The Official Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter Vol 27- No 4 - 2017
Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

Park Ranger Clayton Hanson portraying Captain Nicholas Nolan, Company A, 10th U. S. Cavalry, at Candlelight Tour.
     Park Visitors Experience Serious Topic For October 14, 2017, Candlelight Tour The Fort's Candlelight Tour theme was a somber one this year. In spite of this, the park staff and over 70 volunteers put on an unforgettable event for the 235 visitors in attendance. "The Burning of Fort Larned's Stables" featured short dramas all around the Fort of various reactions in 1869 to an unfortunate event. From enlisted men to laundresses, officer's wives to civilian contractors, the story was told of Company A, 10th U.S. Cavalry, losing nearly all their equipment and 39 horses in the stable fire. The question of who was responsible for the fire was examined from many points of view.

     There was no question what this year's theme would be for Candlelight Tour as 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Buffalo Soldier history and the arrival of the newly-formed African-American cavalry at Fort Larned. The company was comprised of 98 enlisted men, commanded by white officers, who were eager to prove themselves as dedicated soldiers. Their mission was to protect people and commerce on the Santa Fe Trail. They worked hard to accomplish this but felt the sting of discrimination daily at Fort Larned. They were stationed here for almost two years. After the burning of the stables they were sent on foot to Fort Zarah. The arson was investigated, but according to Army records no conclusion was ever reached as to who started the fire and why it happened.

     The Buffalo Soldiers went on to have impressive careers in the Army. They built telegraph lines, mapped newly-explored territories, a few were awarded the Medal of Honor, and some even became the caretakers for early national parks. Visitors attending the Candlelight Tour surely felt sympathy for the black soldiers. But at the conclusion of the evening they heard what Captain Nicholas Nolan of the 10th Cavalry, portrayed by Ranger Clayton Hanson, had to say about his unit: They were devoted to performing the duties assigned to them, demonstrated unwavering courage, and secured a legacy of honor. It was truly an educational tour.

Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster, April 28, 2018
     The annual Fort Larned Old Guard Mess & Muster, April 28, 2018, will look at Weapons & Hunting, with presentations about Plains Indian weapons, evolution of U.S. military weapons (including a firing demonstration), sporting weapons, history of bison hunting, presentation about women hunters, and evening program by Wendell Grangaard (see article below). Other features include program about bugle calls and songs by Prairie Larkspur. Full details will appear in the next issue of Outpost. Please get the date on your calendar now. This is a program you will not want to miss.

Wendell Grandgaard, "Guns That Talk To Us"
by Rex Abrahams

     Did you know that many Plains Indian warriors clearly marked their firearms as to ownership? Would it surprise you to know that over the years the ability to "read" these markings was held in close secret among the "Wakan" or Holy Man of the tribe? And finally, would it be even more surprising to know this "language" was passed down through a white man?

     Come to Fort Larned's annual Mess & Muster, Saturday, April 28, 2018, and hear the amazing story of Wendell Grangaard. Wendell will share how over time this ancient secret called Togia, was explained to him by Lakota historian Benjamin Black Elk, son of Nicholas Black Elk and Grandson of Black Elk (John G. Neilhardt's Black Elk Speaks) of the Lakota Sioux. Why Wendell? Come and find out.

     Wendell and his friend, Steve Livermore, acquired many firearms over the years and now own a treasure trove of documented Indian guns. Wendell's first book, Documenting the Weapons Used at the Little Bighorn, chronicles the location of individual warriors and their guns at this famous battle.

     He Dog, Rain In the Face, Two Moon, Little Big Man, Dr. Henry Porter, California Joe, and yes, Crazy Horse's 1873 Winchester, all used at the Little Big Horn are documented. If you are a history fanatic and a weapon historian, this is a can't miss opportunity to hear "Guns That Talk To Us." Wendell's story and the history of some of these famous Indian-owned firearms is amazing. He will have several historical weapons with him to show and share this fascinating tale. I have purposely left out one significant firearm from this short list. It is a jaw dropper and could literally rewrite Little Big Horn history. What is it? Be there and find out. Mr. Grangaard plans on bringing it to Fort Larned.

Fort Larned Old Guard's Chair's Column
by Janet Armstead

     Candlelight Tour 2017 is past but the memories will live on for quite a while. Who done it?? That was the question of the night. Kudos to Chief Ranger George Elmore, Fort Larned staff, and all of the volunteers who made the evening so memorable! My favorite quote for the night was an offhanded, low-voiced comment from an injured soldier talking to himself, "I hope someone takes care of that blamed mule!" I'm still chuckling!

     On September 22 Fort Larned hosted the naturalization ceremony for 32 new citizens to our country. The inductees began arriving around nine in the morning. They were met by volunteers to teach them about the history of their surroundings and goodies provided by Fort Larned Old Guard. Following the swearing-in-ceremony they celebrated with cake served by the DAR ladies. The Fort personnel worked very hard to make the day perfect for the new citizens and their families.

     Would you like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Try visiting the Fort on December 9th for the Christmas open house. Come and enjoy hot apple cider and cookies, from 1-4 p.m. amid the peace and quiet of the 1800's atmosphere.

     Mark your calendars right now for the annual Mess & Muster to be held April 28, 2018. The day is going to be an exciting, noisy, smoke-filled day! The theme is weapons and hunting! That's right! There will be guest speakers with insights and examples of weapons used during Fort days. And yes, the canons will sound! Ladies, you will not be left out. Women hunted during those days as well and we will hear about them.

     Prairie Larkspur will be performing after the evening dinner. Chris Day and I are so pleased to have premiered Prairie Larkspur at Fort Larned and we love singing for you. We work hard at researching and finding music to fit the theme--this one will be a challenge--hunting, guns knives, bows & arrows--hmmmm. We have a few ideas. If you know of any old songs that mention weapons or hunting, please let me know.

     I hope to see you at Mess & Muster in April or perhaps sooner at our great historic site. Dont't forget to tell all of your friends about Fort Larned and encourage them to visit.

Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko

     We are very excited to announce near completion of the design phase of the new museum exhibits. The process started in June 2015 and has been progrssing steadily toward a completed exhibit design which we expect to have by Februrary 2018. Once we've finalized the design, the exhibits will be fabricated and installed in the Visitor Center. They will be constructed off site and shipped for installation so we can minimize the disruption to visitors. We anticipate the installation to be in Spring 2019.

     Fort Larned once again hosted a naturalization ceremony this year. The U. S. District Court in Wichita came on September 22 to swear in 32 candidates from 11 different countries. The Honorable J. Thomas Martin, Chief U.S. District Court Judge, presided over the proceedings. Last year's ceremony was in June so the September date was chosen in the hopes of cooler weather, but the cantankerous Kansas climate did not oblige. The warm weather didn't seem to bother the candidates and their friends and families. They were all excited at the prospect of completing a long journey to becoming U. S. citizens. Once again a big thank you goes out to the Old Guard for providing refreshments before the ceremony, along with the Daughters of the American Revolution with cake and cookies afterward. The Larned High School Band performed beautifully with both a pre-ceremony concert and as accompaniment during the ceremony for park maintenance worker Jim Roessler, who sang the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. The Kansas National Guard provided a color guard for the occasion, and additional security for the occasion was provided by the Pawnee County Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

     We had another successful Candlelight Tour in October. In keeping with our yearlong commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers, this year's theme explored the experience of Co. A, 10th Cavalry at Fort Larned through the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the cavalry stables on January 2, 1869. The scenes were designed to recount either the experiences of Co. A at the Fort, or the possible causes or responsible parties for the fire. Something different this year was a vote taken at the end to see who the tour participants thought were responsible for the stable fire and a wrap-up by Captain Nicholas Nolan portrayed by Park Guide Clayton Hanson.

Watching Out For Artifacts
by Clayton Hanson, Park Ranger

     If you've been making recent treks out to the Fort, you have seen the native-prairie restoration in progress. If you've looked closer, you might have seen something glittering or shining among the newly turned earth. If you get right down to the ground, you might have seen the curve of a bottle or the pattern on china. Bringing back buffalo grass and blue grama has brought artifacts from the past to the surface.

     What do you do if you find something which could be an Indian artifact or from the post or ranch?

     First, leave it be. Artifacts are not souvenirs. Federal law protects archeological sites and artifacts at national parks like Fort Larned National Historic Site. Not only is it illegal but it is a bad idea for studying the past. Objects in the prairie restoration area have already been disturbed, so moving them again can break up groups of them even more.

     Second, document the location. Do take pictures of it in its setting. Though Fort Larned is small, this will make finding it again easier. Don't post them on social media. This will help protect their location.

     Third, let a ranger know. Drop into the visitor center and share your photos or take us to it. However small, you might have found something important.

     Leaving artifacts in place is one of the easiest and best ways that you can help Fort Larned preserve America's past.

Fort Larned Roll Call: Craig Schwartz
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     There's a new face at the Fort! Our new staff Maintenance Mechanic is Craig Schwartz who moved to Larned from Vail, Colorado, in August. He arrived just in time to assist with a few important details regarding the new phone system. His most intensive project to date is rehabilitating the plumbing fixtures in the Visitor Center which now has automatic flushing devices thanks to Craig.

     Craig worked in wastewater management for 30 years, both as an operator and a facility manager. A native of Hamilton, Ohio, he moved from Sharonville, Ohio, to Vail because he enjoys snow skiing. Before coming to work for the park service Craig was grooming the slopes in Vail by operating a Pistonbully. In addition to that job he was pulling sleigh loads of skiers up to a mountain restaurant. It was an exciting three years of skiing, nature viewing, and living in the mountains.

     Craig has two adult daughters, both reside in Ohio. He has a distinct memory of taking his older daughter to Rocky Mountain National Park for some serious hiking. They stopped to rest on the trail, but were about 50-yards apart from each other. While sitting on a small boulder Craig was startled to see a herd of elk running up the mountain in the same direction as his daughter's location. He yelled at her to move, and she stood up. The elk saw her in the nick of time and without missing a step or slowing down the herd split-half on one side of her; the other half on the other. She heard the sounds of their hooves and the moving air on her face and arms. It was a close call.

     Hiking is one of Craig's hobbies along with skiing, working on home improvements in his new home, and reading books about our nation's history. He is currently reading a book about Dwight D. Eisenhower, his favorite person in the 20th century. His enjoyment of learning about the Civil War and the Western Frontier steered him toward applying for maintenance work at Fort Larned National Historic Site. Next time you are at the Fort be sure to welcome Craig.

Volunteer Roll Call: Kristin Keith
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     There is no doubt that Volunteer Kristin Keith is immersed in history! She displays antiques and deals in antiques, her favorite subjects to read are history related, and she is relishing the role of an officer's wife at Fort Larned National Historic Site. History definitely matters to her. She joined the volunteer program during the Labor Day event and already feels very much at home.

     Kristin was born in Manhattan, Kansas, and moved to Larned at age two. After graduating from Larned High School in 1990, she attended Southwestern College in Winfield, earning a degree in English Education. She stayed in Winfield for a short time, teaching at Cowley Community College in Arkansas City--just a stone's throw away. She would eventually teach at Larned High School and Barton County Community College.

     When Kristin married her high school sweetheart, Joel, they settled in Larned and raised three children: Joelle, Brady, and Kolby. As the children grew up attending Larned schools the family became heavily involved in the sports scene. Parents know that takes up a lot of time, but Kristin's work was made more flexible when she was able to switch career paths from teaching to antique dealing.

     Joelle gave birth to the Keith's first grandchild in 2016, a boy named Ridge. Kolby, the youngest, recently graduated from Larned High School. Brady has completed his college football stint at his mother's alma mater. With life moving on, Kristin decided not to put off volunteering at the Fort. It was time to follow her passion for history.

     Kristin quickly learned the ropes over Labor Day weekend and thoroughly enjoyed interpreting the Captain's quarters to visitors. She had some powerful lines in one of the Fort's Candlelight scenes which shed light on Captain Nolna's dilemma resulting from the stable fire in 1869. Kristin says, "The living history and education at Fort Larned is excellent." We are so happy to have Kristin as part of the volunteer ranks!

Remembering Johnathan Howard
by Rex Abrahams

     This past April I went to the Tulsa Gun Show. I stopped at a table with a nice collection of old guns. A man and his wife were behind the table. They were very friendly, smiling the whole time I talked with them about their guns. I thought they looked familiar but could not place them. Then they noticed the hat my friend was wearing, a "Fort Larned" cap. The lady proceeded to say they had been to Fort Larned and it was one of the neatest forts in the country! Well, these are my kind of people! We struck up a conversation about Fort Larned and come to find out, it was George and Paula Susat from Waxahachie, Texas. They were at the fort Memorial Day weekend 2002. (My how time flies!) They dressed out and participated in the Living-History weekend.

     The Susats brought a good friend's son with them, Jonathan Howard. He was 16 at the time. Jonathan was extremely quiet and shy. George said he had 3 left feet, sort of bumbled around and didn't say much. I remembered him too! We spent time in the barracks talking about various elements of soldier life, Fort Larned, and the Santa Fe Trail. Although he was quiet, one could tell he had an interest.

     They asked me to say "Hi" to George (Elmore) and then proceeded to tell me when they got home, Jonathan told his grandfather that he had had the best time of his life at the fort over the weekend. It was something he would never forget. Five years later, Jonathan died of an aneurysm. A tragic event and a life ended too soon. His mother still keeps the Fort Larned magnet he brought back on her refrigerator. It means A LOT to her.

Jonathan Howard in front of Fort Larned officers' row, 2002.

     What a chance meeting at the gun show. The family had recently commemorated the 10th anniversary of Jonathan's passing and then, through fate, I showed up at the gun show bringing Fort Larned to the forefront again.

     Jonathan was a "shy" young man who was interested in learning. We never know whose lives we touch as we go about our daily lives. I thought this was a special story. I wanted to share it with our volunteers, and the 1st Colorado, so they too would know the appreciation others have for what we do and for taking the time to make a young man's weekend one of the highlights of his way too short life. As George told me the story of Jonathan, Paula could not keep the tears back. My sympathies on his passing. Way too young! Respectfully, Rex Abrahams

Modern Woodmen Volunteers At The Fort
     The Modern Woodmen fraternal organization took on a maintenance project for the fort in late August. Ten people from the local organization cleaned the post hospital from top to bottom. The fort staff appreciates volunteers taking on projects no matter how many hours are involved. With this size group it took a few short hours to prepare the hospital ward for the Labor Day weekend event.

     The Modern Woodmen of America is a fraternal financial organization that has operated since 1883. Fraternalism is a unique combination of business and giving back to create a continuous cycle of positive impact. Their volunteer work is greatly appreciated.

Post Surgeons: John W. Brewer
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is eighth of the series on the post surgeons at Fort Larned.)

     Assistant Surgeon John Brewer assumed the position of post surgeon at Fort Larned on April 23, 1871, relieving Assistant Surgeon James M. Laing. With the Indian Wars on the Central Plains winding down, there wasn't much for the soldiers of the garrison to do. One major duty occupying the soldiers at this time was transporting prisoners to courts-martial or, occasionally, to prison. One contribution Dr. Brewer made to this operation was suggesting an alteration to the shackles worn by prisoners outside the guardhouse to make them more comfortable.

     With the almost total disappearance of Indians in the area around Fort Larned, the dangers that used to be constantly around every bend for mail carriers and soldiers detailed to wagon escort duties was no longer present. That meant the post surgeon dealt mainly with illnesses and injuries caused by fights, sports (baseball for example), or accidents, rather than wounds inflicted during combat. Not that combat wounds were ever a large part of the post surgeon's work at Fort Larned, but it was even less so by 1871. There was one Indian-related death in January 1872 when Private Franklin Whitson was killed by Indians near Mule Creek, 85 miles south of Fort Larned.

     Brevet Major Brewer was born in Maryland and graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis. He began his Army career during the Civil War when he was appointed as Assistant Surgeon of Volunteers and 1st lieutenant on October 11, 1862. He was then ordered to duty at the General Hospital in Annapolis. On November 22, 1862, he received an appointment as Assistant Surgeon in the regular Army, as well as a promotion to captain. On December 2, he was ordered to report to the Assistant Surgeon General at St. Louis where he was assigned as Acting Medical Purveyor at Louisville, Kentucky. He remained at that post until April 1864 when he was assigned as Acting Medical Purveyor for the Department of Tennessee until November. On March 13, 1865, he received the brevet rank of major for faithful and meritorious service during the war. After leaving the Department of Tennessee he was appointed Medical Director of the Military Division of Mississippi from November to September 30, 1866.

     Major Brewer took leave from September 1865 to January 1866. Since he married Emma Jane Mills of Ithaca, New York, on October 4, 1865, in Ithaca, it might be safe to assume he took time off for the wedding and honeymoon. By January 1866 he was back on duty and would spend the time from then until January 8, 1871, at various posts and on field duty throughout the Midwest. During that time he was at St. Louis Arsenal, Fort Leavenworth, in the field in the Department of Missouri, and at Fort Arbuckle in Indian Territory, with some time spent on sick leave from June 24 to July 1, 1870. He was also on sick leave from January 8, 1871, until he reported for duty at Fort Larned on April 23, 1871. He continued to have health problems.

     Major Brewer left Fort Larned on April 25, 1872, when Acting Assistant Surgeon J. H. Collins arrived to assume the duty of post surgeon. Brewer remained in the Army, going on to serve at a large number of posts throughout the country, ranging from Camp Supply in Indian Territory to Fort McHenry in Maryland. He would also go on sick leave several more times. On March 28, 1880, Major Brewer again requested sick leave, saying that he was "laboring under nervous prostration, attended with irritation of the stomach." He also said that this illness was one for which he had previously been granted sick leave. On June 21, 1880, he certified that he was suffering from "acute gastritis, attended with nervous prostration."

     Dr. Brewer's last duty station was McPherson Barracks, near Atlanta, Georgia. From October 9 to November 5, 1880, he is listed as being treated in the Government Hospital for the Insane. After leaving the hospital he traveled to Washington, DC, where he stayed until his death on November 15, 1880.

     John W. Brewer's military career was typical of most Army officers in the post-Civil War army. He rose to the rank of Captain with a higher brevet rank from the war, and would spend the rest of his career at that rank. Although some of the men who served as post surgeon at Fort Larned would go on to high posts within the Army Medical Department, most, like Major Brewer, would serve competently at a lower rank, doing the work that was needed to keep the Army healthy and in fighting form.

     Major Brewer is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and children, Madison, Isaac, Margaret, Clara and Richard.

Living In The North Officers' Quarters
Part 6: Visitors From The Past
by Sam Young, Fort Larned National Historic Site Volunteer, and Jim Freeman, Fort Larned Ranch Resident

     (Note: When I received material from Jim Freeman that led to "Part 5: Visitors From The Past," published in last issue, I found several interesting stories that focused on his life that involved the Fort Larned Ranch. I believe you will enjoy them. Jim's story continues with my comments in brackets.)

     My folks living and working on the ranch goes way back. My grandpa, John Freeman, lived there with grandma and their 5 boys and 2 girls. The boys were a pain to Mr. Frizell. My dad (Howard) was one of them, and he told me the stories. My aunt Blanche was one of the girls, and she grew up to be married to Clyde Douglas who was the ranch foreman for all the rest of the ranch days. I guess they didn't like the big breeding boar pig, so the boys drove him down to the creek in the mud and drowned him. I guess they were always losing the ranch tools. They terrorized the German couple's cats, who lived in that north end of the house they lived in (the north officers' quarters).

My father, Jesse Howard Freeman, was the ice man who delivered ice blocks to people's homes when I was a baby.

     My dad and mom lived there later, and were hired on because of grandpa's good reputation. The boss said, "if you are anything close as good as John, we'll give you a try." Dad must have been there working much with work horses, as he told stories of the work horses.

     My mom's folks were from Joplin, Missouri, so they moved back and forth. They lived much of the time in what they called camp shack wagons (cook shack wagon to feed everyone and others for a parlor or sleepers) as grandpa had teams of work horses and followed the harvest, and they also built railroad grades out across the prairies. Grandpa's team was called the "the baby gang," as his boys were young teenagers. My dad told me about them building railroad grades out across Kansas. He told me it took great skill to build a perfect grade or base for the tracks, especially on the curves. My dad said that grandpa had a reputation for doing a very good job with his "baby gang," building the grades. He spoke a lot of using a "Frezno" to dig, dump and grade, while building up the base for the railroad tracks. Dad spoke of grandpa having an "eye" for judging how much fill and how level to make the straight away tracks, especially on the curves. It was hard work for horses, as well as for the men, as the frezno would dig into the dirt to fill its big bucket or scoop, and then dump it in the low places, and level and smooth it out (kind of like our modern-day leveling equipment). But today it is done automatic with laser beams and remote tractors. Apparently the railroad engineer bosses would have the teamsters redo their assigned stretch of track base because it wasn't good enough. Dad said they had a reputation of doing it right the first time.

     I loved to hear the stories about the horses' personalities. Some were lazy and some were strict leaders. The bossy horses would kick the daylights out of a lazy horse that would lie down or just step off the grade and pull the whole team a tumbling. The lazy horses were smart because the team had to be retired for the day, while the teamsters made repairs to the grader, or frezno, or whatever equipment they were using.

     When grandpa decided to not renew his contract with the railroad, the railroad offered him a farm of his choosing if he would stay on, but grandpa felt he needed to get his family back to school, etc. Maybe grandma had a say in that. The boys did not get much schooling however. And when they did, they more than once jumped out the school window and went chasing jack rabbits.

     One or two of my older sisters were born on the ranch. I think they lived in one of the south end buildings, where the Mexicans lived later. They were born there. One of them was so small they put her in a bread pan and put her in the wood stove to keep her warm. I was born in St. John, Kansas during the last move from Joplin in 1941. I only lived at Aunt Blanche's place for one school season, when we moved back from Oregon. That is another story.

     In Grandpa's days of work horses, they decided to move to Oregon. Grandpa had a big book about Oregon, which he read to the kids. My father was a young boy at the time. They headed out in a big prairie schooner pulled by his horses. Dad and Aunt Blanche both told me the thrill it was for them. They were so excited as they came to each little settlement along the way. They were turned back, because of a big horse epidemic. Years later, when I was a small boy, my dad moved us to Oregon to fulfill his father's dream. We lived there four years, until my oldest brother came home from the war. He wanted to go home to Larned, so dad moved us back. We had to live with Aunt Blanche for a while.

     There were ten kids in our family. I was one of the younger ones, so I did not live on the ranch during the earlier times. It was my older two brothers that worked on the ranch later. They bucked the hay during those days, and stacked it in big stacks. My older brother, Bill, drove the rig that looked like a backward arranged engine on wheels with long wooden tongs that picked up the hay and hauled it to the guys on the hay stack. Kind of like a forklift machine today,except it was made out of an auto with big wheels and big engine. He said he drove like crazy around the field. He said he only broke the tongs once.

     There were only 3 years between Bill and I, but his life was much different from mine, as he farmed out to several farmers, including the ranch. He even went to eastern Colorado a couple seasons to help a farmer dry farm very large wheat lands. Mom and dad kept me home doing the chores on our place. I loved hearing of his great adventures. He was a good story teller.

     My brother Bill on the left, me on the right. We worked hard to earn enough to buy those new clothes ourselves. Picture was taken right before we moved to Fort Larned, for one season, around 1953.

     The Panther Story was told me by my father. He and one of his brothers, "Boots" as they called him (in fact we referred to him as Uncle Boots to his dying day: my dad's nickname was "Hap," short for "Happy"). They were just young boys when, one day, they decided they were going to Texas to be cowboys. They packed some food and things in a couple of sacks and took off walking down the dirt lane on their big adventure. I don't remember why their folks let them go, as I don't recall them sneaking off. I think grandma may have humored them. Dad said they felt so big! Back in those days folks didn't fuss over their kids like they do today. In fact, my folks let me and my brother go camping down to the railroad trestle by the creek when I was only in the 2nd grade, by ourselves. After I was married we went back to that place, thinking it was just next door. It was about 3 miles down the train tracks.

     Boots & Dad came upon an old farmer sitting on his front porch, and he said, "where you going boys?" They acted so big in telling him. He wished them well and warned them there are panthers out-and-about. They made their first camp down on the far side of a stream in some trees. They had a little fire, ate, and bedded down in the dark. They no sooner fell asleep when a panther let out a big squall. Dad said they both sat straight up! "What was THAT?" "I don't know, but if it does it again I'm out of here!" It squalled again! Dad said he shot out of his bedding, hit that stream with one foot, and tore up that bank and down the dirt road he went. He swore he never got his foot wet. His brother yelled "wait for me!" Dad said "wait, hell!" The old farmer was still on his porch and said "what's a matter boys?" "We changed our minds about being cowboys." Dad said their knapsacks might still be hanging in that tree.

     It's been fun reliving these stories, and I think you have really done a good job with it. There are so many interesting things that dad told us kids about the horse and buggy days. If a horse had a habit of kicking another horse, or kicking the equipment, they arranged a rope or light chain from the kicking leg to the horse's head or front legs in such a way it would hurt when he kicked, and the horse learned quickly that kicking was not a good idea. Just little stories like that were so interesting to me, and so I have those memories. Also, it was the manner in which my dad and uncles talked. It was colorful talk, as they worked with horses, but not offensive to me. I have found that my grandkids sometimes tell me, "grandpa tell us a story about your grandpa," even tho I think I have told them all the stories already.

     Here is one you might find funny, the story of the chocolate pies. Grandma apparently made the greatest chocolate pies ever! The boys were always begging her to make chocolate pies. Grandma got tired of them driving her crazy about making chocolate pies, so one day she made each of them several pies to eat their fill. They didn't hold back and ate those pies until they were about to bust! It didn't take long that grandma ran them out of the cook shack because she knew they were going to have bowel problems. Dad said, "boy, did we ever have the runs!" We found an old fallen tree, and we hung it over, and let it go! "We didn't bother mom any more about making chocolate pies!" That is kind of a gross story but funny to hear my dad tell about it.

     (Note: To the best of my knowledge, this brings to a close my story of living in the North Officers' Quarters. To have been given the unique opportunity to live in the quarters where officers lived who served in the Civil War and then meet Jim Freeman who lived there when he was a young boy has been a blessing. I am also thankful for the opportunity to share my experience with you. I stayed there five days and four nights Labor Day weekend 2017, which brought back many memories but also made me realize I am not as young as I used to be with living there not as easy. But the bed was still comfortable!)

Letter From Glenn Pearsall,
September 1, 2017
Dear friends of Fort Larned,

     I just received my latest issue of the Fort Larned Outpost (thx!) and wanted to congratulate everyone on the nomination of the Fort Larned National Historic Site in the latest 10 Best Readers Choice Travel Awards contest and as contender for Best Kansas Attractions! Nice job and well deserved! You make all of us proud.

     Latest news here is that my novel, Leaves Torn Asunder, published last summer and set on the battlefield and back home in the Andirondack Mountains of New York State, is doing very well. Earlier this month I was able to give an author book talk on the porch at Grant's Cottage in Wilton, NY. I delivered my address within 15 feet of where dying U. S. Grant lived when he wrote his famous Personal Memoirs! Quite a thrill!

     Hope to make it back to the Fort soon. In the meantime, my best to you all and again congratulations!
     Glenn L. Pearsall, Johnsburg, New York
     Life Member and Honorary Colonel, Fort Larned Old Guard

The Enlisted Men Of Company C, Third Infantry
Part IX - George S. Bullis
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 ninth installment in a series on the enlisted men whose information is included in that report. There are no photos available for these enlisted soldiers.)

     The next enlisted man in Co. C is George S. Bullis, who enlisted in the Army on March 28, 1866, at Camp Kearney, Iowa. According the 1870 census, Bullis was born in Canada and was 22 at the time he joined the Army.

     At the beginning of 1868 he was listed on picket duty at Fort Zarah until January 15. Upon returning to Fort Larned he was assigned to company duty until the 23rd when he reported to sick call with an intermittent fever. He was sick in the barracks until the 25th when he was able to go back to company duty.

     He started off February on company duty until he was assigned to extra duty in the Post Quartermaster Department as a mechanic on the 11th. He would continue in that capacity throught the end of May, returning to company duty for the month of June and the first part of July. On July 11 he was again assigned to extra duty with the Post Quartermaster Department, this time as a teamster. In this capacity he would be driving wagons for various jobs around the post and out in the field. This could have been anything from delivering goods around the post, bringing hay or firewood to the post from the surrounding military reservations, or even picking up supplies from other posts.

     Private Bullis would remain on this extra duty assignment through the end of September. In October he returned to company duty, which would be his assignment until the end of the year.

Maintenance Matters
by William Chapman, Facility Manager

     Following up on the last issue, the work on the Barrack-Hospital (HS-2) structure was recently completed. The Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) completed a major part of the work load in August and September. Late September they returned to their shop facilities in Frederick, Maryland, and continued to work on the window sashes. They returned mid-October and installed the new sashes, replaced the few stones, and tuck pointed around windows and doors. This project also treated an issue we have been experiencing over the last few years--many broken glass panes in windows by hail storms. One storm alone broke more than 265 panes of glass. With this recent window work, a unique treatment was incorporated into the sashes. We normally use a single-strength restoration glass. This project used laminated restoration glass. This strengthened glass will reduce the hail damage during future storms.

     Bendheim Restoration Glass TM is the vendor we have used for years for the single-strength restoration glass. At the recommendation of the Regional Historic Architect we have switched for this project to the laminated version. Bendheim still uses traditional glassblowing artisans and methods to reproduce their products.

     Here is a synopsis of how this product is produced. The glass blower works with the molten glass over a pit. They blow through their blow tube, continue rolling the blow tube on a work edge of the pit to create a cylinder of glass about 4 feet long and 2 feet in diameter, size may vary for product needs. When the cylinder gets to the desired dimension, it is set on a work table. The top and bottom ends of the cylinder are quickly cut and removed and the cylinder is split down its length and spread apart, forming a sheet of glass. This is repeated and the two sheets are treated to form one sheet. It is thicker glass with its thin film of material between the two sheets which has increased impact strength much like an automobile windshield glass.

     Park staff continued and completed the updating of some of our plumbing fixtures. All the remaining kick style flushing devices in the visitor center toilets have been removed and replaced. We now sport the modern sensor self-flushing devices.

     We have also continued with shutter replacement on the south officer quarters (HS-7) and repaired the chimney of the visitor center.

     On Sunday November 19, 2017, Carson Norton, maintenance employee and artist will present a bronze cleaning workshop in the visitor center auditorium. You may bring a piece of your collection and he will demonstrate cleaning techniques and guide you through cleaning your bronze piece.

Final Garden Report For 2017
by Jan Elder, Fort Larned Historic Garden Volunteer

     After the challenging weather of summer, the autumn weather has been mostly pleasant and good for gardening. In late September and October, we were picking cucumbers and the tomato plants were vigorously producing. When we cleared the garden in mid-October there were two cucumbers and numerous Yellow Pear tomatoes to be picked. It was a warm weekend and hard for a gardener to pull up the flourishing tomato plants! However, it was possibly my last visit to the garden in 2017, so the garden had to be cleared. Now our garden is ready to "rest" through winter.

     We were glad to have the rain in late summer so our corn grew tall . . . . until it was time to clear the garden. It was a struggle to dig those corn roots that went much deeper than usual!

     In some ways 2017 was a challenging year for the garden. In late August/early September when we have usually been picking many tomatoes, our plants were not actively growing and looked finished for the year. When the garden was cleared in mid-October, the plants were actively growing with many immature tomatoes. Our second crop of beans, which we expected to flourish, vanished from the garden. The landscaping work around the Fort had removed some of the summer vegetation and our garden became a resource for hungry rabbits. Unfortunately, the "bunny fence" which keeps rabbits out of the garden in spring had already been taken down as we were not expecting a summer rabbit invasion!

     Now it is time to think about which vegetables did well and should be grown next summer, how to improve the garden in 2018 based on our experience this year, and to hope the growing season in 2018 will be less challenging. Perhaps we should also hpe the local rabbits will find the new landscaping vegetation to their taste . . . and stay out of our summer garden!

     Early each year we search the seed catalogs for the coming season and make every effort to find varieties that could have been grown by the original gardeners at the Fort. If we are fortunate we read in the catalog description words such as "grown by Thomas Jefferson." Often the task is not that simple.

     Some catalogs only state the seed is "heirloom" with no information as to when the variety was first commercially available. (Heirlooms are open-pollinated seeds that were grown before the 1940s. Plants grown from open-pollinated seeds will reliably reproduce seeds with the same genetic blueprint year after year. In comparison, seeds saved from the newer hybrid plants tend to revert back to one of the parent plants or are sterile; not reliable for seed saving!) Or, the description may indicate the variety was grown in Europe before the 1850s but doesn't indicate when it was available in America. Names have changed over time and while we have access to 19th-century seed catalogs and gardening books, it is hard to determine, for example, if the Yellow Turnip-Rooted or Yellow Castelnaudary beets recommended by Fearing Burr Jr. in 1863 are the same as Golden Beet offered in a 21st-century seed catalog.

     With the Holiday Season in view, it is time for gardens--and their gardener--to take a well-earned rest!

     Gardening at Fort Larned has always been a challenge. Here is note about the post garden written by Assistant Surgeon S. G. Cowdrey in August 1874: "About Aug. 15th the grasshoppers came and destroyed everything left in the gardens eating even the onion tops. All the corn and vegetables in this county and several counties east were destroyed by the swarms of grasshoppers . . ."

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

     (Robert Morris Peck's memoirs, published in the National Tribune in 1901, telling about life at Camp on Pawnee Fork, renamed Camp Alert, continue with his account of life at the post during the winter of 1859-1860. At this point James Beckwourth (which Peck spelled "Beckwith"), African-American trader and trapper who had lived among Plains Indians, arrived at Camp Alert. Beckwourth had been one of Peck's heroes, but he was disappointed in the real man, writing, "I had pictured Jim Beckwith and Kit Carson in my mind as two of the greatest of heroes, and now the ideal picture of one of my great warriors was rudely shattered" He wrote:)

     I found in Beckwith a coarse, illiterate, brutal braggart, with possibly a certain claim to bravery of that kind which comes from an intellect--or want of it--that is incapable of realizing danger, from which some newspaper and magazine writers had manufactured a so-called hero.

     (I am pleased to be able to add that I afterwards found my other hero, Kit Carson, whom I had not met at this time, to differ as much from Beckwith as two men of the same profession could possibly differ from each other.)

     But I can probably give no better idea of Beckwith than to repeat in his own words, as near as I can imitate him, some of those wonderful yarns that he told us during those cold days and nights that he lounged about our quarters at Camp Alert.

     The weather had now become quite cold and stormy and kept us housed up in our quarters most of the time, except when we were compelled to face the cold on duty. During the few days that Beckwith remained with us, the boys kept him pretty well occupied spinning yarns, of which he was always the hero. His stock of lies seemed unlimited, and he was always ready to tell them whenever he could find a few seemingly credulous listeners; and as amusements were scarce with us, he generally got an interested audience whenever he sat down, filled his pipe and turned himself loose for a yarn.

     He had traveled the plains and mountains a great deal in every direction; was familiar with all the Indian tribes; had lived with them; had become so popular with the Crows that they had made him Chief at one time; had hunted, trapped, traded, scouted, and fought Indians all over the Western frontier from British Columbia to the Gulf of Mexico--from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. He was chuck full of reminiscences of rough experience and thrilling adventures; but I never could determine, in listening to his tales, just where to draw the line between the probable and impossible; and if it had not been for the fact that I had heard some of his history from other and more eliable sources, I should have been inclined to discredit all he said. There was not a creek, camp-ground or prominent place to be mentioned in the country but he had a yarn to spin of wild adventures and hairbreadth escapes associated with the locality.

     One day as we were standing out in front of our quarters he pointed out the high bluff that overlooks the ford of Pawnee Fork on the old Santa Fe road, about three miles from our camp, and said:

     "You see that ar' bluff down thar at the ol' crossin'? Well, I come nigh havin' a lively time just t'other side o' that bluff one time."

     "You did? How was it?" we asked. "Well, come into the shanty an' lemme fill my pipe, an' I'll tell ye all about it."

     We adjourned to the quarters, where he fortified himself and began:

     "Some years ago--I disremember the year, but it don't matter--it wuz a right smart while ago, but it was ater I'd been Chief o' the Crows, an' hed left 'em, an' hadn't seed any of 'em sence I left the tribe--I left 'em on good-terms, mind ye, an' they tried ter coax me to stay, an' begged me ter come back to 'em agin when I got tired o' ramblin', an' they all liked me best kind--but I wuz a sayin', I wuz on my way out to the mountains on a trappin' expedition. I'd fitted out at Independence, Mo., and calkerlated ter be out all Winter.

     "I did not have no pardner, only a boy I'd picked up in Missouri. He'd never bin on ther plains afore--green as grass, ye know--but I seed thar wuz some good stuff in the boy, an' I know'd that with kerful trainin' he'd make a man, an' I fotched him out to put him through his fust lesson of frontier life.

     "You've all, likely hearn tell o' thet boy. The fust letter of his name is Kit Carson--the famous Kit."

     "Is that so?" ejaculated Crowly. "Did you give Kit Carson his first training?"

     "I did fur a fact," replied Jim. "An' he's goin' ter make a famous man. But he never would a bin wuth a cent if it han't a bin fur ther trouble I tuck ter larn him.

     "He wuz good grit enough, but he didn't larn sense worth a cuss, but ater a while I got him in purty good trainin'; an' by follerin' my advice he's a makin' a purty good man.

     "But that's nuther here nor thar. I wuz agon' to tell yer 'bout the little fracus I come nigh havin' down yander nigh that bluff. Our outfit wuz a ridin' pony apiece an' two pack ponies, loaded with grub, traps, ammynition, an' so forth. Each on' us wuz armed with a good rifle, six-shooter an' knife. O' course I calkerlated in case of a row with Injuns that I'd have ter do the fightin', kaze the boy didn't know how, yet, ye know.

     "Well, we'd got along purty well, so fur, an' hadn't met no Injuns 'cept friendly ones. When we reached Pawnee Fork it wuz nigh evenin', an' I pulled off'n the road on ter that open flat just tother side o' the timber to camp. We on saddled an' on packed, an' I set the boy ter getting' things ready fur supper, while I went up on top o' ther bluff to see what wuz a goin' on in the neighborhood.

     "When I got up that I tuck a good look all 'round. I could see lost o' buffalo nearly everywhere, 'ceptin' up this a-way, whar we is now. Thar wuz no buffalo here, an' fur a right smart piece round here from whar your quarters now stan's thar wuz none.

     "That wuz a sign that thar wuz Injuns about here, else thar would a bin buffalo here too, same as everywhere else. While I wuz a watchin' up this a-way an' a wonderin' whar the durned Injuns could be hid, suddenly a swarm of the red devils rode out from behind a pint o' timber--just a round a thousand of 'em--an' started to'rds my camp.

     "I s'pose some o' thar scouts had seed me a comin' fore I got to our campin' place, an' had rode off to their camp behind the timber an' reported it, an' now they wuz comin' ater my ha'r.

     "Well, it takes two to make a bargain, yer know. I seed I had a purty big job afore me, but it wuz yet a good while till night, an' ef I had luck, an' they'd come right on an' git down to business, an' not fool away the time, I might have time to do 'em up afore dark.

     "So I hurried down to camp an' tol' the boy what wuz up, and me an' him brung in the hosses an' staked 'em close to camp, an' then piled our packs so's to make a breastwork of 'em, an' then got out plenty of ammynition an' everythin' handy.

     "Then sez I to Kit, sez I; 'Now, boy, you do the loadin' an I'll do the shootin', an' we must work hard, an' make every bullet count, fur it'll take me till plum dark to whip all that crowd.'

     "He said he'd do his level best to keep me a goin'. By this time the swarm o' red devils had crossed the crick an' come up onto the flat perrary in plain sight o' us, an a'tween us an' the bluff, an' I'm dead shore thar wuz a full thousand of 'em--not one Indian less.

     "Well, that ar' boy wuz a little bit oneasy when he seed how many thar wuz, as they come a chargin' down on us, a yellin' like hell wuz let loose; but I jist reminded him that I war thar an' ready for bizness. When they' come in speakin' distance they 'peared to be a leetle afeared that thy'd struck the wrong man, fur thar Chief halted 'em, an' then rode out in front an' called out to me to know who I wuz an' whar I wuz goin.

     "As soon as he spoke I knowed him an' know'd them. He spoke in the Up-sar-o-ka language, an' I know'd it wuz a war party of my old tribe, the Crows.

     "In answer to his questions I stepped out, rifle ready, an' sung out in thar language:

     "'I'm Jim Beckwith, your Chief, you blamed rascals! Git down off'n yer hosses an' beg my pardon fur this insult, or I'll shoot the head off'n you!'

     "Well, sir, they know'd me the minit I spoke, an' tumbled off'n thar hosses an' begged my pardon, an' wuz powerful glad to see me, an' axed a heap o' questions, and wanted me to jine 'em again an' go back to the tribe.

     "I tol' 'em no--to go on thar way--I'd go mine; an' when I got through trappin' I'd ocme up in thar country agin an' see 'em, an' may-be I'd take command agin. That pleased 'em powerful. By this time some of 'em had noticed the boy, an' seein' he wuz a white they wanted ter take his sculp. They showed me nine fresh white men's sculps, an' tol' me they'd lately had a fight with some sogers, an' killed nine on 'em, an' these wuz thar sculps, an' they wanted the boy's sculp to make an even 10.

     "I tol' 'em 'no,' they know'd Ol' Jim too well to want to rile him.

     "An' so they went off an' we saw no more of 'em. But I've offen thought ef they hadn't a turned out to be my Crows I'd a had a devil of a job whippin' so many."

     About these days we were having some very cold weather, the thermometer that hung out at Lieut. Bell's door frequently registering in the neighborhood of zero. I was complaining of the extremely cold weather in Jim's presence one day, when he remarked contemptuously.

     "Boys, you dunno what cold weather is. You'd jist orter go up in the Crow country, nigh the British possessions, to git ginnywine cold weather. That's whar they makes it. Why, one o' yer durned jewholopers (thermometers) is no count up thar, 'kaze it's so cold they freezes an' busts. 'Taint so all the time, but jist when a blizzard comes up.

     "I wuz kotched out in a blizzard one time afoot up thar, an' I couldn't find no shelter from the wind, an' it blowed so hard that I couldn't start a fire, though it wuz in the pine timber; so I picked me out a tall, slim pine tree--a nice little smooth one that wuz clear of knots an' limbs for about 60 foot, an' just about right size 'round for huggin'; an' I kep' myself warm by climbin' that tree an' slidin' down.

     "I jist kep' a climbin' up an' slidin' down that ar' tree all that night.

     "It's the best plaqn to warm a feller up that I ever struck--but it's terrible hard on clo's. I'd nearly wore my ol' bucksin breeches out by mornin'.

     "But that's the country fur game an' furs, ef the dratted Injuns would let a feller alone. In course I wuz all right when I wuz nigh the Crows, but to git good trappin' an' huntin' I had to go off a right smart piece, an' then I wuz liable to fall in with Injuns what wuzn't friendly; an' it's curus how these onfriendly ones allers want's a lock o' yer ha'r to 'member you by.

     "But I jinner'ly could beat 'em at thar own tricks."

     Then, seeming suddenly to remember an interesting adventure that he wanted to relate, he brought out his plug of tobacco and pipe, and began whittling a handful to load the smoker, which was generally an indication that he was in a reminiscent mood.

     "I must tell ye," he began, "bout a little scrimmage I had with some Sioux one time when they come mighty nigh gittin' my ha'r right then an' thar, fur shore. Ef the Lord hadn't a helped me out that time I dunno what I'd a done.

     "The way of it wuz this: I'd bin trappin' in the Black Hills all Winter--me an' a French Canadian named Pete--Pete Frog-eater, er some sich a jawbreakin' name.

     "But, as I wuz sayin', we had a purty good season--tuck lots o' pelts an' the Injuns hadn't found us. Now I'm goin' to give ye the straight facts.

     "Me an' Peter Frogeater had bin trappin' in the Black Hills all Winger, an' 'long to'rds Spring we'd moved camp an' 'stablished ourselves purty snug in a nice leetle pine grove at the foot of a mountain on a nice crick whar thar wuz plenty of beaver an' otter signs, an' thought we'd put in a few weeks thar.

     "We'd also seed some Injun signs in the neighborhood, an' thought we'd best fortify the camp a little, an' keep our eyes skinned fur the reds.

     "Ef you've ever bin much in the mountains you may of noticed a clump of pines here an' thar whar it looks like, in years gone by, the timber has, one time, all bin killed by fire, an' the dead trees is layin' all over the groun' as thick as they kin lay, an' a new set of trees has growed up all among the dead logs as thick as they kin stand.

     "Thar's lots of sich groves in the mountains.

     "Well, it wuz in such a bunch of pines me an' Pete had pitched our camp. "We'd clar'd away a little patch in the middle of the grove whar thar wuz a nice spring of water, built us a little shanty, an' then we'd built a fence of the little dead pine poles all 'round the grove, leavin' a gap on one side. One ob us'd allers stay at camp while the other went out to look a'ter the traps.

     "One day while Pete wuz out among the traps I hearn three or four shots fired, an' they come so close together that I know'd Pete wuzn't doin' all the shootin', so I grabbed my gun an' pistol, an' started out ter see what wuz up.

     "Just then I sees Pete comin' a runnin' across a cl'arin' makin' fur camp follered by 300 Sioux afoot.

     "He made fur the gap in our fence, an' come a staggerin' to the shanty an' drapped dead.

     "I seed we wuz in a desprit fix an' somethin' desprit must be done. The Injuns hadn't seed the gap yet, 'cause it wuz hid behind a clump of bushes, an' they wuz a circlin' round, a little shy o' ghe grove--afeared o' bein' ambushed. I wuz in a tight place, an' fur once didn't 'zactly see how I wuz a goin' ter git outen it."
     (to be continued)

New Memberships
     Fort Larned Old Guard welcomes the following new member:
     Judy Redding, 519 W 4th, Larned KS 67550

     Dec. 9, 2017: Christmas Open House, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
     April 28, 2018: Fort Larned Old Guard annual Mess & Muster

Deadline for next issue: February 1, 2018

Use Smile.Amazon To Benefit Fort Larned Old Guard
     The request for readers to use Smile.Amazon to benefit the Old Guard in the last issue mistakenly gave the incorrect sign-in for the website. The correct sign-in is Smile.Amazon. Fort Larned Old Guard has received donations from several orders, all greatly appreciated. If you order from Amazon, please consider using Smile.Amazon and choose Fort Larned Old Guard, Inc. for your donations. Thank you.

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Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2018, 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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