Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter
Volume 32, Number 1 ~*~ Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West ~*~ Summer 2021

Notes From The Chair
     "Times, they are a-changin!" to quote the old Bob Dylan song. And so it is with Fort Larned Old Guard. As we all adjust to our new, socially distanced life, changes inevitably occur. As I strive to continue in the old ways, new ways cause me to work and rework in order to get the "normal" things done! All things will settle in with time and patience. We welcome Bob Wilhelm as new editor of this issue of OutPost. This "changing of the editorial guard" occurred fairly seamlessly due to outgoing editor Leo Oliva, and Bob working together. My thanks to both gentlemen for their continued work for the fort and the Old Guard.

     The National Park Service is also constantly changing. Forms change, regulations change and requirements change. Doesn't it sometimes seem like the government must have someone in charge of just making simple paperwork difficult?! Thanks to the efforts of outgoing treasurer, Martha Scranton and current treasurer Kathy Foster, several pieces of needed paperwork were completed recently for the fort. Thank you, ladies!

     As the new board goes into effect, committees need to be reformed. Your board members have stepped up and volunteered for the various committees. There is still one vacancy to fill on the Nominating Committee for next year's board. It does not have to be a board member - any member of Fort Larned Old Guard can serve on this committee- -any volunteers??? Please let me know if you are interested in serving.

     Our hearts are heavy with several losses in our Fort Larned Old Guard family. Board member, Kristin Keith, lost her father a few months ago, and long time fort volunteer Mike Seymour, recently lost his son. Our thoughts and prayers continue for these wonderful folks who have lost much.

     One thing that has not changed is the big 200th Celebration of the Santa Fe Trail at the Santa Fe Trail Symposium at Bent's Fort near LaJunta, Colorado, September 23rd-26th. Please check out the Santa Fe Trail website at: 200th Celebration site at: {santafetrail200org} for complete details.
     Janet Armstead, Fort Larned Old Guard Chair

Fort Larned Old Guard Awards Presented May 29
     The Fort Larned Old Guard presents annual awards to recognize individuals who contribute time and talent to tell the story of Fort Larned and the Santa Fe Trail and carry out the mission of the Old Guard "to assist Fort Larned National Historic Site in restoring, preserving, developing, and interpreting the site's cultural, historical, and natural resources for the benefit of the public." The public presentation of annual Fort Larned Old Guard awards for 2020 and 2021 was delayed by COVID restrictions until the gathering of Fort Larned National Historic Site on May 29 for the grand opening of the new museum exhibits in the visitor center. Three awards were presented. One award was presented October 10 last year (outdoors at the fort with a small group present) when Ellen Jones received the David K. Clapsaddle Memorial Educator Award for 2020.

     Kristin Keith received the William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award for 2020 in recognition of outstanding volunteer service to Fort Larned National Historic Site and Fort Larned Old Guard, including assisting with school tours and participation in living-history events.

     Martha Scranton, who reached term limits after serving six years on the board as treasurer, received the William Y. Chalfant Memorial Award for 2021 in recognition of outstanding volunteer service, including property management, public relations, and other duties above and beyond the normal duties of treasurer

     Martha Scranton with her award, surrounded by Fort Larned Old Guard board members and awards committee, l to r, Tim Zwink, Janet Armstead, Leo Oliva, Kristin Keith, and Ken

     George Elmore received the David K. Clapsaddle Memorial Educator Award for 2021, present by Alice Clapsaddle for excellent education programs presented over 50 years to youth and adults about Fort Larned National Historic Site and the Santa Fe Trail. (Photo at left with George being presented the award by Alice Clapsaddle.)

Superintendent"s Report
     I would like to start by thanking the Old Guard for their support of the official opening for our new exhibits. The visitor center has been opened for several months now and I'm happy to report that visitation has been at or slightly above average for this time of year. And we've received many compliments on the exhibits!

     We've had two of our evening campfire programs so far this summer and both have been a success. Attendance has been a little low, which is to be expected for new programs but those attending appreciated the format. The last one for this summer will be on Friday, August 13 about nocturnal animals.

     Also, on August 29th, we'll be hosting an episode of the show "A Taste of History", which features historically accurate recipes. The show's host, Chef Staib will be on camera with some of our interpreters dressed in period clothes preparing historic dishes. Chef Staib works alongside the person preparing the dish, assisting them, and engaging the audience by asking questions specific to the recipe. They'll also be interviewing one of the rangers about the history and significance of the fort in relation to the Santa Fe Trail.

     Fort Larned is working to make our website and social media outlets more accessible to those with visual and hearing impairments. One important aspect of website accessibility is reducing or eliminating nonaccessible PDF's, those that aren't formatted correctly to be read by screen readers. Park Ranger Celeste Dixon has been working hard to eliminate all the inaccessible PDF's on our website so that we are now 100 percent compliant with no inaccessible PDFs.

     We sent two rangers to support Nicodemus National Historic Site with their annual homecoming and the dedication of the refurbished AME Church for the weekend of July 30-August 1.

     Finally, we would like to extend our condolences to Park Ranger Mike Seymour, who lost his son to a tractor accident on July 7th.
          Betty Boyko, Superintendent

Mark Your Calendars. . .
     It's hard to believe that we are already looking at the last few events for the year already! But here we are nearing the end of Summer and approaching the cooler months (which can't get here soon enough). With that in mind, here are some of the things to keep in mind as we look toward some fun events for the whole family!

     September 4th-6th will be our annual Labor Day Weekend event. This event will be a little quieter than normal, just as Memorial Day Weekend was. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to providing limited interpretation and Living History Demonstrations, which will vary depending on the number of volunteers we have that weekend.

     The evening of October 9th will be our annual Candlelight Tour. Perhaps our most popular event for both visitors and volunteers alike, our Candlelight Tour is a fantastic opportunity to see the fort during a different time of day and with a different perspective. Reservations will open Monday, September 27th at 8:30 AM and can be made by calling the fort's main line at (620) 285-6911. Keep in mind that a lot of folks love to come out for this event, so you might have to keep trying that line as it typically stays busy that first day of reservations and can fill up in a little over 2 hours.

     As we get closer, we will be able to know more details about these events, so be sure to check in on the fort's Facebook page and our website ( We look forward to seeing you there!

Ben Long, Park Ranger
Maintenance Matters

     Greetings once again from the Maintenance team! We are busy working on many different projects again, as normal. A big adjustment to our planned work for the summer is having to replace the chiller tower for the Visitor Center HVAC system. Recently we noticed that the unit was cycling more often than normal, and it was still humid within the building. We had to bring outside specialist to assist with the diagnosis. We are currently operating the system at 50% capacity. We requested and were approved for additional funding to replace the unit this fiscal year. We will be cool once again soon, but maintenance is always a cool job. The Traditional Trade Apprentice Program (TTAP) had a minor setback, but will be in operation in August with two new people filling the vacancies.

     We will be moving forward on the replacement of the concrete sidewalk approach to the bridge. We had a little delay while going through a compliance process to consider the impact the work has on environmental and cultural factors. These are based on the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Complying with both laws governs many of the actions that we do within the park. In fact, the NHPA is the basis for the Fort's establishment as a National Park Service site, to protect a nationally registered listed historic structure. So, in concurrence with the described work to replace this section of sidewalk, we will be proceeding with project review and contracting with replacement planned for after Labor Day weekend.

     We are also in pre-solicitation process of contracting to construct two more accessible walkways with the decomposed granite material (KAFKA) to the south officers' quarters (HS-7). We have also been keeping up with operational maintenance by cleaning buildings and restrooms and maintaining the cultural landscape with mowing and weed trimming.

     Shawn had some good news upon his return from vacation. He wanted to do whale watching trip but was able to see a pod of killer whales from the dock near his lodging early one morning, but he did not get to see his other goal, mixed blessing!

     The rest of the staff a doing well and adjusting to the mosquitoes and heat of summer. They have all expressed happiness to see so many more visitors as compared to previous years. I think it makes them feel more valued when the see the public enjoying their work.

     Well, I have taken up too much of you time by now, but I have enjoyed letting you all know of the ongoings of a dedicated maintenance staff in preserving our fort. Until next time be good be safe and enjoy!
     William Chapman, Facility Manager

Volunteer Roll Call: Carter Atteberry
     A Larned, Kansas native, Carter has volunteered at events for the last three years, but it was only during the 2020 Candlelight Tour that I had my first extended interaction with him where we were acting our a scene at the Blockhouse. It was a good ol' time listening to and yelling at the "drunkard" in the Blockhouse (in reality, merely a recording on a loop that i know I found myself quoting before the night was over). After acting in that scene, I knew just who to contact when I needed actors for some of the videos produced at the fort this Spring. Carter ended up being the star of the "Spotlight Saturday: The Blockhouse" video as well as making an appearance and bringing several of his friends along for the filming of "The Miscreant" video as well. "After the short videos I helped with," Carter says, "I found my love of history sparked again and I realized how lucky I am to have an integral part of the Santa Fe Trail right in my backyard."

     Since then, Carter has been a great help not only volunteering for events, but Saturdays as he's available as well. If you came out for Heritage Days, you might have seen Carter give a demonstration on how to disassemble and clean both a 1863 and 1866 Springfield musket. Carter has not only picked up drilling as a soldier very well, but also the interpretation of the life of a soldier as well. "My favorite part of volunteering" Carter says, "is getting to teach people no matter their age about something I'm very passionate about and something that's had a very large impact on the community I live in. Also, who doesn't love to carry old guns around!"

     Carter has been a joy to have around the fort and his willingness to dress out in wool in the middle of the Summer is unmatched. As he put it, "Who needs cardio when you can wear wool in temperatures of 100+ and 70% humidity?" To have someone with Carter's passion and desire for accuracy is a rare thing these days and we hope Carter will stick around for a while!
     Ben Long, Park Ranger
     (Photo by Olivia Danielle Photography)

Spring Field Trips
Kristin Keith showing a group around the Hospital (photo by Brian Miller, NPS)

     Beginning in April, life around the fort began to feel more "normal" as Fort Larned began bustling with school groups. With the assistance of dedicated volunteers Chris Hagerman and Kristin Keith, schools were divided into smaller groups and rotated through four stations to learn about life at the fort. Through 20 in-person, 14 distance learning, and a couple of off-site programs, Fort Larned was able to reach just over 1,300 students this spring! Through the generosity of the National Park Foundation, we were able to use the remaining funds from last year's Open Outdoors for Kids Grant to fund many of the trips. A big thank you to Martha Scranton for coordinating the grant payments to the school districts. A big thank you to Fort Larned Old Guard as well for providing the iPad and data plan which enabled us to reach hundreds of students via distance learning. Planning continues for the next field trip season, including an application to secure more grant funding to cover schools' field trip expenses. Stay tuned!
     Brian Miller, Park Ranger

Fort Larned's Teacher-Ranger-Teacher
TRT Aaron Lentner

     This summer we have been very grateful for the assistance of Aaron Lentner, Fort Larned's Teacher Ranger Teacher (TRT). The TRT program is an extended professional development opportunity for educators from K-12 schools to learn about the resources and educational materials available through the National Park Service while using their expertise to inform and shape park education programs. Aaron has spent the last 17 years as an elementary classroom teacher and has used his wealth of experience to help improve Fort Larned's field trip program offerings. Working remotely from his home in Colorado, with an occasional visit to the fort, Aaron created exciting and interactive pre-visit and post-visit activities to pair with our upcoming field trip programs. Before visiting Fort Larned, students will complete a ranger-led scavenger hunt or quiz card activity in their classroom to learn background knowledge prior to their visit. Aaron crafted a post-visit Jeopardy-style game that can either be teacher or ranger led. We look forward to using these activities this upcoming field trip season and thank Aaron for all his hard work!
    Brian Miller, Park Ranger

The Enlisted Men of Company C, 3rd US Infantry
Part XXIII---John Keppel

     John Keppel enlisted on August 28, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Keppel began 1868 at Fort Larned sick in the Post Hospital was given a disability discharge on May 20. He was born in Ohio in 1815, and of the soldiers in Company C whose age is known, Keppel was the oldest. A surviving physical description lists him as five feet, seven inches tall with a ruddy complexion, and gray hair and eyes.

     Keppel began his military career during the Mexican War, enlisting in Co. F of the 1st Ohio Infantry. After he was discharged from that unit, he enlisted in the regular infantry and served with the following units: Co. C, 5th Infantry, 1848-1853 and Co. B, 5th Infantry, 1853-April 1857. He was discharged from this unit for chronic rheumatism. He then served in the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps, October 1858-1863; Co. M, 1st Indiana Artillery, October 1863 to January 1866; Co. C, 3rd Infantry August 28, 1866-May 20, 1868.

     Keppel's extended stay in the Post Hospital was due to a severe case of rheumatism. He was admitted on September 9, 1867 and stayed until his disability discharge on May 20, 1868. The disability discharge allowed him to enter the Soldiers' Home in Washington, DC where Keppel spent the next 30 years, dying there in 1896.

     The Soldiers' Home was founded in 1851. The original 197 acres, and a later additional 58 acres, were purchased with an endowment provided by Gen. Winfield Scott. Prominent citizens in Mexico City gave him $150,000 not to sack the city when his forces occupied it during the Mexican War. At the time the land, north of the city, was undeveloped farmland belonging to the estate of George Washington Rigg, a Washington banker. Eventually the city developed around it, so that it's now north of the city's historic core. The veterans who lived at the home were expected to work for their room, board, and medical care and were Referred to as inmates.

     Today the home is known at the Armed Forces Retirement Home and is currently home to over 300 veterans. It's funded by a $1450 monthly fee from the residents, a 50-cent fee deducted from all current enlisted military members' pay, and fines collected from enlisted members punished for breaking the rules.

Series by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
Fort Larned In The News
Summer 1868

     The provisions of the Treaties of Medicine Lodge signed in October 1867 to end Hancock's War were delayed by inaction of Congress. Also, members of the five tribes who signed the treaties were considered in violation of the terms of the agreement when they left their reservations to claim promised annuities because they were short of food. The failures of the treaties led to the "Indian War" of 1868. The following news items provide some background of the coming war.

     The Junction City Weekly Union, 25 July 1868 On the 11th of July the Kiowa Indians brought into Fort Larned a white boy, about three or four years of age, and gave him up to Mr. J. E. Tappan, post sutler. Mr. Tappan delivered him to General Sully, District Commander. It is not known how long the boy had been a captive, or where he was taken.

The Daily Kansa Tribune, Lawrence, 4 August 1868
Indian Matters. Washington, Aug. 3.

     Superintendent of Indian Affairs Murphy writes to the Indian Bureau from Fort Ellsworth, Kansas, July 19th, informing the commissioner of his arrival on the 28th ult. Next day he called on Gen. Sully, at Fort Harker, who informed him he had, about ten days previous, met in council at Fort Larned, the Kio-was (sic), Comanches, Apaches, Cheyennes and Arrapahoes (sic). The Cheyennes were cross and sullen, because of not having received their supply of arms and ammunition from the Government; while the Kiowas and Comanches were sullen and impudent, because of the scarcity of provisions among them. Gen. Sully had collected all the arms that were effective in the neighborhood of Fort Larned, and posted them in position, which had a good effect on refractory Indians, and they had stated their willingness to await the action of their Great Father in sending them provisions. The reason why the Cheyennes have not been supplied with arms and ammunition is because of the recent violations of their treaty stipulations, they having made war on the Kaws, who are friendly to the whites, besides having invaded Government reservations for warlike purposes.

     About twelve hundred lodges, consisting of six thousand Indians, were present at the council held by General Sully. Many of them were still in the neighborhood of Fort Larned, but at date of Superintendent Murphy's report, everything was quiet, although some of the Indians had been stealing whatever they could get an opportunity.

     The reported killing of a lieutenant and three soldiers, some days ago, is denied by Murphy.

     The report states that the Indians are now quiet, but that unless aided by the government, they may resort to extensive stealing, rather than starve, and which may lead to other serious difficulties, unless provision is made to keep them from suffering for food. The Indian departments, however, feel assured that, with the means of provision now under direction of Gen. Sherman, all difficulties will be averted with the Indians.
     Compiled by Leo Oliva

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