Why a great artist like Jerry Thomas would choose to live in Kansas is a matter of love. . .not of money or fame, but of the history and stories of the region. Thomas has spent untold hours painstakingly recreating famous moments from Kansas history and then using his wealth of talent to render those scenes in vivid color and extraordinary detail. No touch is too small for his paintings as each stalk of native grass seemingly jumps out of the canvas. And the subjects he depicts surround the time period when Fort Wallace was at its besort
The Fort Wallace Museum was recently given the unique opportunity to make and sell prints of two of Thomas' greatest paintings.
"Scouting the Trail" depicts two scouts overlooking Major Elliot's column that is en route to the Medicine Lodge treaties. Thanks to these two scouts, Elliot's column made it safely to their destination.
"Get 'Em Boys" shows Captain Barnitz leading the 7th Cavalry's charge against Cheyenne warriors. This battle, which took place on June 26, 1867 near Fort Wallace, proved to the U.S. Army that the Indians were capable and imaginative fighters.
Jerry Thomas Unveils Another Wonderful Painting
In a small ceremony held at the Fort Wallace Museum, Jerry Thomas proved once again that he has a wealth of artistic talenort His most recent painting, christened "Get 'em Boys", depicts Captain Albert Barnitz leading the 7th Cavalry in a charge against the Cheyenne. This actual event occurred on June 26, 1867 as the 7th Cavalry headed over the hills northwest of Fort Wallace to meet nearly 200 Cheyenne warriors. Painted with intricate detail, this historical representation of the 7th Cavalry's first fight now hangs proudly above the front desk at the museum.
Jerry Thomas puts more than just paint into each of his unique historical creations. Using photographs of the actual people he is depicting, he meticulously recreates the entire scene, from the uniforms and clothes to the landscape and wildlife. Jerry has created several other masterpieces, each of them displaying a unique and important moment in history.
"Get 'Em Boys"
Painting -- Captain Albert Barnitz and bugler Charles Clarke lead the column of 7th Cavalrymen over the Smoky Hills and northward to meet the Cheyenne. Fort Wallace is faintly visible in the background as flags fly in the Kansas wind. Rifles by their sides, the Cavalry sets their sights towards the Cheyenne in the distance.
History -- Although many of the men, including their leader Captain Albert Barnitz, were Civil War veterans, they were unprepared for what the Indian fighting force had to offer. With Charles Clarke sounding the charge, on June 26, 1867 the 7th Cavalry met its match. Unaccustomed to the Indian style of warfare, the cavalrymen were looking for an easy win against the 200 Cheyenne they meort It was often held that a single cavalryman "was equal to ten, twenty, even forty Indian braves". However, after this battle the reliability of that saying was smashed.
"Scouting the Trail" depicts two scouts overlooking Major Elliotís column that is en route to the Medicine Lodge treaties. Thanks to these two scouts, Elliotís column made it safely to their destination.
"Scouting the Trail"
Painting -- Near Monument Rocks, two 7th Cavalrymen pause in their scouting to overlook the scene below them. In front of them, faintly visible among the native grasses is Major Elliot's column that is headed towards Medicine Lodge Creek. The scouts were given the task of ensuring that the road in front of that column is safe to travel on.
History -- General Custer had just been charged guilty of "Absence without leave from his command" as well as two counts of "Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline." As punishment for these offenses he was relieved of his command of the 7th Cavalry and demoted for a period of one year. Major Joel Haworth Elliot assumed Custer's place as the commander of the 7th Cavalry stationed at Fort Wallace. Soon after he assumed command, he took 150 of his own 7th Cavalrymen as well as a battery of the 4th Cavalry on a journey. Taking over 200 wagons (30 of which contained gifts for the Indians), Elliot and his column headed out of Fort Larned towards Medicine Lodge Creek to meet with five Indian tribes. After two days of travel and fourteen days at the meeting, the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty was signed.
If you would like to order any Jerry Thomas prints, contact the Fort Wallace Museum and tell them which of the prints you would like to receive. Proceeds from "Scouting the Trail" will be split between the Fort Wallace Museum and the JM and Marilyn Thies Youth Ranch while all proceeds from "Get 'Em Boys" will directly benefit the museum.
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