administrative responsibilities. These included written communications, reports, papers, and records keeping pertaining to Fort Larned and units assigned there. He performed these duties in the "Adjutant's Office" which was also the post headquarters building.

     The post adjutant, normally a lieutenant at small posts like Fort Larned, Harker, and Wallace, was detailed by the commander from his assigned unit to gain additional experience in the administrative affairs of the Army. However, the adjutant could also be an experienced officer with the administrative skills that would require less supervision from the commander. He usually had one or more clerks assisting him.

Duties of the Adjutant included (per The 1865 Customs of Service for Officers of the Army, by August V. Kautz, Capt. Sixth U.S. Cavalry, BRIG AND Brevet MAJ.-GEN. of Volunteers):
     communicates the orders of the commander and sees that they are obeyed
     prepares and maintains the books, records, and papers pertaining to the post
     keeps the roster of the officers and makes the details that are called for by the post commander
     prepares and routes all official reports, letters, orders, dispatches, etc. through the post commander for review and approval
     forms, inspects, and marches on the new guard detail at guard mounting, and gives the soldiers their post assignments

Additionally, he maintains the following books
     Morning Reports
     Descriptive Reports
     Special Orders
     General Orders
     Letters Sent
     Index of Letters Received
     Monthly Returns (of gains and losses) Reports
     Deceased Soldiers
     Damaged Arms (weapons) Reports

     He must also be familiar with, and understand the orders, regulations, and laws relative to requisitions for clothing, rations, fuel, ammunition, arms, accoutrements, camp and garrison equipage, quartermaster property, pay for troops, forage and straw for public animals, and the regular and authorized supplies of all kinds for troops.

He should have a sufficient knowledge to be able to revise and determine the correctness and disposition of the following company papers as they are received:
     Certificate of Disability
     Final statements of soldier's accounts of pay and clothing
     Description rolls
     Leaves of absence, furloughs, passes, sick furloughs, etc.
     Affidavits, certificates, etc.
     Inventories of deceased soldiers
     Proceedings of Councils of Administration
     Inventories and inspection reports of public property
     Applications for Boards of Survey
     Complaints of soldiers, applications for transfer
     Reports of target practice
     Guard reports
     Charges and specifications pertaining to legal matters
     Letters, correspondence, and reports that are usually sent up from the officers and men of the Post in relation to their duties

     He should himself bear in mind that he only signs those communications from the Commanding Officer of the Post to his subordinates; and the Commanding Officer must himself sign all communications that require to be sent up to his superiors.

     The Adjutant has no right to give an order in the name of his commander in a special and peculiar case. But in all cases involving a general principle, in which the Adjutant can readily understand what will be the commander's decision in the case, from decisions already made, or from the nature of the case, he can with perfect propriety assume to give orders in the name of his commander. He should, however, feel perfectly sure that he will be sustained by his commander.

     The Adjutant may exercise a great influence over the comfort and happiness of the command. In the social relations between officers and their families he can so arrange the duties and pleasures of the Post, as materially to affect all.

     The Adjutant may, with perfect propriety, constitute himself manager to a greater or less extent, of every affair that requires the co-operation of the various members of the Command. Someone must assume to direct and take responsibility in the matter, and the habit of looking to the Adjutant in all official matters, makes him also the natural director of most matters of a social or convivial character. Suitableness in all these respects will conduce greatly to the reputation and advancement of the officer, and aid materially in harmonizing a command and preserving friendship among its members.

     The Adjutant is usually Post treasurer and has charge of the Post fund. He has charge of the bakery, from which the greater portion of the fund is derived. It is, however, not a necessity that he shall have these last duties, but custom and convenience have assigned them to him.

     The Adjutant should be selected with a view to his fitness for the position, as the harmony of the Post will depend greatly upon him. Sound judgment, a disinterested character, and genial manners, will enable him to settle many questions of duty and detail between officers and men without offending; above all, however, he should possess superior knowledge of his duties and conscientious feeling in discharging them.

     Above all things, he must avoid favoritism. It is in his power to make material distinctions, and, if he cannot overcome or prevent the impression that he is partial and unjust, his usefulness will be irre.mediately counteracted. Ignorance or neglect of his duties will be far more unpardonable in his position, than in that of any other officer on the Post.

     1st Lieutenant Henry Romeyn, one of the adjutants at Fort Larned, had a distinguished Army career. He initially enlisted in Company G, 105th Illinois Infantry Regiment, on 15 August 1862, where he rose to the rank of sergeant prior to being appointed captain, 14th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, on 15 November 1863. He was brevetted Major, U. S. Volunteers, on 13 March 1865 for gallant and meritorious service in the battle of Nashville, Tennessee. He mustered out of the Army on 26 March 1866. On 22 January 1867, he was appointed First Lieutenant, 37th U. S. Infantry Regiment, and was stationed at Fort Larned. On 14 August 1869 he was assigned to the 5th U. S. Infantry Regiment. On 10 July 1885 he was promoted to Captain, and retired on 1 June 1897 as a major.

     While assigned to the 5th U. S. Infantry, Lieutenant Romeyn earned the Medal of Honor for most distinguished gallantry in action against hostile Nez Perce Indians at Bear Paw Mountain, Montana, 30 September 1877, in leading his command into close range of the enemy, there maintaining his position, and vigorously prosecuting the fight until he was severely wounded. He wrote the book, The Capture of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians.

The Soldiers Cut Down My Timber
by David K. Clapsaddle

     Following the opening of what we now call the Santa Fe Trail in 1821, the United States Congress passed a bill in January 1825 to mark a road from the frontier of Missouri to the boundary of Mexico. The law provided $10,000 for surveying and marking the road which Senator Thomas Hart Benton called "a highway between nations." Included also in the bill was an allocation of $20,000 to negotiate with Indians for a right-of-way across their lands.

     President James Monroe signed the bill into law and his successor, John Quincy Adams, appointed three commissioners to oversee the survey; Benjamin Reeves, Thomas Mather, and George C. Sibley. It is from Sibley's writings that much of what we know about the survey is derived. The survey party departed Fort Osage on July 17, 1825, and reached the Pawnee River on August 30. On the following day Sibley confided to his journal, "water at present muddy, Timber, Elm, Ash, Cotton trees, willow, and grape vines."

     Twenty-one years later at the onset of the Mexican War, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny's Army of the West arrived at the Pawnee River, flooded and unable to cross. The impatient Kearny ordered that trees be felled across the river to serve as foot bridges for the soldiers. Wagons were floated across the stream and the animals were forced to swim the flooded waters. Such is testimony to the presence of timber on the Pawnee River.

     In addition to the tree growth on the Pawnee identified by Sibley, several other sources confirm his observations of the Pawnee in particular and of other area streams in general. Most writers noted there was little or no timber along the Arkansas River, except at a few places such as islands in the river, but noted timber on many of the tributaries. Several streams in the area were identified by the names of certain tree species, Walnut Creek and Ash Creek, for example. The southern fork of the Pawnee was later known as Sawlog Creek, because of the timber there.

     Military personnel from Fort Larned operated a sawmill on the Pawnee in 1861, a few miles west of present Rozel, Kansas. In 1868, A. H. Boyd constructed a toll bridge on the Pawnee made of local timber three miles east of Fort Larned. Parenthetically, toll bridges also served the Santa Fe traffic at the Little Arkansas River, Cow Creek, and Walnut Creek.

     Fort Larned, as well as other Kansas army posts, annually contracted with civilian personnel to supply firewood to heat the barracks and other buildings. By way of example, in 1867 Calvin Dyche supplied Fort Larned with 100 cords of firewood at $16 per cord.

     Returning to George Sibley, as to the Arkansas River which bisected present Pawnee County, he wrote on September 3, 1825, from a point one mile west of present Garfield, Kansas, "The Arkansas still keeps its width of from 400 to 500 yards, and in other respects is very much as we saw it first with the exception of its being furnished with timber. Its course can now be traced distinctly for a great distance by the few scattered along its banks and upon its little islands, and this is the case all the way from about twenty miles below Walnut Creek."

     Please indulge this writer for a bit of personal experiences. When I moved to Larned, I was on several occasions regaled with remarks about the Pawnee River being treeless at earlier times. When I inquired as to the source of such a conclusion, I would often be told, "That's what my grandfather said."

     Since the genesis of the Santa Fe Trail, thousands of traders, freighters, soldiers, and gold seekers flooded the Trail, all in need of firewood. Such was reflected by the words of Chief Satanta at the Medicine Lodge Treaty negotiations in 1867, "A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers; but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers on its banks. The soldiers cut down my timber, they kill my buffalo; and when I see that my heart feels like bursting; I feel sorry."

     When the first settlers came to the Pawnee Valley, much of the remaining timber was rapidly consumed for firewood, fence posts, and various types of construction. Such is demonstrated by the closure of Fort Larned in 1878 when the troops were transferred elsewhere. A skeleton crew under the command of Lieutenant John Payne remained at the post to protect the trees on Fort Larned's sixteen-square-mile reservation from settlers intent on poaching the remaining timber.

     By grandfather's time, most, if not all of the first growth timber was gone. Had he been able to view the Pawnee Valley prior to the incursion of the whites and the Mexican merchants who entered the Santa Fe trade during the 1820s, his concept of timber or lack thereof on the Pawnee and elsewhere in west-central Kansas might well have been modified. An afterthought, if grandfather where to visit the Pawnee Valley today, he would find second growth trees of every species identified in 1825 by George Sibley in the immediate vicinity of the Fort Larned National Historic Site.

Thinking Spring in the Garden
by Jan Elder, Park Volunteer

     When icy winds blow and snowflakes descend from gray clouds, the thoughts of generations of gardeners have turned to purchasing seeds and planning a garden. In the imagination of all gardeners, this next garden will be the best one ever!

     Park Ranger Ellen Jones and I have also been planning for the 2015 Fort Larned historical garden. We now have "help" from the 19th century, a book called The Field and Garden Vegetables of America, by Fearing Burr, Jr., published in 1863. This thick book, containing descriptions of nearly 1100 species and varieties, has proved valuable as we search for seeds of vegetable varieties available in the 1860s and 1870s.

     Where were seeds obtained for the Fort Larned company gardens? "Some of the troops obtained seeds from sources other than the post commissary department, which apparently had plenty. The nonmilitary seeds germinated while the 'issue' seeds did not. There was a scramble for non-GI seeds." ("Fort Larned: Camp on Pawnee Fork," by Everett M. Brown, 1964, MS, Great Bend, KS). This typed quotation is found in the Fort Larned Library. Seeds would also have been available from traders on the Santa Fe Trail, local merchants and farmers, and also by mail from seed companies.

     For a garden to grow, the soil cannot be neglected. During the winter Ellen spread leaves over the garden to decompose (hopefully the leaves were not blown away by the Kansas wind!). Before tilling in the spring, we also hope to spread composted horse manure over the soil. The horses and mules at Fort Larned supplied a ready source of manure for garden fertilizer. "All gardens were covered by rich loamy mulch from walls and refuse of old corral before ploughing." (Assistant Surgeon S. G. Cowdrey, April 1874).

     I have agricultural laborers in my English family tree. A frequent winter chore for such laborers was called "muck spreading." A horse-drawn cart loaded with manure was driven around fields while laborers on the cart used pitchforks to spread manure over the ground. It may not have been called "muck spreading," but no doubt this task was also performed on the Fort Larned company gardens.

     I hope you will take the time to visit our small historical garden in 2015. Kansas weather permitting, we hope to begin planting early crops such as cabbage, radish, lettuce, onions, etc, in early April. Later in the season we will be planting the warm-weather crops such as corn, tomatoes, squash, and beans.

     At the end of the preface to The Field and Garden Vegetables Of America, Mr. Burr stated: "That the volume may be acceptable to the agriculturist, seedsman, and to all who may possess, cultivate, or find pleasure in, a garden, is the sincere wish of the author." Perhaps a copy of this very useful book also guided the 19th-century Fort Larned gardeners.

     See you in the garden--and it will be the best one ever!

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

     (Peck's memoirs of life at Camp on Pawnee Fork continue with his account of life at the post during the winter of 1859-1860. His descriptions of hunting fit in with the program planned for the Old Guard Mess & Muster on April 25. Peck's account continues).

     Wolves in the buffalo range are of two kinds; the large gray, or buffalo wolves---called by the Mexicans, "lobos"---and the common coyotes. The latter are far the more numerous.

     They are all cowardly, and do not often attack persons. Like the Indians, their living is derived chiefly from the buffalo. They hover on the outskirts of the herds and pick up stragglers that have been wounded and dropped out.

     When a buffalo becomes very old or disabled from any cause he is whipped out of the herd by the others, and soon falls a victim to the wolves.

     Wolf hunting-or rather wolf poisoning-is an occupation followed by a few men from the border settlements, who spend the Winter months in the buffalo range poisoning wolves for their hides. They kill a buffalo for a bait, remove the skin, and put strychnine-just a little here and there-on the outside of the carcass in the evening, and then in the morning hunt up the dead wolves lying around the bait and skin them.

     Wolf-hunting parties are usually composed of two or more men, who take a team and supplies for several months. Beginning about the first of November, they spend the Winter in the buffalo range skinning wolves and drying the hides. The time for securing good pelts ends about the first of February, for after that time all animals begin shedding their Winter coats and the pelts are then of but little value.

     Of course, wolf hunters have to take a risk of losing their scalps, and when any of the Indian tribes are known to be on the war path the hunters try to keep out of the range of the hostiles, if possible; but they have to be men of some nerve and familiar with Indian tactics to be successful.

     While idle at Camp Alert, between escort trips, I spent a good deal of my time in hunting. Besides buffalo there were beaver and otter along the creek, and about the Arkansas River and sloughs along its bottoms there were plenty of water fowls, such as sand-hill cranes, wild geese, brants and ducks.

     One day while hunting up and skinning some wolves I had put out poison for-riding a mule to carry the pelts on-I discovered a hole in the bank of the creek with fresh wolf tracks around it, and among them the tracks of small cubs, which indicated that it was a wolf den.

     I dismounted to look into the hole-holding my mule by the lariat-and on stooping down with my face to the opening and peering into the dark hole I could only see in the blackness of the interior a pair of fiery eyes glaring at me, and heard an ominous growl. I stepped back quickly and jerked out my pistol in expectation of the wolf coming out, but as she didn't do so, I looked again. Another growl and a rushing noise, and as I stepped aside from the hole the old she wolf came out like a flash, snarling and snapping her teeth as she went by me, I fired at her, but probably missed, and she was out of sight in the timber in a second.

     By the use of some sticks that I found among the trees, I dug into the den by prying up the earth and taking it back until I could reach a pair of cubs that the cowardly old mother wolf had left and hauled them out. Holding my prizes securely with one hand I led my mule up to a tree and tied her fast, and then took a gunny-sack out from under my saddle, put the cubs into it, threw it across the mule's back behind the saddle with a cub on each side and tied it to the cantel of the saddle, and mounted.

     The mule was a very gentle one and used to carrying a lot of fresh wolf skins frequently without making any objection; but when those young wolves got to clawing around and tickling her in the flanks, she "lit out," and such running and kicking! The claws of the cubs had worked through the sack and were going vigorously into the mule's hide in a very ticklish place. This was enough to throw even a well-regulated mule into hysterics, and my long-eared companion began giving me an exhibition of acrobatic feats that tried my best skill to keep my seat and make the response, as I was per force an assistant, I could have admired this performance more if I had been in some safer place than on her back.

     I stayed with her, however, but had to turn loose the sack and throw overboard my live freight to save myself from shipwreck. After I had succeeded in stopping and quieting the frightened mule, I went back, dismounted, and picked up my sack of cubs, but there was no such thing as getting onto that mule with them again; so I had to walk and carry my pets to camp, leading the mule, I had abandoned a bunch of wolf skins in order to take on the cubs, and now went back and got them; but the mule was so thoroughly frightened that it was with considerable difficulty that I persuaded her to carry even her accustomed burden.

     A coyote does not make a very amiable pet. Like the Indian, they are treacherous, ungrateful wretches, and about as unrealiable a thing as can well be imagined. I soon got tired of these and gave them away.

     About once in two weeks a party of six or eight men, using the horses retained for that purpose, and accompanied by a six-mule team, would be sent out to kill a wagon-load of buffalo meat.

     Buffalo are getting somewhat scarce in our immediate vicinity, for the reason that as the cold weather advances most of them migrate southward; but there are always a few small bands of bulls that remain all Winter. We have to go some distance now to find them, usually up Pawnee Fork, where there is timber. We take two or three days' rations and food, and stay out till we have killed enough to make a wagon-load of meat. When killed the carcass is cut into quarters, leaving the hide on each piece as a partial protection from dirt.

     The hides are worth nothing to us, and we never save them, for we can buy a good dressed robe from friendly Indians or traders for a dollar or two.

     The hunting is done on horseback. When a band of them is sighted the mounted men, keeping out of their sight as much as possible, move around till they get to leeward of the game; then, still keeping out of sight, if the ground will admit, move briskly, but quietly as possible, toward them. The idea is to approach the buffalo as near as practicable before they discover the presence of the hunter.

     When they detect the approach of their enemy they raise their shaggy heads, stare at the intruder a moment, and then start off on a lope, which increases to a run as the hunter crowds closer onto them.

     As soon as the buffalo raise their heads and notice their danger, as concealment is no longer possible, the hunter puts spurs to his horse and endeavors to lessen the distance between him and the game as much as he can before they get well under way. Still, it is advisable to make as little noise as possible, for the more noise the greater will be the fright of the buffalo and a corresponding increase of speed.

     To be effective, the bullet should be sent in the region of the heart, just behind the shoulder, or through the loins, to break him down. Our Sharp's carbines are very effective, carrying a half-ounce ball, but as they are not so handy to use on horseback as the revolver, we generally prefer the pistol, especially if we are carrying the large dragoon revolvers, which carry a much larger ball than the navy. But the navy does good work if the hunter is close to the buffalo, and knows just where to put the balls. If using the Sharp's carbine the hunter comes up on the buffalo's right side; if the revolver, on the left. The horse must be trained to the work, and at the crack of the gun must be quickly turned away from the buffalo, for the latter is certain to make a dash at the horse as quick as he feels a wound, but usually only goes a few steps, when he again resumes his former course, if not brought down.

     Each hunter carries two revolvers, and it sometimes takes all of the 12 shots to kill an old bull, as they are hard to kill; but two or three shots with a revolver are generally sufficient, if put in the right place.

     On one of these hunts I knew a bull to run about a half-mile after having a Sharp's rifle ball put through his heart.

     In the first dash each hunter singles out a buffalo and keeps after him till he brings him down.

     I once killed five buffalos with seven shots from a navy revolver, but these were all yearlings and two-year-olds, which are much easier finished than old ones, and at that time I had an excellent, well trained horse, and was in good practice myself. During this chase a two-year-old directly in front of me fell and rolled over, and, being too near him to stop or turn, my horse jumped clear over him without any inconvenience to either of us.

     These hunts were exciting, and we enjoyed them very much, unless we happened to get caught out in a "norther," in which case there was more suffering than sport. Some of the mail hands from the new station near our post usually went with us to lay in a supply of meat for their outfit.

     April 25, 2015: Fort Larned Old Guard annual Mess & Muster
     Registration Form     Mess & Muster Programs

Deadline For Next Issue: May 1, 2015

Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2015, 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.

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