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

Labor Day Weekend At Fort Larned
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     Everyone is invited to enjoy special events at Fort Larned during Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7, 2015, including a birthday party you won't want to miss. Kids of all ages are invited to celebrate the 99th birthday of the National Park Service on Sunday, September 6, 2015. Birthday party times are 1 p.m., featuring "The Tale of Two Towns," and 2 p.m., featuring "The Boy & the Bullfrog." Both programs will include old-fashioned toys and games and a slice of birthday cake. The birthday celebration will take place in the Visitor Center.

     Along with the Park Service birthday celebration, Fort Larned will once again come to life with living history events. You'll be able to ride an old-fashioned carriage, watch soldiers demonstrate rifle and artillery fire, see the blacksmith turn ordinary steel into everyday objects, and learn about life on Officers' Row. There is no admission fee.

     The carriage rides, living history, special demonstrations, and talks will be available all three days. Here is the schedule of events for all three days.

Saturday, September 5, 2015
     10:00 a.m. Blacksmith Program
     11:00 a.m. Weapons Program
     1:00 p.m. Artillery and Small Arms Demonstration
     2:00 p.m. Ladies on Officers Row
     3:00 p.m. Life in the Barracks
     4:30 p.m. Flag Retreat program

Sunday, September 6, 2015
     9:00 a.m. Blacksmith Program
     10:00 a.m. Artillery and Small Arms Demonstration
     11:00 a.m. Weapons Program
     1:00 p.m. Birthday Party Celebrating 99 Years of the National Park Service, Special Kids Program "The Tale of Two Towns."
     2:00 p.m. Birthday Party Celebrating 99 Years of the National Park Service, Special Kids Program "The Boy & the Bullfrog."
     4:30 p.m. Flag Retreat Program

Monday, September 7, 2015
     10:00 a.m. Blacksmith Program
     11:00 a.m. Weapons Program
     1:00 p.m. Artillery and Small Arms Demonstration
     2:00 p.m. Ladies on Officers Row
     3:00 p.m. Life in the Barracks
     4:30 p.m. Flag Retreat Program

Butterfly Garden Dedication September 19, 2015
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     Work on the butterfly garden at Fort Larned by Larned school students continues under direction of science teacher Steve Stearns. A dedication ribbon cutting will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2015, at 9:00 a. m. Plan to attend the brief event to honor the hard work put in by Mr. Stearns and his students.

Park Volunteer Marla Matkin
Hometown Team Hunting Program, October 3, 2015
      Another Fort Larned Hometown Team Hunting Program is slated for Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 10 a. m. in the Visitor Center. Park Volunteer Marla Matkin will portray Frances M. A. Roe, a captain's wife who hunted and fished in this area during the 1860s.

Candlelight Tour, October 10, 2015
     The annual candlelight tour at Fort Larned will be presented the evening of October 10, 2015. Reservations are required and may be made after 8:30 a.m. on September 28, 2015 by calling 620-285-6911 or 6912. Tours fill fast, so call early to get the time you want.

Storycorps Visits Fort Larned National Historic Site
by Rex Abrahams

     In July I had the privilege of participating in an interesting event at Fort Larned. StoryCorps brought their team of recording experts from New York to record "an oral history" of this unique National Historic Site and some of the people associated with it. For those not acquainted with StoryCorps, they are a nonprofit organization traveling the country to record everyday Americans' stories and history. They then preserve these stories in perpetuity at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

     You might have heard StoryCorps programs on the radio. They are broadcast weekly on NPR's Morning Edition. Two people sit side by side and interview/share stories with each other. The "interview" lasts about 40 minutes. They are not so much interviews as they are an interaction between the two parties. In our allotted time, the coordinator did not say a word. There were six sets of StoryCorps participants at Fort Larned. They were:
     Judy (Frizell) Redding - George Elmore
     Phillip Perez - Raymond Perez (Phillip's father)
     Pete Bethke - Celeste Dixon
     Leo Oliva - Rex Abrahams
     George Elmore - Ellen Jones
     Karl Grover - Carol Mariner (Karl's daughter)
     The two StoryCorps coordinators were Morgan Feigal-Stickles and Luis Gallo.

     You will notice that George was assigned double duty. I am sure that even two 40-minute sessions would only scratch the surface of George's knowledge of the fort and its history. His first interview was with Judy (Frizell) Redding. Life with the Frizell family at the fort had to be the main topic. I am not sure what the others talked about. Perhaps they can share their conversations in subsequent OUTPOST newsletters.

     I was fortunate to record with Dr. Leo Oliva. As you well know, Dr. Oliva is one of the premier historians on Kansas and Western Plains history. In fact, he has authored numerous books on Kansas forts and has a memory like a steel trap. Conversations with him are quite easy. I on the other hand have a memory like a mousetrap, but I know what I enjoy and that is Plains Indian War history and Fort Larned.

     Dr. Oliva and I shared a brief history about ourselves and then talked primarily about the Cheyenne-Sioux Indian Village destroyed by General Winfield Scott Hancock and Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in 1867. The site is approximately 30 miles northwest of the fort. Hancock and Custer led 1400 troops from Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley eventually departing Fort Larned as a show of force to the plains Indians. When the Indians fled, fearing another Sand Creek, the army took over the village. Subsequently 272 tipis, 816 buffalo robes, 196 kettles, 232 axes, and all sorts of day-to-day household items were burned in piles. Many of these artifacts lay undiscovered under several inches of dirt. This site was "rediscovered" in the 1970s by George Elmore and Earl Monger. It was still in undisturbed archeological condition. The Fort Larned Old Guard purchased this site in 1998 and in 2010 we finally got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That was quite an accomplishment and something very exciting to talk about.

     What a great opportunity we had to share an important part of Kansas history. Will any of the conversation be heard on NPR? Who knows? The odds are slim but that did not diminish the fun I had working with Leo and recording something of this magnitude for posterity.

Fort Larned Old Guard Chair's Column
by Ken Weidner

     As I sit here enjoying the wonderful summer we're having, I've been thinking about Fort Larned Old Guard and some of the things the group has accomplished in the past years.

     There have been many projects Fort Larned Old Guard has participated in and many acquisitions that Fort Larned Old Guard has made for the benefit of Fort Larned. In just the last few years a few of these include the purchase of Lt. Frank D. Baldwin's presentation saber, the letters and tintype photograph of John and Mary Clair, the second horse mannequin for the traveling displays, and the Santa Fe Trail freighting artifacts from David Clapsaddle. But to me one of the most valuable things Fort Larned Old Guard has done as a group is the purchase and preservation of the Pawnee Creek Cheyenne-Lakota village site that General Winfield Scott Hancock captured and burned in 1867.

     This historic site, located approximately thirty miles Northwest of the fort, had been forgotten for over one hundred years until through the research of Earl Monger and George Elmore the village site was found in 1975. When landowners, Frank and Leota Klingberg, agreed to sell the land in 1998; Fort Larned Old Guard stepped up and began raising funds for the purchase. A large sum of money was collected and used as down payment but still fell short of the total purchase price. Fortunately, the Archaeological Conservancy stepped in to help with the project and with their additional funds we were able to meet the entire purchase price as joint owners. Plans are to preserve this important historic site and transfer it to the National Park Service to be administered by Fort Larned National Historic Site. That requires an act of Congress, which may take years. Meanwhile the site is preserved and protected. The Old Guard opens this site for special programs; present plans include a program there on April 30, 2016.

     In 2004 the Archaeological Conservancy expressed a desire to sell its share of the village site to Fort Larned Old Guard. That's when Leo and Bonita Oliva graciously loaned personal funds to buy the Archaeological Conservancy's share. This no-interest loan to Fort Larned Old Guard was done purely out of their appreciation and love of Kansas history. At the April 2015 Fort Larned Old Guard Board meeting a motion was made and unanimously approved to reimburse the Oliva's, and Fort Larned Old Guard is now the sole owner of the village site.

     I know Leo and Bonita don't desire any public praise or accolades, but I feel the Fort Larned Old Guard membership should know about their unselfish contribution. I think it is very appropriate for our members to give a big THANK YOU to them for their support, not only for this most worthwhile project but their longtime support of Fort Larned.

     Weather permitting, I'll be able to see all of you at Fort Larned's Labor Day and Candlelight Tour events.

     Take care and include a visit to Fort Larned in your plans.

Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko

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

     This month marks the 99th year of the National Park Service. In 1916 Congress established the National Park Service to conserve the parks, "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." The world has vastly changed since the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916 but the promise remains - a promise from the past to the future, a pact between generations.

     We must find ways to be relevant to the next generations. Let's begin by inviting them - and everyone - to celebrate the preservation and enjoyment of our national parks. The "Find Your Park" initiative has taken social media by storm, but we will continue to offer visitors the chance to explore history and nature while creating meaningful memories at the parks. Looking forward, there will be many opportunities for visitors to explore at Fort Larned National Historic Site - by attending a fall program on early hunting, taking a winter hike in January, and by planning to bring your family to the Picnic in the Park event on July 4, 2016. These are just a few.

     Fort Larned staff and friends recently embarked on an exciting Centennial project this past month. A StoryCorps crew spent a full day recording stories of the Fort Larned eras from past and present employees, and from people who grew up at the fort during the ranching period. StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. The recordings will be preserved in the archives of the Library of Congress. On behalf of the Fort Larned staff and all who were involved in this project, I want to share that we are very grateful to have been chosen for this opportunity.

     Fort Larned National Historic Site is planning activities, programs and events for the remainder of the year and into the next. We are delighted to share the story of Fort Larned and to provide an opportunity for visitors to learn more about their heritage. Nick Borchart, a youth volunteer at Fort Larned, recently said, "The history sites are interesting because they share the stories of the most prominent events in our nation's history." An army outpost call Fort Larned on the Santa Fe Trail made a mark in history and it is very interesting.

     We look forward to a promising celebration of our Centennial year with visitors from all walks of life. We thank our amazing volunteers and the dedicated Fort Larned Old Guard for their hard work for helping us carry out the mission of the Fort Larned National Historic Site.

Fort Larned Roll Call: Cara Seats
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     Cara Seats from Eudora, Kansas, was the fort's intern this summer. Her first day on the job she gave a guided tour to a very nice group of visitors. We knew instantly she could do it with very little notice. Cara is a quick study and extremely interested in Kansas history. She will graduate from Emporia State University with a Master's degree in History in 2016. Her thesis is on German Immigrants and Involvement in the Settlement of Kansas. Cara's undergraduate work earned her degrees in History and Religious Studies from KU. For a while Cara swayed between a career in history and animal care. She worked for the Lawrence Humane Society for four years, being promoted to manager along the way.

Cara Seats

     While working at Fort Larned, Cara had two very special visitors one day. Debbie, her mom, and stepdad Steve. They were in good hands with their tour guide. The rest of Cara's family includes her dad, a brother, a nephew, and a huge extended family that she says are the best.

     Cara left us early in August to prepare for her university job as teaching assistant and to get psyched up for her rigorous course load. Her favorite part of this summer job was meeting the visitors and participating in living history. She also enjoyed helping with the museum inventory coordinated by Ranger Mike Seymour. Learning the history of the many artifacts that furnish our buildings was like opening a box and solving a mystery for Cara.

     Cara became an integral part of promoting the Fort's Junior Ranger program this summer. She felt that every child should have the opportunity to earn a badge. She recognized how important the Junior Ranger program is to the fort and other parks because these kids are part of the next generation to care for our parks.

     When Cara is not studying or working she enjoys many hobbies. She is an avid reader, hikes and jogs, loves cooking, and spoils her cats - Matches & Sylvester. Cara also likes gardening, a practical interest she readily applied to the Fort's historic garden this summer. The garden was beautiful this summer, thanks to Cara for pitching in!

Old Guard Roll Call: Martha Scranton
(Martha Scranton is a new member of the Fort Larned Old Guard board this year. She provides this brief biography.)
     My husband, Ron Scranton, and I moved to Larned, ,Kansas in 1972. We have one daughter, Kimberly. She lives in Leawood, Kansas with her husband Jay and our three granddaughters. For 39 years Ron and I owned and operated the Larned Greenhouse, Flower Shop and Nursery.

     I have always been a history buff. My degree from KU was in Secondary Education with history and English minors. I taught American History, Kansas History, and English. When Ron was in Viet Nam, I finished my Master's degree at KSU while teaching English and supervising Student Teachers.

     When we first moved to Larned, Kansas I volunteered at the Fort demonstrating Corn Husk Doll making. I have been a volunteer at the Santa Fe Trail Center for many years. Currently, I do the buying for the Trail Shop there.

     For the last couple of years, I have worked for the Santa Fe Trail Center helping to catalogue the books donated by the family of Harry Myers. It is an extensive collection of books on the Santa Fe Trail and related topics with many rare editions. If you are doing research on the Trail, please remember to utilize this resource.

     I am looking forward to being a member of the Fort Larned Old Guard Board.

Volunteer Roll Call: Ken Gilpin
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     The fort staff is pleased to announce the Volunteer of the Year Award 2014 recipient is Ken Gilpin. Fort Larned is like a "second home" to Ken, who lives in Boulder, CO. Not surprising, since he has volunteered with the First Colorado Infantry and as an army hospital steward for 38 years! Ken explains to visitors that a hospital steward is a noncommissioned officer who is commissioned to run the post hospital. He enjoys meeting visitors and interpreting the history of the fort.

Ken Gilpin

     During the forts special events you can find Ken in the pharmacy sitting near shelves containing a collection of old medicine bottles. Some of the bottles Ken acquired from a pharmacy that was going out of business. Luckily for the fort, as a pharmaceutical technician and a history enthusiast, he knew which bottles would accurately portray what an army hospital of the 1860s would have.

     Some of his favorite memories of his time spent at Fort Larned are stringing popcorn with Maurice at the Christmas Past event, attending John Mackey's wedding, and helping to build the bunks in the barracks during a Memorial Day Weekend.

     A fond memory of Ken's outside of the volunteer ranks was seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon while stationed in Seoul, Korea. In 1969 he was stationed there in the Air Force. Ken left full-time duty as a reservist in 2004. He was a Lieutenant Colonel.

     Today, volunteers and friends of the fort can see Ken's name engraved along with past recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Congratulations Ken!

Post Commanders: William J. Lyster
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

(This is twenty-third in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)
     In June 1874 companies A and B of the 19th Infantry transferred to Fort Larned from duty along the Gulf Coast. Captain William J. Lyster, 19th Infantry, took command of the post from Captain Simon Snyder, who went with his company to Fort Leavenworth. At the time Lyster assumed command in early July the garrison had a total of 119 men.

     By July, however, all but 49 of those soldiers had been sent to protect construction crews for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Although the rail line was past Fort Dodge at this point, Fort Larned was still responsible for sending soldiers to guard the workers. Lieutenant Richard Vance of the 19th Infantry was in charge and ordered them all to go fully armed, carrying 100 rounds of ammunition, "just in case." Their departure left Captain Lyster with 50 men and the post surgeon to carry out all the garrison duties. These duties also included the work normally done by civilian teamsters, who were no longer at the fort.

     Although Indians were relatively scarce in the area around Fort Larned, the Army still had to deal with them in other areas surrounding the fort. In August Indian expeditions were sent out from Forts Dodge, Sill, and Texas. The summer of 1874 also saw locusts destroy crops in Pawnee County. According to the editor of the Larned paper at the time, the locusts, "swept through green fields like a flame, the lush green sticks of corn and gardens literally falling before the hungry invaders, leaving bare fields."

     William Lyster was from Detroit, Michigan. He joined the Army during the Civil War, starting his service with Company G, 2nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry, as a 2nd Lieutenant on May 10, 1861. He was then commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in the 19th Infantry regiment on May 14, 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh on April 7, 1862, and received a promotion to brevet captain for "gallant and meritorious service in the Battle of Shiloh, Tenn." The following year he was promoted to brevet major for "gallant and meritorious service in the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga." He was promoted to the rank of Captain on August 9, 1864, and then to brevet lieutenant colonel for "gallant and meritorious service in the Battle of Mission Ridge, Tenn. and during the Atlanta campaign."

     By the time Captain Lyster arrived at Fort Larned things had changed drastically since the height of its active days from 1866 to 1870. Much of the daily activity at the fort had less to do with military operations and more to do with ways to keep the soldiers occupied and out of trouble. One of the main avenues for soldiers to get in trouble was alcohol, which brought the attention of temperance societies to the fort. One local group called the Rising Star Temperance Lodge set up a reading room/library at the fort, offering daily and weekly newspapers to read as well as books. Another group called the Good Templars was dedicated to fighting "the fearful influence of the saloons and gambling dens." In both instances the groups tried to offer alternative activities for the soldiers besides trips to the sutler's store to drink.

     The railroads were definitely making travel between posts much easier. In September 1874 Corporal Dennis Riley, Co. A, 19th Infantry, went to Fort Leavenworth for duty with the Adjutant General's Office. His trip there took two days by train and he "commuted" two days' rations for 75 cents a day to buy his meals. The same trip before the railroads would have taken him six weeks traveling with a force strong enough to provide protection from possible Indian attacks.

Commanding Officer's Quarters, Inset of Captain Lyster, 1870s

     By October Captain Lyster had only 35 men under his command, which was definitely not enough to keep up with all the daily garrison duties. Not only was his garrison strength down, but apparently many of the buildings at the fort were deteriorating. He reported to the Quartermaster General that Fort Larned needed almost everything to fix the buildings, including new shingles and flooring, at a cost of $1,064.75. The money for the repairs would finally be authorized by the Secretary of War in 1875, but the fort was only given $174.60. There was no money allocated to replace the adobe quarters for the laundresses and ordnance sergeant, although the hospital steward and matron got a brand new wood building for their quarters, complete with a covered porch on the west side.

     The winter of 1874-1875 was extremely cold, prompting Captain Lyster to authorize extra fuel. The cold weather also gave him a chance to re-floor the hospital and barracks buildings. All the work was done by soldiers receiving extra-duty pay, which was much cheaper than paying civilian workers. The soldiers and officers were also kept busy all winter and spring delivering relief supplies coming into the area to help farmers devastated by drought and grasshoppers the previous summer.

     Although life could be hard for the settlers on the plains, apparently Fort Larned provided a place for many of the local citizens to gather and enjoy themselves. Charlie Welcher, a settler from the 1870s, remembered that their "entertainments in those days were few. Some of the entertainments were the barn dances held in one of the big barns at Fort Larned. These dances were attended by a great many from Larned who came out in loaded buggies and wagons. It was the buggies and wagons that were loaded, not the occupants. Except a few."

     In 1876 Captain Lyster decided to do away with a full-time post blacksmith. In the future the Quartermaster Department would hire blacksmiths for jobs as they were needed. During June, the post garrison was down to 31 enlisted men, which was further reduced when Co. B of the 19th Infantry was ordered to leave Fort Larned. With only 10 enlisted men and the surgeon, Captain Lyster had no choice but to hire civilian teamsters to try to keep the post running with his limited manpower.

William J. Lyster, 1890s

     The reduced garrison, and lack of any meaningful purpose to accomplish, left many of the men at Fort Larned susceptible to boredom, which many of them relieved with alcohol. Although drinking often landed the men in the hospital due to over-indulgence or accidents caused by drunkenness, the officers often tolerated it simply because it gave the soldiers something to do to ease their loneliness and boredom. Although garrison duty could also be dull for the officers, they had more freedom than the enlisted men to find entertainment. They could host dinner parties and dances in their quarters, or go into the town of Larned to enjoy the company of civilians there.

     The problems of the enlisted men were compounded by the fact that they and the officers did not get paid for several months in 1877 because Congress could not agree on a budget for the Army. Soldiers in garrisons at least had a place to live and food to eat, and officers were able to get a credit advance from a New York banking group, but anybody on detached service was dependent on their pay to get the necessities they needed.

     On Memorial Day, 1877, Captain Lyster led the entire garrison of 33 enlisted men, in formation, out to the post cemetery to mark the graves of their fallen comrades. By June the garrison was reported to be 32 enlisted men, commanded by Captain Jacob Smith, who came to Fort Larned with Co. D, 19th Infantry, from Fort Lyon, Colorado. Captain Lyster had been transferred to Camp Supply, Indian Territory, along with a company of soldiers.

     While at Camp Supply, Captain Lyster lost a considerable amount of personal property to fire. He was reimbursed for the loss, being unable to save his own property because he was rescuing public property during that same fire. He would go on to serve at many frontier Army posts, including Fort Randall in South Dakota and Fort Sidney in Nebraska. He was promoted to major of the 6th Infantry on October 13, 1886, then to lieutenant colonel of the 21st Infantry on August 1, 1891. On May 1, 1896, he was promoted to colonel of the 9th Infantry, after which he retired on June 27, 1897. He died on September 3, 1897.

     Fort Larned's life as an Army post was definitely coming to a close during Captain Lyster's tenure. The drastically reduced garrison size, the fact that they no longer kept civilian workers on full time, and the lack of real work for the men to do, were all indications that the post would soon be closed. It still had two more years of life left in it, but the end was definitely on the horizon.

The Enlisted Men Of Company C, Third Infantry
Part 1 - Henry Ahiborn
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

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

     Henry Ahiborn enlisted in the Army on February 27, 1867, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He seems to have had a fairly ordinary year at Fort Larned in 1868. Company records show that nothing eventful happened to him outside of company duty for most months, with two stints of extra duty in the Post Quartermaster Department, and one for about half a month in the Post Hospital as an attendant.

     He reported to sick call three times during the year. On March 14th he had dysentery, which kept him off duty until the 16th. On June 1st he came to sick call with an incised wound and did not return to company duty until the 7th. Finally, on August 25th he reported to sick call with diarrhea, returning to company duty on the 27th. All three of Ahiborn's sick call visits were for things that happened on a regular basis to frontier army soldiers. Because of poor diet and sanitation, diarrhea and dysentery were common ailments for most soldiers, while getting an injury of one type or another was fairly common considering all the manual labor they were required to do.

     Although he kept himself out of trouble in 1868, Ahiborn got himself into big trouble the following year. On the night of March 21, 1869, he quit his sentry post before being relieved from duty. The Officer of the Day, Captain James Snyder, discovered his absence between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. A court-martial sentenced Ahiborn to hard labor for three months with a 12-pound ball attached to his leg on a 5-foot chain. The ball and chain were usually riveted to the prisoner's leg for the entire time he was sentenced to wear it. He also forfeited his pay during the time he spent in the guardhouse.

Maintenance News
by William Chapman, Facility Manager

     The roof on the military shop's building has been completed. The National Park Service contracted with ICD Builders Inc., of Fargo, ND. They arrived on site in June and completed the roof surface removal and installation of new fire-treated western red cedar shingles. They performed the work efficiently and timely, allowing the fort staff to keep the structure open to the public during the performance of the work. This allowed visitors to enjoy the resources while the contractors worked to preserve it for future generations.

     We also worked with Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility and their supervised red-hat work force again to complete roof surface replacement and painting of two picnic shelters. These are the shelters they assisted with last summer in repairing columns and installing new horizontal supports. They are the larger group shelters in the picnic area. This work force removed deteriorated wood shingles, repaired roof decking, and installed new asphalt shingles. They painted the wood repairs of both years' projects. With the work of this summer and last we have replaced all the roofs on the six picnic shelters and the wayside exhibit structure, repaired structural elements on two of the shelters, and painted all six structures.

Butterfly Garden and Water Tank

     Still to come is the replacement of the well pump serving the fort area, continuing repairs to officers' row fence and subsequent painting of fence, and completing the water tank in the butterfly garden. Late Fall of this year we will be installing shutters on north and south officers' quarters.

Commissary Stores
by Sam Young, Park Volunteer

     In the previous issue of Fort Larned Old Guard OUTPOST, the Commissary Sergeant was discussed in great detail. He had three primary duties: control of the commissary storehouses and supervise its clerks; receipt, storage, and issuance of food to military companies, both those in residence (for immediate meals) and those in transit (immediate meals and resupply for future meals); and preparation and maintenance of commissary documents/returns.

     Because commissary records, in most cases, simply do not exist, we must consult August V. Kutz's book, The 1865 Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers, to learn about commissary stores. "The annexed miscellaneous items and tables are taken from the Regulations, and introduced to facilitate the duties and to assist in making issues and computations.

Miscellaneous Items

  1. When practicable, each kind of subsistence stores shall be placed by itself--the packages stored so as to allow circulation among them, and to permit the quantity and age (date of purchase) of each lot being easily ascertained. At short intervals of time the stores and packages shall be carefully examined, and, when necessary, separated for inspection, early issue, repacking, rebrining, &c., as circumstances may require.

  2. When there is no flooring under stores, they must be placed on skids, or be otherwise properly dunnaged.


  3. Salt meats in barrels should be piled in tiers only when limited store-room makes such storage necessary, and then never more than three tiers high, each tier resting on skids placed near the ends of the barrels.

  4. Salt meats in pickle are not safe from injury unless there is undissolved salt in the barrel. The barrels should be rolled over monthly, and never be exposed to a hot sun.

  5. Most subsistence stores being readily perishable, unremitting care is indispensable to their preservation.

  6. The second chime-hoop on all barrels of pickled meats should be of iron. Two iron hoops on a barrel (one on each end) will generally be sufficient.

  7. Vinegar-kegs should be panted, and the bungs capped with tin.

  8. Liquid measures and scoops should be made of treble X tin.

  9. The size, form, strength, &c. of packages designed to hold subsistence stores will be determined by the purchasing commissary, who will be governed in these particulars by the kind of transportation offered, by the size of the wagons used, by the convenience of handling the packages, &c.

  10. When hard bread is put in boxes (the best packages for field transportation), they should be made of fully-seasoned wood, of a kind to impact no taste or odor to the bread, and as far as practicable of single pieces. When two pieces are used in making the same surface, they should be tongued and grooved together.

  11. A box 26 x 17 x 11 inches, exterior measure, is an average box for pilot bread, under the usual circumstances of land transportation. The ends of a box of this size should be made of inch, and the remainder of five-eighths, stuff, the package well strapped with green hickory or other suitable wood.

  12. Hard bread, after thorough cooling and drying, should be pressed closely in its packages, each package containing a uniform weight of bread, for the convenience of calculation. It can be re-dried in boxes without removal there from, by being exposed for about forty hours to a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

  13. The army wagon being 22 x 42 x 114 inches, inside measurement, boxes for bacon made 20 x 20 x 28 inches outside measurement (which will contain 225 pounds of bacon) are convenient for field transportation. The boxes should be strapped, and the material be one and one-fourth inch thick, tongued and grooved."

     The tables addressing subsistence in Kutz's book include: rates in pounds per bushel at which certain cereals, esculent roots, &c., shall be estimated; schedule of tares prescribed by the Treasury Department for the government of the collectors of customs and other interested (includes cheese, coffee, cocoa, pepper, rice, salt, sugar, and teas); weight and bulk of 1000 rations (includes pork, bacon, salt beef, flour, hard bread, beans and peas, coffee, tea, candles, soap, fresh and desiccated potatoes, desiccated vegetables, and whiskey); and the quantity and bulk of any number of rations, from 1 to 100,000.

Soldiers' Rations
     From the article "The Quartermaster's Department, 1861-1864," author unknown, found in the September-October 1928 issue of The Quartermaster Review, "the regulations provide that each man shall be entitled to a certain fixed amount daily, which amount is designated 'a ration.' Rations consist of beef, salt and fresh, pork, bacon, flour, pilot or hard bread, cornmeal, coffee, sugar, beans, peas, rice, hominy, molasses, vinegar, soap, candles, and desiccated vegetables. The latter are usually potatoes, cut, scalded, dried, and put up in barrels. When thus prepared they have very much the appearance of coarse cornmeal, and are used as a preventive of scurvy. Each day's ration--subsistence for one man--in bulk averages 3 pounds in weight. A ration of whiskey--1 gill daily--is allowed in cases of excessive fatigue and exposure, but is issued only on special order." (Note of explanation: 1 gill in the U. S. is 1/2 cup.)

     Be sure to visit the Commissary Storehouse at Fort Larned the next time you are at the Fort.

National Park Service Website Getting A Redesign For Centennial
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     Did you know that just slightly over 50% of the people who visit National Park Service websites use mobile devices to access them? Thirty-eight percent use a smart phone while 13% use tablets. Because more people are using mobile devices to access the web the National Park Service recently converted all their websites to a mobile responsive design. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it simply means that the website's design changes according to the type of device you're using to access it. If you're using a mobile phone the view you get from a mobile website is a condensed version of the full website, making it easier for you to see it.

     In preparation for its 100th birthday next year, the National Park Service is making lots of changes to their websites, both on the national and park level. The switch to responsive design is one of several changes in the works. If you've visited any Park Service website lately, including Fort Larned's, you may have noticed that the navigation bar has been simplified. There are now three main categories to start off with: "Plan Your Visit," "Learn About the Park," and "Get Involved."

     The Park Service's goal in the website redesign is to make all of their websites more user friendly with a more simplified, less complicated look.

     By January 1, 2016, there will be a brand new look for all Park Service websites to start off the Park Service's year-long Centennial Celebration. Stay tuned for more news from Fort Larned about the National Park Service Centennial celebrations.

     You may visit the Fort Larned National Historic Site website any time at {}.

Deadline For Next Issue: November 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 {}.

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