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

Evolution Of Hunting Topic Develops Into More
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     The Evolution Of Hunting topic has expanded far beyond the two exhibits on display at the fort, which all started with a generous grant from the Kansas Humanities Council and the Fort Larned Old Guard. The Hometown Team project shows how the Plains Indians, fur trappers, elite officers and their wives at Fort Larned, all thrived through hunting---from survival to market to sport. Education programs for students and Fort Larned Old Guard's annual event, Mess and Muster, have highlighted the history of hunting, reviving the memory of legends like William Cody and Billy Dixon.

Dr. Juti Winchester Marc Ferguson Dr. Dan Witt
Pat Cale
Dr. Juti Winchester - Marc Ferguson as Billy Dixon - Dr. Dan Witt - Pat Cale

Buffalo hunter camp
Buffalo hunter camp, l to r:
Rex Abrahams, Kirk Shapland, and Mark Berry
Shapland set up the camp. He portrays Buffalo Bill Cody, too
Photo courtesy of Tom Lippincott
     The Fort Larned Open House, in conjunction with the Mess and Muster on Saturday, April 25, offered a reception with food and drink, a viewing of the documentary Tatonka, and guest speaker presentations. Audiences swelled throughout the day, surpassing 100 for Dr. Juti Winchester's program, "New Yorkers on the Warpath: Easterners Go West to Hunt." Dr. Winchester is Assistant Professor of History at Fort Hays State University. Her audience learned about General Philip Sheridan's "distingushed hunting parties," hunting guide William Cody, and the champagne consumed along the way. Dr. Dan Witt, Great Bend Tribune columnist, shared photos at Cheyenne Bottoms with a beautiful array of waterfowl and shorebird pictures. His passion and talent for photography really showed in this presentation. Avid hunter Pat Cale, Great Bend, Kansas presented a timeline of hunting laws that date as far back as the 1880s when hunters began to think in terms of conservation. Kirk Shapland, Buffalo Bill Cody reenactor, set up a buffalo hunter's camp for the day. All who attended enjoyed learning more about the history of hunting in this area. After a delicious brisket dinner, we met Billy Dixon through a first-person portrayal by Marc Ferguson, Historic Reenactor and Curator of the Dalton Gang Hideout, Meade, Kansas.

Mike Seymour and the Fort's New Buffalo
     The momentum taking us into the weekend Mess and Muster was already in full swing due to 206 students from Larned USD 495 taking part in Hometown Team activities. Students explored a child's life at the fort in 1868 as he learns how to hunt bullfrogs! Volunteer David Clapsaddle wrote the story, "The Boy and the Bullfrogs." David shared with the students his initial problem with connecting the students to hunting. Then he remembered what he learned in his youth--to snare bullfrogs. In his story the main character, Billy, learns a special technique for catching bullfrogs. Billy's mother invites guests over for a dinner of frog legs. The rest of the day's activities included frog relays: hopping, tying "bait" on a fishing pole, and catching a souvenir "frog." It was a great day to further the Hometown Team initiative by giving students the opportunity to be active on the parade ground.

     Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Kansas, sponsor of the Hometown Team initiative, gave us 250 pedometers to give away. Every third grader attending the Kansas Kids Fitness & Safety Day at the fort on May 1, 2015 received a pedometer. Third graders from Larned, Ellinwood, Kansas, LaCrosse, Kansas, Lewis, Kansas, Great Bend, Kansas, and Otis-Bison Kansas, participated and took an interest in their collective steps recorded on the pedometers. Another beautiful day of activities on the parade ground capturing the energy of our youth.

Pedometer Souviners
     The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Hometown Team exhibit is in Greensburg, Kansas, at the Kiowa County Museum. The exhibit showcases how sports have shaped America with over 200 colorful photographs and "Minute for Movement" stations. Many common sports we love are featured: football, soccer, hockey--to name a few. The communities of Humboldt and Perry will be hosting the exhibit later this year. The fort still has brochures on the Smithsonian traveling exhibit. Call Ellen Jones, 620-285-6911, to request a brochure to be mailed to you.

     Fort Larned's exhibit featuring hunting as a sport is unique but more than adequately conveys the love of outdoor adventures. The colorful history of hunting for recreation is found in historic records, which are featured in the exhibit, along with four unique hunting stories from the area which are part of an audio interactive exhibit, a new addition to the fort's museum which was funded by the grants and the Old Guard (see photo under Maintenance article in this issue). If you were not able to attend this year's Mess & Muster, it's not too late to see the exhibits. The fort staff plans to leave them in place until November 1, 2015.

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Ken Weidner

     It is an honor to serve as your new chairman of the Old Guard. I farm at Copeland, Kansas, which is about 40 miles west of Dodge City. You may recognize me as I usually portray a Southern Cheyenne when I volunteer at Fort Larned. My biography and photo appeared in the last issue of Outpost.

     In accordance with Fort Larned Old Guard by-laws, after serving six years on Fort Larned Old Guard board, five of those as chairman, Rex Abrahams has "retired" from the board. What can I say? This is going to be a tough act to follow. Rex has been a fantastic chairman and a great leader. I can't even begin to list all the things Fort Larned Old Guard has accomplished under his leadership (please see Rex's "farewell column" in this issue. Just let me say that his work has been greatly appreciated by all the members of Fort Larned Old Guard. Thank you Rex for all your work and great ideas!

     Another board member who has served a full six-year term is Dr. Tim Zwink. He has been very instrumental in the annual Mess and Muster meetings, and he was THE force behind the viewing of the silent film Daughter of the Dawn in 2013. Thank you for all your work Dr. Zwink.

     Speaking of our annual Mess and Muster spring meeting, it was held on April 25, 2015. What a beautiful day we had for the event. Fort Larned came to life once again, with the help of all our valuable volunteers. Visitors were able to see and hear about the people of the fort in old days, including soldiers, officers, officers' wives, blacksmith, saddler, and a buffalo hunter.

     "Hunting" was the theme of the day, beginning with an open house and refreshments in the Visitor Center. The film Tatonka was shown in the auditorium, giving a good overview of the Indians' use of the buffalo and the later slaughter by white hunters.

     In the Visitor Center was a new exhibit entitled "The Evolution of Hunting from Survival to Marketing to Sport," which will be on display until November 1, 2015. With funding from the Hometown Team project, a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council, and help from Fort Larned Old Guard, Fort Larned Ranger Ellen Jones has researched, organized, and made this exhibit possible. Fort the modern visitor, a new audio station will play several historical quotations about hunting. But to me, the large display board with many historical quotations and photographs is the highlight. I tried three times to read it all, but was interrupted each time. I hope to finish the second half the next time I visit the fort.

     Dr. Juti Winchester kicked off the afternoon sessions with "New Yorkers on the Warpath: Easterners Go West to Hunt." I was somewhat familiar with these extravagant hunting parties, which were organized for wealthy businessmen and politicians. But hearing about the logistics of such an endeavor was very enlightening. Who would have thought they would carry wagon loads of ice across the prairie? Champagne and canned oysters, yes, but ice?

     A slide show featuring the various birds of Cheyenne Bottoms was presented by Dr. Dan Witt. His wonderful photos and entertaining commentary stressed the importance of wildlife management for both hunters and bird watchers.

     Continuing the hunting theme, a most interesting program about Market Hunting was presented by Pat Cale. I had read about waterfowl market hunting, and learning the details of how and why definitely made me glad that I attended this lecture. Once again, the importance of wildlife management was stressed and several examples of waterfowl recovery was mentioned.

     The evening program was attended by over 100 Fort Larned Old Guard members, fort staff and volunteers, and guests. Following a fine meal, a brief Fort Larned Old Guard business meeting was held. New board members, Mark Berry and Martha Scranton were elected by the membership of Fort Larned Old Guard. Officers elected for the coming year are Chairman Ken Weidner, Vice-Chairman Tom Seltmann, Secretary Bonita Oliva, and Treasurer Leo Oliva. During the meeting Rex Abrahams, Timothy Zwink, and Ellen Jones were presented commissions as honorary Colonels in Fort Larned Old Guard for all their work for the organization. Mark Berry was presented the William Chalfant Memorial Award for all his years of volunteering at the fort. Mark has been a volunteer since Fort Larned opened as a National Park. That was many, many years ago folks! Thanks for all the great work Mark.

     Concluding the hunting theme, guest Billy Dixon proceeded to tell us of his life on the Plains. Dixon, portrayed by Marc Ferguson, carried his Sharps rifle and told us his story. We learned of his life as a scout and hunter, and of course his famous long shot at the Adobe Walls battle in Texas. It was a very interesting program to end a very good day.

     In wrapping up this first column, I extend thanks all members of Fort Larned Old Guard and to the many volunteers who serve at the fort. We have accomplished a lot of good things in the past few years. I hope to be able to serve and help the group continue to support Fort Larned.

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.)
     Spring-my favorite season. It's such a beautiful time of year when everything comes to life. Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and the park staff is busily preparing for school groups, visitors, and an exciting year of projects, programs, and activities.

     One of the first programs of the year to help us "spring" into action was the annual Old Guard Mess and Muster event. As with so many of the activities that are presented in partnership with the Old Guard, it was a very successful, enjoyable, and well attended event, and we are very appreciative of the support.

     Another sign associated with spring is growth. When you visit the park this year, you will see some new faces. The park was very fortunate to have received special funding to hire several new temporary employees. One employee will assist with visitor services and another will be interviewing former staff and friends to gather information designed to complete an Administrative History. We are also very pleased that the Hispanic Access Foundation selected Fort Larned to receive one of only 20 available internships. Top candidates were matched with specific sites according to their skills, interests, and the qualifications specified by the National Park Service. Additionally, the park also competed for and was successful in obtaining funds for a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher position and another "Ticket to Ride" grant.

Retreat at Fort Larned, April 25, 2015, lowering the garrison flag
Photo courtesy of Tom Lippincott
     Our longtime seasonal park ranger Karl Grover is departing from his position here at the fort after serving for 20 years. Karl's family has grown to include a new daughter-in-law (married to son Ben) and a new grandson (born to daughter Carol and her husband). His family time is very precious to him and wife Kathy, especially holidays. You will still see him busy as ever at his full-time position as manager of Cheyenne Bottoms. Karl has been an excellent interpreter and a creative collaborator when presenting history programs.

     Meetings are scheduled in June to begin another exciting project. Beginning this year and continuing for the next several years, the park will begin the planning, design, and fabrication of new museum exhibits. The current exhibits are outdated and are missing important features of the Fort Larned story.

     What an exciting time for us! It is a season for new beginnings and I look forward to, and am so appreciative of, the many things we will accomplish together.

Memorial Weekend Living-History Events
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     We are completing school-tour season right now at Fort Larned, and our first big living-history event of the summer will be upon us before we know it. Many of the schools visiting the fort are coming for the first time, thanks to the Ticket to Ride grant. We don't miss a chance to tell the students and teachers about our Memorial Weekend events, May 23-25, 2015, when there will be plenty of soldiers, laundresses, officers' wives, and special programs to keep you busy the entire day. Keep an eye on our website calendar at {}. We hope to see you at the fort.

Reflections On My Years As Chairman
by Rex Abrahams

     I have enjoyed serving on the Fort Larned Old Guard Board these past six years. My term limits are up, time for new leadership. At the editor's request, here are my reflections on the past six years. The Old Guard has been very active. Without recapping our annual Mess & Muster programs, which have turned into special events all their own, here is a brief rundown. I apologize in advance for the items I missed.

They are in no particular order.
     * Purchased a new horse mannequin for the fort's traveling exhibit.

     * Helped fund the creation of a second traveling exhibit, comprised of a Cheyenne man and woman with the proper clothing and equipment.

     *Purchased two-time medal of Honor Winner Frank D.Baldwin's personal engraved sword for the fort's museum. Lt. Baldwin served at Fort Larned in the 1870s.

     * Accepted the donation of the Little Red House in Larned from David and Alice Clapsaddle.

     *Accepted the donation of Sibley's 1825 Campsite across the street from the Little Red House. The donation came from David and Alice Clapsaddle and Mildon and Ida Yeager.

     * Began hosting the Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous Saturday lunch at the fort. This enabled attendees to get out to the fort after morning sessions in a more efficient manner.

     * Hosted lunch for the Material Culture of the Prairie, Plains and Plateau 2013 Conference.

     * Accepted the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Challenge Grant (Johnsburg, NY). Their $5000 challenge generated over $32,000 in financial donations, grants-in-kind, and an exciting silent auction of numerous items!

     * Hosted Fort Larned's 50th Anniversary as Kansas' first National Park. Color Guards from Fort Riley and McConnell Air Force Base participated in a double-cannon flag ceremony at noon. The Big Red One 1st Infantry Division Band entertained us with an outstanding concert later in the day. We fed 300 guests a free hotdog lunch with all the fixings.

     * Helped sponsor the Home Town Team Grant Display, "The Evolution of Hunting from Survival to Market to Sport at Fort Larned."

     * Sponsored "Pictures with Santa" at the fort. Free pictures were taken and handed out to all the children in attendance.

     * Paid for new aerial photography of the fort.

     * Purchased 15 original Santa Fe Trail Freighting items to be placed in a new exhibit in the fort's museum.

     * Printed new Fort Larned brochures and over 56,000 rack cards.

     * Sponsored two Scholarships for Kansas History Day.

     * Honored Janis Whitham and her outstanding race horse named Fort Larned. Fort Larned was a 9 to 1 underdog but won the Breeders' Cup Classic in the Fall of 2012.

     * Cosponsored, with the Oklahoma Historical Society, Kansas' premier showing of the long lost 1920 silent film called Daughter of Dawn.

     * Hosted several events at the Indian Village site, including a celebration when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

     * Accepted a special donation from John and Mary Clair of Archbold, Ohio. The donation included ten original Fort Larned documents and an original tintype photo of three soldiers standing beside the barracks.

     * Ranger Ellen Jones and Fort Larned Old Guard Grant Chair Chris Day secured a $4000 grant from Disney and the National Park Foundation, supporting the Ticket to Ride program during the 2013-2014 school year. This grant helps fund transportation to bring school children on field trips to the fort who would not otherwise be able to come because of school budget cuts. A second-year grant of $8,000 was received for the current school year.

     * Old Guard member David Clapsaddle gave his "Traveling Trunks" program to literally thousands of school children before his health prevented him from continuing. Now Ranger Ellen Jones has picked up the mantle for David.

     Lots of neat and exciting things! I want to thank each and every one of you for your support of Fort Larned and the Fort Larned Old Guard. Together we are making significant progress in keeping Fort Larned the "Best preserved Indian Wars era fort in the United States."

Fort Larned Roll Call: Mike Seymour
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     Park Ranger Mike Seymour is busy with curatorial duties which include cataloguing and scheduled maintenance for the Fort Larned artifacts. Occasionally he sets out new items on display throughout the fort's buildings and continually assesses any needs for his curatorial work. For example, he is assembling special tools to protect and preserve the fort's latest acquisition--a full-size buffalo. The specimen came from Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri, along with 56 additional items you may see on display in the future.

     Mike's permanent home is in Tonganoxie, Kansas, where he lives with wife Janice and is in close proximity to their two sons and families. We're always glad to see Mike return to his park ranger-curatorial duties in the spring. He is an excellent tour guide and is passionate about the fort's history. Recently Mike and Janice signed up three of their grandchildren in the volunteer program. The first project for these new volunteers . . . cleaning the barracks!

Volunteer Roll Call: Gary Anschutz
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     Gary Anschutz not only serves on the Fort Larned Old Guard Board of Directors, he's a wonderful park volunteer---and has been for years. Ask anyone on staff about Gary, and they will tell you about the delicious cheese-layered dip on a platter he makes for us several times a year. What a treat to be on the receiving end of Gary's culinary skills. But it's his love of history, especially Santa Fe Trail history, which the fort benefits from every time Gary volunteers. Gary shares his passion for the Santa Fe Trail and Fort Larned with visitors attending the fort's special events. he can usually be found in the Issuing Room of the Quartermaster Storehouse--but rarely alone. Visitors are interested in Gary's stories of the Santa Fe Trail and his military duties as a Quartermaster Clerk.

Gary Anschutz
     A Kansas native, Gary lives in Galatia, which is approximately 25 miles north of Pawnee Rock and between the towns of Loretta and Susank. His formative education includes a BA in History from Fort Hays University. He earned a Master's degree in Education and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for years. He's quick to say he set out to learn and live history! Some years ago he was a student in Leo Oliva's history class at Fort Hays.

     Gary has traveled extensively in the United States and in other countries. When he served in the U. S. Navy during the 1960s, he saw much of the world. He still enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures. He just returned from France, just in time for the annual Mess and Muster at the fort. His two adult children live near him in the Hays and Russell areas. Judy and John both enjoy history very much.

     Not so hard to believe with a teacher for a parent like Gary!

Post Commanders: Simon Snyder
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

(This is twenty-second in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned)
     By the time Captain Simon Snyder, Fifth United States Infantry, took command of Fort Larned in April 1873, the era of the railroads on the prairies was well underway. In 1872, the year the railroad reached Larned and the new town was established, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman expressed the opinion that the railroads, which had by this time replaced much of the Santa Fe Trail as a commercial highway, were important assets for the military to protect. Not only did they help the Army rapidly transport troops and supplies to wherever they were needed but they also did so with less expense than previous modes of transportation. Sherman's biographer, Robert G. Athearn, wrote: "During one year, 1867, the cost of transporting military supplies on just one branch of the railroad--the Kansas (Union Pacific, Eastern Division, later the Kansas Pacific Railway)--was $511,908.24. If they had been hauled by wagon, and the mails carried by stage, and if the troops transported had marched instead, the cost would have run to $1,358,291.06. The government had saved $846,382.82 on a part of the Union Pacific Railroad in a single year."

Captain Simon Snyder
     Sherman also believed that the so-called "Indian problem," i.e., removing Indians from the Plains in order to make room for White settlers, lessened in direct proportion to the growth of the railroads. Eventually the railroads would bring enough settlers to the plains that the southern and northern Indian tribes would be permanently separated and located on assigned reservations, thus eliminating the problem. The construction of railroads across the Great Plains aided the slaughter of the bison, which removed the Plains tribes' commissary and made their defeat much easier.

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway construction-crew train west of Fort Larned, 1872
     Certainly Captain Snyder did not have to deal with any dire situations with Indians. During the first four months of 1873, there was no mention in the post returns of Indian movements in the area. People still used the Santa Fe Trail to get to Colorado, New Mexico, and other points west, however, nobody at the post kept a log of the wagons or "armed men" passing by. Also, according to the records, the post commander did not feel there was enough of a threat from Indians to justify sending out patrols along the Santa Fe Trail, or to scout the area around the fort for signs of war parties. One reason Indians were no longer prevalent in the area was the scarcity of buffalo around Fort Larned by the spring of 1873. They were sometimes seen within 20 miles of the post but for the most part they were not sighted very often.

     Events at Fort Larned, as they had been for several years, were fairly quiet and routine. Soldiers planted gardens in April and two companies from the 6th Cavalry passed the fort on their way to Camp Supply in Indian Territory. Company D, 5th Infantry transferred to Fort Dodge, leaving only 56 enlisted men under Captain Snyder's command. Acting Assistant Quartermaster Lieutenant Edward Randall of the 5th Infantry went through the fort records and compiled a list of some of the people buried in the post cemetery, which he said was located one-fourth of a mile northwest of the flagpole in a 144-foot square plot. During July a brick mason came to the fort to build a new bake oven and a carpenter repaired a corral damaged during a summer storm. With so few soldiers on the post, civilian teamsters were hired to drive wagons.

     Reports of a mastodon skeleton in the area had prompted the Chicago Historical Society to request the help of Fort Larned personnel in finding it. Acting Assistant Surgeon C. H. Clark received official permission to take a squad of soldiers to go find and dig up the remains.

     Settlement in the surrounding area continued at a fast pace with people moving to the new town of Larned and the nearby community of Camp Criley (later Garfield, Kansas). This small settlement located near Coon Creek had been a favorite Indian ambush site in earlier years. Now it was a growing farming community.

     Simon Snyder entered the Army in Pennsylvania as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th U. S. Infantry on April 26, 1861. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on June 25, 1861, and then to Captain on July 1, 1863. He came to Fort Larned in May of 1872 as Captain of Co. F of the 5th U. S. Infantry.

     Captain Snyder's daughter, May Lillian Snyder, was born on January 24, 1872. His first wife died within two years of their daughter's birth, leaving Captain Snyder as a single parent. It was hard enough for Army officers to keep their children with them when their wives were there to help our. but it was even more difficult for a single father in the Army to raise a child. Captain Snyder kept Lillie with him and managed to raise her on his own, but it was not easy when he had to be away on campaign for extended periods of time. His mother offered to come out to help him but he turned her down, saying that she would not have any "floors or bricks to scrub," a subtle reminder of how rough the accommodations could be on frontier military posts. He managed to keep his daughter with him by having housekeepers and neighbors help him care for her when his Army duties called him away.

     In June 1874, Co. F, 5th Infantry was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, while Co. E of the 5th was sent to Fort Riley, Kansas. These companies were replaced by Companies A and B of the 19th Infantry, which came west after duty along the Gulf Coast. Captain Snyder went with Co. F to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was replaced by Captain J. W. Lyster from the 19th.

     Simon Snyder went on to become a Major in the 11th Infantry on March 10, 1883, and was then promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 10th Infantry on Jan. 2, 1888, and became Colonel of the 19th Infantry on September 16, 1892. He received a brevet rank as Major on February 27, 1890, for gallant service in action against the Indians at Bear Paw Mountains in Montana on September 30, 1877. He was honorably discharged from volunteer service on May 12, 1899 while also receiving a promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers. He was promoted to Brigadier General in the Regular Army on April 16, 1902, and retired on May 10, 1902.

     Despite the difficulties of raising a motherless child on frontier Army posts, Captain Snyder succeeded in keeping his daughter with him at all his postings throughout the West. He also managed to provide her with special celebrations for her birthdays and holidays. When Lillie turned 15 her father reluctantly sent her to the Convent Mount de Chantal in West Virginia for further education.

     By 1874 things had changed quite a lot at Fort Larned, with the railroad being the main agent of that change. In 1864 a board of survey at Fort Larned might have asked a subsistence officer why a sack of flour was lumpy while 10 years later records show them discussing what to do with a wagonload of fresh cabbages brought by rail to Larned. Even the cattle coming to Fort Larned for fresh beef actually had enough beef on them to slaughter and eat. The main change for the soldiers at Fort Larned, though, was that the days of escorting wagons was definitely over and a period of inactivity and boredom was setting in. Until the Army finally closed the post there was not much for the soldiers at Fort Larned to do besides keep up the daily routine of the garrison.

Maintenance News
by William Chapman, Facility Manager

     Another busy spring and summer season is upon us. This year we will be replacing the roof on the shops building and the submersible pump for a water system. Along with maintaining park operations, water systems, and grounds we will focus on the doors of Old Commissary building (HS-5) to address accessibility, and wood repairs to the north doors on Barracks (HS-2) and on Visitor Center (HS-1).

     Recently, as part of the Hometown team exhibit that is now on display in the visitor center, a custom-built cabinet designed and constructed by Preservation Specialist Robert Sellers houses the audio recording for the exhibit. Robert based his design to reflect a radio cabinet circa 1920s.

Robert Sellers
     Shawn Calkins and Robert Sellers have completed the wood repairs to the porch columns and railing and other elements of the fort porch of the South officers' Quarters. Final touchup painting will be completed as weather permits.

     Fort Larned is again pursuing a grant from the Department of Energy Clean City program to provide a positive change in our impact on the environment. This grant is but one step in our goal to meet the 30% reduction in fleet petroleum use by 2020. We will be replacing some of the fluorescent lamps (bulbs) in the office area with L. E. D. lamps to further reduce our energy consumption beyond last year's 19%.

Post And Company Commissary Sergeants
by Sam Young, Park Volunteer

     Fort Larned National Historical Site does not have commissary sergeant records of the period it was an active military post, 1859-1878. It is known that James Ryan, born in Tipperary, Ireland, in either 1839 or 1841, was appointed commissary sergeant at Fort Larned on June 26, 1873. While we continue the search for further information on Ryan and what he did while at Fort Larned, we can consult August V. Kautz's book, The 1865 Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers: A Handbook for the Rank and File of the Army, to learn the duties of the commissary sergeant.

Post Commissary Sergeant
     Fort Larned was, during much of its existence, a company-size fort, although at times multiple companies were stationed there. The post commander was usually the senior company commander unless there was a field-grade officer (major, lieutenant colonel, or colonel) in command. In any case, the commander appointed who he felt was the most qualified non-commissioned officer to serve as the post commissary sergeant. The commissary sergeant was paid the same as the post quartermaster sergeant.

     In addition to issuing food to the companies stationed at Fort Larned, the commissary sergeant had to be prepared to issue rations to companies passing through or near Fort Larned. For those companies in transit, this included food for immediate meals as well as ration resupply requirements for the units to meet their missions.

     According to Kautz, the commissary sergeant "has the immediate control of the commissary storehouse, and receives and superintends the issues to the companies. He assists the clerks in making up the returns, or may do the duties of clerk himself where the issues are not numerous.

     "Where the issues are frequent and large, he has more the duties of a foreman to perform, as he will have a great number of men under his direction. Where the beef is butchered by the commissary, the care of the cattle and the slaughtering involves an increased force that will also be under his direction.

     "The duty is a responsible one. Much property of a kind calculated to tempt the cupidity of a dishonest man is placed in his charge; and, even where the sergeant himself is strictly honest in the discharge of his duties, he is under the necessity of watching the employees, who frequently take opportunities of disposing of provisions for money or appropriating articles which they are not allowed to their own use. Frequent inspections are, therefore, necessary, to see that no deficiencies occur in this way.

     "Those men who have charge of particular issues should be held responsible for all deficiencies and be required to account for losses. Consequently, when a man is placed in charge of stores, a memorandum should be made of the amount, so that at any time that an inspection is made it may be correctly ascertained what should be on hand."

     "The commissary sergeant should keep an account of all receipts and issues daily. Then, if the stores are systematically stored, there is no difficulty in making an inventory of them at any time, and correcting or discovering any delinquencies. Unless great vigilance is kept up, and a correct system pursued, deficiencies are sure to occur.

     "Some complication arises in returning for subsistence stores which are temporarily left in the commissary store, as where companies leave their savings. In such cases, memorandum receipts should be given, and also an account of it should be kept; but at the end of each month every account should be squared up.

     "Issues are usually made to companies for ten days in garrisons or permanent camps, and for five days or less on the march. Consolidated returns should be made, as they save a multiplicity of papers. Each company renders a return, and they are consolidated in the adjutant's office and signed by the commanding officer.

     "The sergeant should be thoroughly acquainted with the regulations for the subsistence department; otherwise he cannot superintend the details of his office with confidence. The care of the stores requires simply common sense, and a practical knowledge of the properties of the various articles issued as subsistence stores for the army, and the causes that usually produce deterioration; also, the means usually adopted to prevent stores from spoiling and to keep them in the best possible state of preservation.

     "There is little difference between the field and garrison duties of a commissary sergeant. In the field, he has the stores in charge the same as in garrison, receives and issues them, but has a more limited means of taking care of them, and, consequently, rarely has more on hand than is absolutely necessary.

     "The commissary department furnishes scales, weights, and measures, which he should always keep on hand; for without them he will be unable to give satisfaction to the troops without running the risk of exceeding the authorized issues.

     "As the quartermaster takes charge of the transportation of the stores, they are necessarily, whilst in his charge and in transit, out of the control of the commissary department for the time-being; but it is the sergeant's duty to note the amount he turns over for transportation, to give invoices and take transportation receipts. These should be signed by the quartermaster and commissary."

Company Commissary Sergeant
     Each company had its own commissary sergeant. Per Kautz, "his duty is to make out the provision return, attend to drawing the rations for the company, and superintend their cooking and distribution to the men. He takes care of the company savings, and keeps the account with the commissary.

     "He is required to know the drill, and attend the exercises the same as other non-commissioned officers, except where they would interfere with the performance of his legitimate duties. He should also be familiar with all that has been prescribed for the duty-sergeants of the company.

     "The utmost impartiality should be exercised by the sergeant in the distribution of the provisions, to prevent discontent among the men. They should all be served alike, as far as it is possible. Close attention is necessary in the care of the stores; and none of the men should be permitted to help themselves. No one except the cooks should have access to the provisions, and these only when the sergeant is present.

     "The provisions for one meal only should be issued to them at one time to be cooked; and when they are ready for issue, the sergeant should be present, and see that they are equitably distributed and that the proper allowance is saved for those who are necessarily absent, that the prisoners are supplied, and also all others who are entitled to rations from the company."

     While this article appears to focus on Fort Larned, the duties of the post and company commissary sergeants applied to all such individuals throughout the post-Civil War U. S. Army, regardless of their post.

The Looped Cartridge Belt
by Sam Young, Park Volunteer

     Until the mid-1870s, the Army continued to use the regulation leather belt with a leather box, worn on the back of the belt, containing a tin box designed to carry paper cartridges, for the metallic cartridges used by their breech-loading rifles and carbines. Unfortunately these were impractical for the new metallic cartridges that replaced the paper cartridges after the Civil War. Soldiers needed a quicker method of accessing their ammunition.

Looped Cartridge Belt
Looped Cartridge Belt
     Frontiersmen and civilian Army scouts had solved this problem by adding loops to their belts to hold their rifle and revolver ammunition.

     When Captain (later Brigadier General) Anson Mills, 18th U. S. Infantry, turned in his two companies muzzle-loading Springfield rifles in 1866 at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, to be replaced with the breech-loading Spencer rifles, he designed a leather belt with canvas loops for each of the 50 metallic cartridges his soldiers carried.

Colonel Anson Mills
Colonel Anson Mills, 1890s
     These belts were made by the post saddler. The looped cartridge belt was both a comfortable way for soldiers to carry their extra ammunition and allowed easier access to that ammunition. The leather belt was later replaced with woven fabric, and the Mills looped cartridge belt served the military for many years.

Sam Young
Sam Young, trumpeter at Fort Larned, April 25, 2015
Photo courtesy of Tom Lippincott
     You will frequently see me as a trumpeter at Fort Larned, wearing a saddler-made looped cartridge belt. Mine was made for revolver ammunition since my only weapon is my revolver because my duty is to serve as the commander's trumpeter. If I were also armed with a carbine, as are my fellow cavalry soldiers, it would get in the way when I sound bugle calls while mounted as the carbine is attached to a shoulder sling and hangs at my right side, which is where my bugle hangs. You will also see that my holster for my revolver is worn on the left side as it would get in the way of the bugle when I need to play.

Butterfly Garden Coming To Fort Larned
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     Public school students in Larned are concerned about butterfly habitat--and they're doing something about it. The Environmental Class at Larned Middle School and the Art Class at Larned High School are creating a Butterfly Garden at Fort Larned National Historic Site. The project, under the direction of science teacher Steve Sterns, began in the fall semester with the students researching butterfly habitat and planning the design. Several proposals were offered that were equally artistic. Stearns solicited from local businesses and the community for garden-building materials. This semester students continued the work by creating the 10' 28' butterfly garden, starting with an outline in their classroom.

Butterfly Garden
Butterfly Garden
     This could not happen at a better time at Fort Larned. The parking lot and bridge were built two years ago and have lacked natural aesthetics. The new butterfly garden will be enjoyed by every visitor entering the park. But the ultimate goal is to attract Monarch butterflies and provide habitat along with nourishment for the travel-weary species.

     Monarch butterflies depend on Milkweed plants. Some seed was collected last September from Common Milkweed plants on the park premises. Additional plants include varieties of Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and Purple Prairie Clover, to name a few. Education materials have been acquired by way of assistance from Fran Pannebaker, Natural Resource Program Manager and special advisor stationed at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. Stearns was delighted to combine some of our materials with his butterfly curriculum. The first workday for the 15 students able to assist logged a combined 38 hours! Volunteer Youth logging volunteer hours puts a smile on George Elmore's face; he is our Chief Ranger and Volunteer Coordinator.

covered wagon
Framework for "covered wagon" part of Butterfly Garden
     Some of the creative features visitors will see in the butterfly garden include a wagon with flowering vines, caterpillar borders, water feature, stone lady bugs, and other decorations. Visitors will get an idea of the distances between Kansas forts and Santa Fe, New Mexico--a 19th-century sign pointing the direction is in keeping with the Santa Fe Trail theme the fort perpetuates. Future plans include a second butterfly garden and butterfly memorabilia to sell in the Fort Larned Gift Shop.

Black Tie To BlackTop: Arizona Designer
Spending Year On Road For Record
by Mike Gilmore

     (This is an excerpt from an article Mike wrote for the Larned Tiller & Toiler, reprinted with permission from the Tiller & Toiler.)
     Arizona native Danell Lynn took time out to visit the Fort Larned Visitor Center on her way out to tour the buildings in the quadrangle---and stopped short when she got to one dated 1877. Running her fingers over the weatherworn block, she said, "I'm touching history."

     Lynn's stop at Fort Larned in the first days of April was more than a simple visitation---she has a bigger dream in mind. For the past seven months, Lynn has set aside her career in fashion design to chase a world record that involves stops in all 50 states and Canada, visiting as many national parks as she can along the way.

Danell Lynn
Danell Lynn
     Last September, Lynn was accepted by the Guinness Book of World Records to attempt to break the current record for longest journey by motorcycle in a single country. She embarked from Arizona last Sept. 19, heading toward Yosemite National Park in California and has been on the road ever since.

     Lynn and her ride---a 2006 Triumph Bonneville---rolled into Kansas as the 18th state visited, with her odometer nearing 23,000 miles as she headed toward Fort Larned.

     "I've been traveling pretty much most of my life," Lynn noted, adding that she had developed an early appreciation for travel as her father recorded 29 years with the Air Force. "I've been to more than 43 countries and all 50 states as a kid. I finished off my 50th state when I was 19. I grew up doing a lot of camping and visiting national parks during school breaks and vacations, so for me that was a big part of my trip.

     "If I'm going to hit the road in the U. S. and really showcase what the U. S. has to offer, national parks were a big part of that for me."

     Lynn's plans---besides the world record include a personal reconnection to the parks she had visited as a child. While on the road, she is making school visits---at least one in every state---where she hopes to share with young readers her book Philanthropic Wanderlust. The book was written to inspire students to carry a sense of philanthropy and preservation as they experience new travels to places like those in the National Park System. Lynn is very familiar with the National Park Service Centennial and the theme, "Find Your Park." "

     "For somebody that has traveled my entire life and traveled abroad quite often, I am struck by the perception that the United States does not have enough culture," she said. "We don't have the same things that they have in Peru, or the same length of history that they have in Europe.

     "But there is a lot to see in the U. S. and for me, the National Park System is a way to showcase that," Lynn noted. "Some of our most beautiful landscapes and just natural sites are in that system. History like the Fort here, is in that system. I think that to see a lot of the history that the U. S. has, that's the way to do it. For me, that's where my heart is."

Storm Damages Fort's Flagpole Ball
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     On Saturday, May 9, Fort Larned experienced heavy rain for about 20 minutes in the late morning. Surprisingly, the gauge only measured a half-inch of rain. In the early afternoon, as the weather cleared, Chief Ranger George Elmore decided to take a walk around the fort. His gaze went straight up the flagpole where he noticed the flagpole ball was missing. A quick scan of the parade ground revealed it laying in the grass about 12 feet from the pole. The damage to ball also reveals it had hit the mast on its way down. Luckily there were no injuries, although we did have visitors at the fort riding out the storm!

Flagpole Ball
Flagpole Ball
     It should be noted that the original flagpole at Fort Larned was destroyed by lightning. When the National Park Service erected the present pole, based on design of the original, the workers dug a hole at the center of the parade ground and, surprise to all, discovered the base of the original. Thus, today's flagpole is situated on the exact spot of the original.

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

     (Peck's memoirs of life at Camp Alert continue with his account of life at the post during the winter of 1859-1860. His descriptions of hunting continue.)
     We did not have to kill buffalo for our fresh meat, as we had a small herd of beef cattle at Camp Alert, furnished by Uncle Sam, from which to draw our regular rations of beef; but by using buffalo meat we were entitled to the commuted price of beef rations, which money was turned into our company fund.

     But to finish my description of buffalo hunting. As soon as the hunter brings down his game and makes sure that he is past getting up again, he dismounts and cuts the animal's throat, to let the carcass bleed thoroughly, and while the wagon is coming up takes out the entrails and separates the quarters, so far as it can be done with his bowie knife. When the wagon arrives the bones are chopped through with an ax, quarters loaded in, and we move on to the next. As soon as we have procured a sufficient load of meat we return to the post, where the quarters are hung up outdoors, out of the reach of dogs or wolves. These trips seldom take less than two days, and sometimes three or four.

     Another pastime that we have is killing wolves, which are always numerous in the buffalo range. Lieut. Bell has a pack of grayhounds, and some of the teamsters have a whopper-jawed bulldog. If a wolf is sighted near the post the pack is turned loose after him. The hounds can easily overtake him, even when he has a good start, but they won't grapple and hold him-the wolf whips them; but if they can manage to worry and delay the coyote till old bull gets there, he's a "goner," for when the bulldog once gets hold of him he never lets go till he lays the wolf out dead.

     This is good sport, but not profitable. All the profit there is in wolf killing is the hides, and as these are nearly destroyed when killed by the dogs, some of us have adopted the better-paying plan of poisoning them with strychnine.

     On one of my trips to Peacock's Ranch I bought a bottle of the poison for that purpose, and thereafter put in a good deal of my idle time poisoning and skinning wolves.

     I take the remains of the buffalo quarters after the cook has stripped off all the meat he wants, and has thrown them away on account of spoiling, and carrying them off on the prairie, out of range of our dogs, on a mule or horse, then tying a lariat to the shank, drag the bait around over the prairie for a mile or two, after which I get out my bottle of strychnine, and with the point of a pocket-knife blade spread small quantities of the poison over the meat here and there.

     I put out several such baits in different directions, and leave them till morning. The wolves, in prowling around over the prairie at night, will strike the trail of the bait, follow it up, and get a dose.

     When the buffalo are plenty I kill one and use most of the carcass for bait. In the morning I take a horse or mule, ride around to the baits, and skin the dead wolves that i find lying near them, sometimes five or six at a bait. I then carry the skins to camp, spread them out on a smooth piece of ground, stretching them to their full capacity, flesh side up, by driving little wooden pins through the edge of the skin all around. When thoroughly dried I pack them in bales and sell them to Peacock, at Walnut Creek, getting 75 cents each for coyotes and $1.25 for the big gray wolves.

New Membership
     Fort Larned Old Guard welcomes the following new member: Dr. Juti Winchester, PO Box 1339, Hays, KS 67601

     July 4-5, 2015: Independence Day Living-History programs at Fort Larned National Historic Site.

Deadline For Next Issue: August 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.

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

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"