Whiskey Point was still in existence as may be seen from the following item in the Union of January 4, 1873: “Last Friday afternoon Sheriff Kiehl, assisted by Lieutenant Wallace, Sixth Cavalry, and several enlisted men, made a descent on Whiskey Point, just opposite the fort, and succeeded in capturing a quantity of government property held by the venders of whiskey at the Point, as collateral for their wares.” About this time Colonel Oaks had a rough bridge made across the river to Whiskey Point because he believed the soldiers were in danger of being drowned while fording the river under the influence of liquor.

Fort Riley was the official headquarters of the Sixth Cavalry although the companies were constantly being changed about and the whole regiment was not there at any one time. Early in February of 18 73, Captain Whiteside rejoined the Sixth from a prolonged absence on recruiting duty. He took command of Company B, relieving Lieutenant Harper who went to Company K at Fort Harker. About a month later a detachment of men from Companies I and K. under Lieutenant Kendall, passed through Junction City. They were on their way from Fort Harker to Camp Supply, their new station.


The annual movement of the Sixth into the field started on the 20th of April. A camp near Fort Hays was designated as field headquarters of the regiment for the summer and companies were sent out from there as exigencies of the service demanded. A small detachment under Lieutenant Hentig was left behind to care for Fort Riley.

Just west of Estes Gate, at the northern end of the Governor Harvey Road, is a place known as the Estes place. It was originally settled in 1873 by Caleb Estes, a Confederate soldier, for whom the Estes Gate and Road are named. Mr. Estes has been dead for many years but Mrs. Estes still resides in the old place.

Captain Kimball, the Quartermaster, was advertising for horses in the spring of 1873. Concerning the mounts of that day the following remarks of Mr. Faringhy are of interest: “-the only requirement being conformation, color, sex, and height. Many were outlaws and unbroken. Enlisted men were often carried to the hospital suffering from injuries received when horses kicked or threw them. Many recruits had never ridden anything more difficult to ride than tame or broken horses in the East and were up against a hard proposition when they tried to ride unbroken horses.”

Early in September, Fort Riley experienced its most disastrous fire. It was first observed by a soldier’s wife who saw flames bursting through the roof of Stables Number Two. The wind must have been from the east, or the firefighters concentrated their efforts on saving Number One, for Stables Two, Three, Four, and Five were totally destroyed except for the walls. No animals were lost and the damage was estimated at $10,000. By order of Lieutenant Hentig, commanding the Post, a board of inquiry was convened consisting of Surgeon

B. J. D. Irwin, Captain A. S. Kimball (Quartermaster) and Chaplain Reynolds.

In September Doctor Irwin was ordered to leave Fort Riley for duty at West Point.

About the same time Captain J. A. Irwin, Major Brooks, Paymaster, Lieutenant Wetmore, and Mrs. Roberts, wife of the post trader at Fort Hays, with some soldiers, were on their way from River Bend station to Hays to pay off the troops. when they were held up by two masked men. Captain Irwin was severely wounded. Lieutenant Wetmore killed one of the robbers who was found to be G. W. Graham, formerly a captain in the Tenth Cavalry when that regiment was at Fort Leavenworth.

The Sixth Cavalry did not return to Fort Riley after the summer campaign of 18 73. Their place at the Post was taken by part of the Third Infantry under Colonel Floyd De Laney


Jones. On November 1st the Junction City Union had the following item: “The soldiers who are to garrison Fort Riley this winter passed through town last Saturday. The old fife and drum sounded natural but we missed the old fashioned hornet striped jackets of the cavalry.”

Later in November a calico party was given in Brown’s Hall on Sixth Street and among those present we find the names of Colonel Floyd-Jones, Captain A. S. Kimball, Surgeon Taylor, Lieut. Benjamin, Captain and Mrs. Snyder and Lieutenants Green, Ayers, and Griffith. Also Mrs. Lippincott (Grace Greenwood) and her daughter Miss Anna Lippincott, guests of Colonel Jones. (Author’s note: Grace Greenwood had been an actress in the second Fort Riley Theatre) .

On the 27th of December, Captain Kimball, who had been Quartermaster at Fort Riley for some time, left for Fort Brown, Texas.

In May 187 4, the garrison consisted of two companies of the Third Infantry with Colonel Jones in command of the Post. May 16th the following notice appeared in the Union: “Dress parades will be held at Fort Riley about sunset Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings. For the convenience of visitors in carriages the gates will be left open on those evenings.”

In the early seventies the Department Commander repeatedly urged upon his superiors the advisability of abandoning many of the small posts in his Department and of concentrating the troops at more important stations; naming Forts Leavenworth and Hays as the ones best adapted, by location, and construction, for the purpose of military operations in this part of the country. He did not mention Fort Riley either for abandonment or improvement, although he did name many of the posts which he proposed to abandon.

General Sheridan, then commanding the Division of Missouri, did not altogether agree with the Department Commander as to the wisdom of this plan, but it seems to have been adopted. In 1874 a bill was prepared and submitted to the Kansas Legislature, ceding to the United States jurisdiction over the Military Reservations of Fort Leavenworth and Fort Hays. When the bill came up for consideration, its passage was opposed by the representative from Ellis County, in which Fort Hays was located, and as he and his constituents were the ones whose interests would be most directly affected, the name of Hays was stricken from the measure. Thereupon Fort Riley was selected by the War Department to be retained and Hays to be abandoned. The people of Ellis County and their representative in the legislature then realized that a stupid blunder had been made and endeavored to correct it, but it was too late.


Sometime in June the Third Infantry received orders to move to a new station in Mississippi. The Nineteenth Infantry which was in New. Orleans was to proceed to Fort Leavenworth where the Fifth Infantry had its headquarters and the Fifth was to go to Fort Riley. On July 4th the Third had left and Company E of the Fifth, under command of Captain Ewer was at the Post.

1874 is known to all the old settlers in Kansas as the “Grasshopper Year.” The grasshoppers came from the northwest in clouds and devoured everything in their path. Even patches of timber were defoliated in a few hours. Practically all the crops were destroyed and a great deal of hardship resulted from this wholesale devastation. Many relief committees and societies distributed rations to the settlers throughout the winter and until the next crop could be harvested. The Government gave its assistance also, through the War Department, for at one time six carloads of rations arrived at Fort Riley for distribution among the needy settlers. Someone sent Surgeon

B. J. D. Irwin at West Point a sample specimen of one of these pests, gathered on the farm of Daniel Kellar, that was four inches in length.

Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler of the Fifth Infantry arrived at the Post and assumed command, about the middle of November. During the winter, work was begun on the rebuilding of the stables.

Early in March Company I of the Nineteenth Infantry arrived at the Post.

March 30, 1875, occurred the most notable of the Junction City-Army weddings. The following is from the Union of April 3d: “Among the many weddings which have gone to make up the history of Junction City none, perhaps, attracted more attention than the Chaffee-Rockwell ceremony which was celebrated Tuesday evening in the Presbyterian Church. The contracting parties were Major Adna R. Chaffee of the

U. S. Army and Miss Annie Rockwell, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Rockwell of this city. The church was handsomely decorated with the American flag extended across the

•wall back of the pulpit, having two cavalry sabers crossed and suspended at each end and in the center; beneath the center pair was a beautiful monogram of evergreen, composed of the letters ‘C’ and ‘R’.” The ceremony was performed by the Rev.

I. N. Hays was described at considerable length. The article also enumerated in detail all the presents and their donors.

Following the wedding there was a reception at the . home of the bride’s father and the couple left later for Camp Supply, in what is now Oklahoma.


On May 8, 1875, the following item appeared in the local press: “Lieutenant-Colonel Thos. H. Neil. for a long time stationed at Fort Riley and well known in this neighborhood, has been appointed post commander at West Point Military Academy.”

About this time the Post was occupied by parts of the Fifth and Nineteenth Infantry. Later in May a military court was assembled at Riley, the members being: Col. C. H. Smith, 19th Inf.; Lieut.-Col. Whistler, 5th Inf.; Maj. M. A. Ham­ bright, 19th Inf.; Capt. Samuel Obenshine, 5th Inf.; 1st Lieut.

R. J. Vance, 19th Inf.; 1st Lieut. E. L. Randall, 5th Inf.;

Ass’t Surgeon W. S. Tremaine. The accused was 1st Lieut. • Henry Romeyn, 5th Inf., charged with the loss of some grain

while he was acting quartermaster. Dr. Tremaine was Judge Advocate and Romeyn was defended by J. R. McClure. He was acquitted.

Early in June, Moses Waters was appointed postmaster at Fort Riley. The exact date when Waters came to the Post and bought the sutler’s store from the McGonigle Brothers could not be determined, but it was late in 1874, or early in 1875. Mr. Faringhy made the following statement concerning the coming of Waters: “I think Mose Waters appeared in 1874. Father left Riley in 1873 for West Point and relieved Hospital Steward McKenzie, who went to Riley. The McGonigles were in Riley when we left there but Waters was there when we returned ( 1879). When McKenzie came to Riley he brought his wife’s sister with him. Her name was Matilda Galway and she married Waters. I am not positive when Waters came but I always believed it to be in 1874.”

Moses Waters was the last of the sutlers and by far the most notorious. He was a big, good natured Irishman, was employed by the Government as a scout for some years and was with Colonel George A. Forsyth in his famous fight on the Arickaree Fork of the Republican in 1868.

The garrison dwindled as usual during the summer and in September Colonel Whistler as Commanding Officer, Captain George W. McDermott as Quartermaster and Lieutenant). Bailey, as Post Adjutant, had a command consisting of Company K of the Fifth Infantry.

April I. 1876 the Union published the following item: ” Among the last orders of Secretary of War Belknap was one making Fort Riley a cavalry recruiting depot. The order removing it from St. Louis to Fort Riley takes effect upon its publication but we are waiting to see whether or not the new Secretary will publish it.” Apparently the order was not published for no record of a recruit depot was found.


June 25, 1876, occurred the Custer massacre at the Little BigHorn and during that summer Fort Riley was nearly depleted of troops. At a Fourth of July celebration in Junction City, two heavy, brass, 12 pound cannon, under charge of Ordnance Sergeant Dan Coleman, together with a squad of infantry, appeared in the parade. Early in October Lieutenant John A. Payne, 19th infantry, was Commanding Officer at the Post.

The term “Golden Belt” originated in the summer of 1876. Accor-ding to an article in Volume IX of the K:insas Historical Collections, entitled “The Story of a Fenceless Winter-Wheat Field,” it came about in the following manner: “In 1876

Colonel Anderson, a staff correspondent, was sent out by the New York Herald to write about the wheat industry. He called on me (Mr. T. C. Henry of Abilene). Just before sunset we drove to an elevation northeast of Abilene, overlooking the valley. The yellow grain, nearly ripe, stretched afield for miles to the east, bordered by the deep green verdure of the prairies on either side. The setting sun gave brilliant contrasting hues. My companion caught inspiration from the scene and exclaimed: ‘What a magnificent golden belt!’ Such was the origin of the well-known and appropriate term.” About a year later the Kansas-Pacific Railroad was using the term in its advertising and today we have the Golden Belt Highway extending through the Post.

During the winter of 1876-77 the Nineteenth Infantry was relieved by the Twenty-Third apparently, although the date of this change is not known. January 27, 1877, the Union announced that: “First Lieutenant and Brevet Major Goodale with a company of the Twenty-Third Infantry, passed through town to take post at Fort Riley.”

And on June 23d the following item appeared: “Quite recently the military people at the Fort have been very busy. The companies of the Twenty-Third, which have been gar­risoning the Post for some months, have been ordered to Fort Leavenworth and there have come in their stead three companies of the Sixteenth with band and Headquarters.” Colonel Pennypacker, commonly called General, was in command of the Sixteenth.

In Junction City at present there are four old members of the Sixteenth Infantry. Mr. Thomas Keeshan of the Junction City Floral Company was First Sergeant of Company C. Mr. William M. Benison was a private in Company H. John Stein was a sergeant in Company A and Fred Scholz was a member of the band.

Shortly after the Sixteenth came, Stables Number Four, which had only recently been rebuilt, was struck by lightning

(Photo loaned by Geo. Smith memorial Library, Junction City)

Fort Riley About 1874

Looking southeast across the parade.

(Photo loaned by Geo. Smith memorial Library, Junction City)

Old Stables and Quartermaster Buildings ( 1879)


and totally destroyed with the loss of considerable hay and grain, an ambulance and a water tank. J.n August the bridge, built by the Republican River Bridge Company in 1867, fell in the river. Mr. Benison told the author he had just driven a team across it when it fell under the weight of a small herd of cattle that were following him. As has been previously stated, the Company had ceased to exist and the Government was eventually forced to replace the bridge, although it was not done for five or six years, during which time a pontoon bridge was maintained there.

On New Years Day, at noon, the following members of the garrison visited General Pennypacker at his quarters: Major

S. A. Wainwright, Captains T. E. Rose, C. E. Morse and Clayton Hale, Lieutenants Henry C. Ward, W. W. Barrett,

W. H. Vinell, Frederick Rosencrantz, F. 0. Shelby, Eugene Cushman and B. B. Steadman, also Dr. Gray, the Post Surgeon, Dr. Reynolds, the Chaplain, and Moses Waters, the Sutler.

Just northeast of Campbell Hill, on a hill shown as hill 1300 on the Military Reservation Map of Fort Riley, is a farm known as the Campbell Fruit Farm, owned and operated by

. George W. Campbell. Mr. Campbell told the author that his mother came to Manhattan in the late fifties and while there visited Fort Riley, where she met and knew Captain Lyon and other officers then at the Post. She returned to the East during the Civil War and in the late sixties settled in Ogden. Soon after this the house on the present Campbell farm was erected, Mrs. Campbell having preempted the claim, and about 1878 Mr. Campbell was married and went to the new home to live. For many years he has supplied officers’ families with fruit and garden trucks and his wagon has been a familiar sight to many housekeepers at the Post.

There is a well defined road leading from the vicinity of the old Packer’s Camp to the farm, which is located on one of the most beautiful sites in the vicinity. The place has been occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Campbell almost continuously since 1878. Like the Governor Harvey Road, the name of Campbell Hill “just grew,” as the years went by.

Early in May, Lieutenant Shelby, with a detachment, went to Fort Harker to assist in tearing down tha_t Post. Fort Larned was also abandoned the same summer, the public property being transferred to Fort Dodge and the men to Fort Hays.

One hot afternoon in June a parade and review was held. Colonel Pennypacker was receiving the review and Major Wainwright was in command. All went well until the major passed the troops in review at the “double time” and then consternation reigned with big, fat, six foot German and Irish soldiers falling out here and there. The incident developed


into a trial by General Court Martial on the charge of drunkenness while on duty. The court was composed of the following members: Col. C. H. Smith, 19th Inf.; Lieut.-Col. James Van Voast, 16th Inf.; Lieut.-Col. Rufus Saxton, Deputy Q. M. General; Lieut.-Col. W. H. Lewis, 19th Inf.; Maj. H. A. Hambright, 19th Inf.; Capt. C. S. Illsley, 7th Cav.

A. D. C.; Capt. A. L. Varney, Ordnance Dept. 1st Lieut. F. Richards, 16th Inf. was the Judge Advocate.

Some Cheyenne Indians escaped from their reservation and were roaming over the plains of Kansas committing depredations here and there and in September two companies of the Sixteenth were ordered out to assist in rounding them up. Company A, under Captain Morse and Lieutenants Barrett and Steadman, went to Fort Dodge via rail and Company H, under Captain Hale and Lieutenants Vinell and Shelby, to Monument Station. From those points they closed in on the Indians. The Fourth Cavalry also took part in this affair and Colonel Lewis of that regiment was shot on Beaver Creek.

This campaign and the tearing down of Fort Harker were the most important tasks of a military nature performed by the Sixteenth. Colonel Pennypacker was very popular and a great favorite socially and the entire Sixteenth was very well liked. Tom Allen is said to have remarked that the men of that regiment were the most gentlemanly and orderly bunch of soldiers he had ever seen. Extracts from an article in the Union of February 15, 1879, are of interest: “Three companies of the Sixteenth Infantry now garrison Fort Riley under command of that chivalrous and knightly soldier, General

Pennypacker, colonel of the Sixteenth. General Pennypacker, it will be readily remembered, was all shot to pieces at Fort Fisher. But the pieces have all grown back and the scars are sacredly cherished by a grateful country. The general is still young, and the best evidence that he isn’t old is in the fact­ but I don’t know as I dare mention it. She resides in Leavenworth and maybe you had better wait for the ‘cards.’ Sustaining their chief in feast and fray, and religiously maintaining the exalted character of the glorious Sixteenth, are the other officers now hived at the fort. Among these I remember Colonel Hale, Colonel Barrett, Major Rosencrantz, Captain Rose, Lieutenant Cushman, Colonel Morse, Lieutenant Vinell, Lieutenant Steadman (son of Commodore Steadman U. S. N.), and Captain Ward, Post Quartermaster. Captain Richards, the post adjutant, a most estimable and jolly officer, is a splendid specimen of the genus homo. Tall, athletic and magnificently proportioned, he more closely resembles General Winfield Scott than any man I ever saw. No ‘hasty plate of soup’ nor jocund health, however, awaits his visitors, for

(Photo loaned by Geo. Smith Memorial Library, Junction City)

Sixteenth Infantry Band ( 1880)

(Photo loaned by Geo. Smith Memorial Library, Junction City)

Old Chapel


the captain is one of the most cordially hospitable officers in the army.

“Dr. Charles Reynolds, one of the most erudite, eloquent, and venerable clergymen of the Episcopal Church, is Post Chaplain.

“Moses Waters is the sutler, or post trader. Imagination might on a pinch depict, but words could never accurately portray Moses Waters and his virtues. “When diseases offer or calamities environ, when clouds and fog shut one in on every side, so that not a ray of light can enter, then hie the gentle hermit towards Fort Riley and hunt out Moses Waters.” He will cut out the chevaux-de-frize of melancholy, unloose the dregs of disquiet, eliminate the unrest and cause geniality, bonhomie and content to flow placidly in copious streams.’”

First Lieutenant and Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel W. W. Barrett died July L 1879. He had served in the Civil War and was mustered out in 1865 as a Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General. In 1866 he was appointed a First Lieutenant in the Thirty-Fourth Infantry and in 1869 he was transferred to the Sixteenth.

Late in October Company C under Captain Rose left via the K. P. R. R. for Fort Garland, Colorado.

December 7, 1879, occurred the death of First Lieutenant Frederick Rosencrantz. He was a native of Sweden and was said to be of the same house as the Rosencrantz who figures in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He had served with distinction in the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War and was a First Lieutenant and a Brevet Major at the time of his death. Some­ time later a tablet to the memory of Rosencrantz was presented by his old regiment in Sweden and was placed in the old chapel where it may be seen today. The tablet bore this inscription:



Both Rosencrantz and Barrett were buried at Fort Riley. During the summer of 1879 Major Tilton became the Post


February 23, 1880, the Bartell House was opened with a grand ball and banquet.

During the spring of 18 80 the various companies of the Sixteenth were ordered away and on May 29th we find the


following item in the Union: “Captain Hale’s company (H) was to leave for New Mexico yesterday to operate against the Indians. This leaves only the Commanding Officer, Adjutant, Quartermaster, Surgeon, some non commissioned staff officers, band, sutler and a few officers’ families at the Post.”

Another of Chaplain Reynolds’ daughters was married early in July. Miss Anna M., to Mr. Charles H. Sternberg of Ells­

.worth. The wedding took place in the post chapel and the ceremony was performed by the Reverend W. H. Hickox of Wakefield.

A board of officers consisting of Colonel Galusha Penny­ packer, 16th Inf.; Lt.-Col. James Van Voast, 16th Inf.; Surgeon D. L. Magruder, U. S. A., Capt. Wm. J. Lyster, 19th lnf.; and 1st Lieut. Geo. H. Cook, Adjutant, 19th Inf., was appointed to meet at Fort Leavenworth September 1st for the examination of candidates who had been selected for appointment as Second Lieutenants.

In November Headquarters of the Sixteenth Infantry was transferred to Fort Davis, Texas. At the same time Headquarters, Band and Companies B, I. K, and L of the Fourth Cavalry came to Riley. The regiment was under command of Colonel R. S. McKenzie and with it came Brevet Lieutenant­ Colonel Beaumont, the junior major; Capt. H. W. Lawton, 1st Lieut. Fred D. Grant, and 2d Lieut. A. L. Smith of B Com­pany; Capt. Hemphill, 1st Lieut. 0. W. Budd, and 2d Lieut. Geo. H. G. Gale of I Company; Capt. E. M. Heyl, 1st Lieut. James Parker, and 2d Lieut. House of K Company; Capt. Wint, 1st Lieut. Murray, and 2d Lieut. Irwin of L Company. Captain H. W. Lawton afterwards became a major-general of volunteers in 1898 and was killed December 19, 1899, at the battle of San Mateo, P. I. 1st Lieutenant Fred D. Grant was the son of U. S. Grant and did not come to Riley with his company as he was then on the staff of General Sheridan. Captain Hemphill was the son-in-law of Captain and Mrs. Sweeney of Junction City.

Under the provisions of a War Department General Order issued in December, the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Indian Territory were organized into a department to be called the Department of Arkansas with Headquarters at Little Rock. Colonel McKenzie of the Fourth Cavalry was appointed to the command of that department, according to his brevet rank of brigadier-general, and he left Fort Riley early in January, 1881, taking with him as aide-de-camp, Captain Lawton,

Ordnance Sergeant Dan Coleman died in 1880 and during the latter part of that year, or early in 1881, Sergeant Patrick Daly of the Seventh Infantry was appointed Ordnance Sergeant and assigned to Fort Riley. Sergeant “Pat” Daly was well


known around the Post for many years after. In an Indian Campaign in which the Seventh Infantry was engaged in 1877, Daly had charge of a gatling gun. The gun and its crew became cut off during an engagement and Daly’s gallant efforts in getting the gun safely back to its company earned him a Medal of Honor.

In the late fifties two Irishmen from the same part of Ireland sailed into New York harbor and enlisted in the army that day after landing. They never saw each other again until Daly came to Riley and found his old friend Buchanan installed as Commissary Sergeant. There many a pipe was smoked and many a “drap” was drunk while talking over the old days and now these fine old Irish soldiers sleep side by side in adjacent lots in the Post Cemetery. Two of Daly’s sons are still carrying on at Riley. They have been previously mentioned. Buchanan had a son who was Color Sergeant of the Thirteenth Cavalry during the World War and who has since retired at Fort Clark, Texas (William Buchanan).

The Union of February 12, 1881 had the following item: “Captain Henry Sweeney went to Fort Hays last Wednesday evening to attend a Court Martial now in session there as a witness in a case against Captain John Lee for forcibly ejecting the veterinary surgeon of the Fourth Cavalry from a sleeping car several months ago.•’

In May the troops left for the Ute country under Lieutenant-Colonel Beaumont and there remained only Headquarters and the Band, under Lieutenant Dorst, with Lieutenant Patch as Quartermaster.

Chaplain and Mrs. Reynolds celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in July and this was destined to be the last party for the gracious old couple who had so long dispensed kindness and good cheer at the post. About the middle of September Mrs. Reynolds died. They had been at Riley, except for very brief vacations, since 1864.

The Fourth Cavalry did not return to Riley after their summer campaign. In December Colonel Edward Hatch was in command of the Ninth Cavalry and the Post. Other officers present were: First Lieutenants E. D. Dimmick, C. E. Sted­ man, Adjutant, T. C. Davenport and M. F. Goodwin, Quartermaster, with Second Lieutenants J. F. Guilfoyle and J. F. Mc­ Blain.

On the seventh of April. 1882, about midnight, Fort Riley was hit by a terrific gale, which was almost a cyclone. The storm came from the southwest. It pursued an erratic course, as cyclones do, destroying one building in its course and skipping the next. The Commissary and Quartermaster buildings were completely unroofed and the stores exposed. The guard


houses, several soldiers’ quarters, some stables and barracks were also damaged. The officers’ quarters were occupied by Major Thos.

B. Dewees and Dr. Tilton and their families were almost completely wrecked. Several men in bed in barracks were injured by falling stones and one horse had to be shot as a result of injuries. Fortunately no one was killed and no one seriously injured. The escape of the officers’ families above mentioned, was miraculous as they were all in bed when the roof was lifted off and falling bricks and timbers landed all about them. The old capitol building at Pawnee was unroofed by the same storm. It was estimated that $40,000 would be required to repair the Post completely.

Troops D and H of the Ninth, under Captain George A. Purington left Fort Riley June 25th and Troops L and M, under Captain L. H. Rucker left the next day for Camp Kezar, Colorado. Those troops formed part of the Ute Expedition of that summer. Mr. John Moore, previously referred to, accompanied this expedition as a teamster.

During the absence of the Ninth the fort was garrisoned by Company G of the Twentieth Infantry from Fort Hays, under command of Captain May. Early in October the Ninth, with Colonel Hatch, returned and the infantry went back to Hays. If during the period just reviewed, the existence of Fort Riley often hung by a thread, nevertheless it was a period well remembered by Junction City.

It was one of the most brilliant periods in the social history of the Post. The theatre, the military and civilian weddings and the popularity of Colonel Pennypacker and the Sixteenth Infantry, are still talked about by old settlers. It was in the days when amusements were simple but nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed. Colonel Pennypacker had a famous music box, imported from Switzerland and said to have been made to order for him. It played a hundred different tunes and was in the form of a cigar humidor. When a cigar was removed, it played.

Dances were sometimes held in the hospital. if it was not filled with sickness. Most of the social functions were held in Library Hall which was upstairs in the barracks on the north­ west corner of the parade. The lower part of this barracks contained the offices of the Commanding Officer, staff, etc. Of the social functions Mr. Faringhy made the following comment: “When enlisted men gave a ball, the officers were invited and a space allowed at the end of the hall for them to dance. I have seen Colonel Pennypacker mingle with the enlisted men’s wives at a dance. A banquet was invariably held in the dining room downstairs. If given by infantry, rifles were arranged, if cavalry, sabers decorated the walls, also a quantity of cedar was used for decoration. Several kegs of


Weichselbaum’s beer, from his brewery in Ogden, was put on tap for anyone who cared to libate. A collection would be taken up to buy more beer as the liquid gave out. Three bucks a keg at the sutler’s store and there was always someone ready to take a wheelbarrow and get a fresh keg. The music was furnished by the post orchestra. Dancing frequently lasted until morning.”



Shortly after the death of Mrs. Reynolds, the Chaplain was retired. He then visited in the East and in January, 1883, returned to Junction City and became pastor of the Episcopal Church. The Reverend Charles C. Pierce succeeded Reynolds as Chaplain at Fort Riley.

Major Dewees and his family and Dr. and Mrs. Tilton left

the Post in March, 1883, Major Dewees went to Fort Sill and Dr. Tilton to Detroit. In the fall Albert Hartsuff was Surgeon and C. C. Goddard was Acting Assistant Surgeon.

Fort Riley was linked up by telephone with the outside world for the first time in the spring of 1883. Poles were cut on the reservation and set up by soldiers.

June 2, 1883, Captains Loud and Rucker and Lieutenants Guilfoyle, Burnett, and McBlaine with Companies L and M left for Fort Lewis, Colorado, returning to Fort Riley in October. Efforts were still being made to get the bridge across the Republican (on the Golden Belt Highway) replaced. George W. Martin, then Mayor of Junction City, wrote a letter to Major General John Pope, Commanding the Department of the Missouri, in which he inclosed a petition from the citizens of Junction City requesting the replacement of the bridge. In the reply General Pope stated that every effort was being made to secure the necessary appropriation and expressed hope of results at an early date.

A General Court Martial was appointed to meet at Fort Riley on the 11th of February, 1884, for the trial of such persons as might be brought before it. The detail for the court was: Major F. W. Benteen, Captain L. H. Rucker, Captain J. S. Loud, 1st Lieutenant Gustavus Valois, 2d Lieutenant J. F. McBlain, 2d Lieutenant J. H. Gardner, 2d Lieutenant A. B. Jackson, all of the Ninth Cavalry. The Judge Advocate was 1st Lieutenant J. F. Guilfoyle, also of the Ninth.

There had been considerable difficulty for many years with farmers who allowed their cattle to graze on the reservation, which had not been fenced. In April, 1884, Lieutenant J. A. Olmstead of the Ninth Cavalry, Quartermaster, received

$3,000.00 to be expended for fencing the reserve. He at once advertised for bids for the work, his proposal calling for the construction of seventeen miles of fence. The erection of the



fence did not deter the trespassers as may be seen by the following item in the Union of June 14th: “The wire fence around the military reserve has been cut several times lately and cattle turned in during the night. Friday morning several hundred head were seized by the military and Uncle Sam has a sure thing on some damages.”

During the summer and fall of 1884, General Hatch and various troops of the Ninth were ordered to duty in Oklahoma to keep the boomers out of the Territory. In July the regiment acquired the first colored chaplain to be appointed in the army. The following is from the Union of July 12th: ‘Reverend Henry V. Plummer of Maryland, who was appointed by the President to the Chaplaincy of the Ninth U. S. Cavalry, a day or two ago, is a colored man, an ex-slave, who was a field hand in Prince George’s County, Maryland, until he was emancipated. He was appointed to a position in the Post Office Department by Postmaster-General Creswell and remained in the place till he had saved enough money to pay for a course through Howard University. He graduated from that institution with honors and well merits the office that has been given to him.”

In the early days of the Post all water was taken from the river. Later, cisterns were built and only water for washing was brought from the rivet. Every day water carts made their daily rounds of quarters and barracks with water for laundry and bathing. Early in the eighties a large wooden tank, raised high in the air, was erected in the rear of the site now occupied by the Machine Gun Troop barracks. For a time, in 1884, some Indian prisoners were employed to pump water for this tank until one day, seizing a favorable opportunity, they swam the river and escaped. In July 1884, a 50 horsepower engine was installed on the river bank to operate the pump.

Artificial ice was unknown. Each winter ice was cut on the river and stored in ice-houses. There were several of these houses, which were usually built in the side of a ravine in the form of dug-outs to provide additional protection from the hot summer sun. Two of these buildings were in the ravine, which was then much deeper than it is now, just west of the East Riding Hall. All the old-timers with whom the writer talked asserted with much vigor that winters formerly were much colder than now and that frequently ice from eighteen inches to two feet thick, was cut.

On the 23d of September, 1884, a son was born to Major and Mrs. A. R. Chaffee at the home of Mrs. Chaffee’s parents in Junction City.

In 1884, interest was revived in Fort Riley when Lieutenant General Philip H. Sheridan, then in command of the army,


said, in his annual report: “I feel deeply interested in the improvement of the cavalry arm of the service. By a wise interposition, the Government has retained on the line of the Kansas Pacific Railway, at Fort Riley, Kansas, a beautiful large reservation. The post and its reservation are situated on the Kansas River, in the garden spot of Kansas, and although many attempts have been made to dispossess the Military of this valuable tract of land, we have been able to keep it. It is now contemplated to make it a headquarters for cavalry of the Army. At that plat::e many of the cavalry horses, which each year become broken down or otherwise temporarily unfit for service, could recuperate and be reissued to troops in a condition fifty per cent better than that of the new, untrained horses we annually buy from farmers. If the commercial value of the horse continues to increase as rapidly as during the past ten years, it may become necessary to raise the horses needed for our Military service, and Fort Riley is a place where the Government might advantageously breed such horses for its own uses, as is done in continental Europe.

“Since, then, we have such a good place at Fort Riley, for all purposes of cavalry, an establishment worthy of our country should be developed there.”

In the same year, Major-General J.M. Schofield, commanding the Division of the Missouri, urged the establishment of a practical school for Field Artillery, but did not suggest a location. The following year he reported that it was proposed to concentrate light batteries for instruction at some suitable point in his Division, as soon as the necessary provisions could be made for quartering the troops. Brigadier and Inspector­ General Nelson H. Davis also suggested in 1885 that: “A cavalry school be established for thorough instruction in this arm, including drill, practice firing, stable management, and for the proper training of horses.” He further stated that: “To attain the proficiency required, it seems advisable to assemble at some suitable post all the field batteries properly. organized, for a school of theoretical and practical instruction under the command of competent artillery officers, where there are ample facilities for drill and practice firing.”

In General Schofield’s report for 1885, he stated that a substantial beginning had been made in the improvements designed by General· Sheridan to make Fort Riley, Kansas, an important central station for the cavalry of the Army, and that such a post was much needed for the training and recuperation of cavalry horses and for the instruction of recruits before they were sent to the field.

(Photo loaned by Geo. Smith Memorial Library, Junction City)

General Sheridan and the Secretary of War at Fort Riley in 1885


Early in January, word was received that the contract for the building of the Republican River bridge had been let. The bridge was completed that summer.

In the spring of 1885, the Ninth Cavalry, which was then on temporary duty in Oklahoma, received orders to go to Wyoming by marching. The Ninth was to be relieved at Riley by the Fifth Cavalry. Under the date of May 2d, we find the following item in the Union: “A number of the officers of the Ninth Cavalry have started for Oklahoma for the purpose of arranging to move their command to Wyoming. The troops will return to Riley and here do their packing preparatory to marching to their new location. Captain Olmstead called to advertise a horse and carriage. He says they will have a three months’ march, the distance being 1.I 00 miles.”

In May, 1885, General Sheridan visited Fort Riley and again referring to the Union we find his visit reported in the issue of May 9th: “General Sheridan was at Fort Riley, Sunday, on a tour of inspection. Several carriage loads of citizens went over and called. Mayor Wright expressed to him the interest our people feel in the improvement of Riley, to which the General responded that he had desired for some time to improve Riley and hoped yet to do it. He would say nothing definite, however, as to what would happen. It is well understood the General is a great friend of Riley and the air is full of rumors concerning improvements and enlargement but we are weary and will never say another word about it until we see a hundred mechanics at work. The General had a special train and after a stay of about two hours he returned to To­peka where he took the Santa Fe for Fort Wingate.”

Five companies of the Fifth Cavalry were at Fort Riley in July of that summer, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Compton, but they left soon after for a point on the Cimarron River near the Fort Dodge crossing on the route to Camp Supply. They were there to keep some Cheyenne Indians, who were on the warpath, out of the Panhandle country. Their absence left Ordnance Sergeant Patrick Daly in command of the Post with a detachment of about twelve men as garrison. General Merritt, the colonel of the Fifth Cavalry, was relieved from duty as Superintendent of the U. S. M. A. in the fall of 1885.

Brigadier-General Nelson A. Miles, Commanding the Department of the Missouri, and Major James Gillis, Chief Quartermaster of the Department, visited Fort Riley in August for the purpose of deciding upon a plan for the improvement of the Post and the location of the new buildings. Concerning this visit the Union of August 22d made the following comments: “One double barracks will be built on the southwest


Digitized by Google

corner of the square and another on the soothe.1st corner. The new officers’ quarters will be located on the north side between the present commanding officer·s q0.1rters and the quarters to the east of that set. It is the design ultimately to tear out the officers’ quarters on the southside of the parade and remo\”e them to the north side. Some more cavalry stables will be built on the east of the barracks and south of the hospital. The officers pronounce the Post to be in wry bad shape. The work to be done this fall will be shorter. It is the design to make Riley a full regimental Post.”

Here is the corrected text:

About the middle of September, Captain G. E. Pond, Quartermaster U.S.A., arrived at Riley to assume the duties of Quartermaster during the period of repairs and construction. In October, work on the two sets of barracks and the officers’ quarters was well underway. In addition to the work of construction, many of the old buildings were being repaired. This was the “substantial beginning” referred to by General Schofield in his report. It resulted in the erection of two double sets of cavalry barracks, each with a capacity of 136 men. These are the present Buildings 35 and 39. There were also erected the officers’ quarters on the east side of Forsyth Avenue at the junction of Forsyth and Sheridan Avenues, Building Number 23.

By October 31st, there were seven companies of the Fifth Cavalry at the Post; three had just arrived and were in camp north of the officers’ quarters, in the vicinity of the old chapel. During the winter of 1885-1886, and for some time after that, there were also two companies of the Eighteenth Infantry at Fort Riley, G and K.

Dr. Reynolds died at his home in Junction City on the 28th of December, 1885, of paralysis.

In January 1886, both houses of the Kansas Legislature passed the following resolution:

“WHEREAS, General Sheridan, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the United States, has recommended the enlargement of Fort Riley, with a view of establishing at said post a school for the training of the cavalry and light artillery arms of the service, and other improvements for the utilization of the large reservation at said military post; and

“WHEREAS, Said post and military reservation is well adapted to the uses proposed; and

“WHEREAS, Said improvements will redound to the general good of the people of Kansas: therefore, be it

“Resolved, By the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein, that our Representatives in Congress are hereby requested and our Senators instructed to use their best endeavors to secure such an appropriation by Congress as will…”

(Photo loaned by Jack Daly, Fort Riley

Captain G. E. Pond, Q. M., U. S. A.


fully carry out the purpose of the commanding general, making Fort Riley an important military post.”

The representatives in Congress from Kansas were active in support of this resolution but Preston B. Plumb, who was a Senator from Kansas, seems to have been prejudiced against the army and would do nothing. In the fall of 1866, he wrote to Captain Bertrand Rockwell of Junction City, stating that Fort Riley was merely a local affair, that nobody cared about it and intimated that it was useless to do anything. Captain Rockwell informed George W. Martin, then living in Kansas City, Kansas, of the contents of the letter. Mr. Martin promptly prepared a newspaper article in favor of Riley which he sent to fifteen newspapermen in Kansas, asking them to reproduce the article or publish something like it. They all responded enthusiastically and when the papers reached Washington, Senator Plumb saw a great light. He got busy and thereafter Fort Riley was liberally provided for.

Old Fort Harker began to be known as Kanopolis in the spring of 1886. The reservation had been bought by a group of capitalists from Ohio and they were booming it.

In May, Major Horton and Captain Hamilton moved into the newly completed officers’ quarters (Building Number 23). Adjutant General Campbell of the Kansas National Guard

visited Junction City and Fort Riley in June. He was arranging for the encampment of the State Militia on the reservation. This was the second annual encampment of those troops and the first to be held at Fort Riley. Two paragraphs, or “sections,” as they were called, of General Orders Number Two of the Kansas National Guard for that year, are of interest:

“Section 1. The second annual encampment of the Kansas National Guard will be held on the Fort Riley Military Reservation, commencing Monday, September 20th, and continue until Saturday. September 25, 1886, as announced in General Orders Number 1, dated June 14, 1886.

“Section 2. The camp will be known as Camp Phil Sheri­ dan and is located two miles west of Fort Riley and two and one-half miles north of Junction City, on the north bank of the Republican River.”

The troops came by train to Junction City and then marched to camp. They complained bitterly of th-e hike over the dusty road from town to camp. Moses Waters set up a tent on the edge of camp and prepared to sell beer. Kansas had had a prohibition law since 1881 and Mose was promptly arrested. He argued that he was permitted to sell liquor to soldiers. However, it was decided that his permission did not extend to citizen soldiers and he was not allowed to remain.


Under date of September 4, 1886, the following item from the Kansas City Times was reprinted in the Union: “Major Gillis; Chief Quartermaster, was yesterday officially informed that the Secretary of War has directed the expenditure of

$40,000 at Fort Riley for improvements. This amount will substantially aid that post in constructing the necessary buildings for officers’ quarters, a guard house, etc. It is intended to build three sets of double quarters for officers at once. Captain Pond will be in charge of all the improvements. Inspector General Baird has just been ordered to that post by General Sheridan.

In October, Captain Pond was advertising for bids for the erection of two double sets of barracks and three double sets of officers’ quarters. An old drawing, found among some blue prints of this period, indicated that it was not the original intent of the Quartermaster to build Forsyth Avenue. The drawing had no date but bore the name of L. B. Larmon, Engineer. It indicated that barracks for seven companies were to be erected on both the east and west sides of the parade, the line of barracks being extended to the south. Officers’ quarters were to be constructed in the form of a semicircle or horse­ shoe, the bends in the shoe beginning just east of the present Building 24 and just west of the Cavalry Club.

With the promise of appropriations for Fort Riley and increased business for itself. Junction City began to expand and feel the pang of growing pains. In December, 1886, the Junction City and Fort Riley Street Railway Company’s Charter was filed with the Secretary of State. The purpose e:,f the company, as stated in its charter. was: “For the Construction and Maintenance of a Street Railway in Junction City and to Fort Riley.” It was capitalized for $50,000 and the Board of Directors was composed of B. Rockwell, A. H. Bartell, N. F. Greene, G. E. Harvey and C. G. Thurston.

The New Year was ushered in with a fire at Fort Riley. At six o’clock on the morning of January first, the officers’ quarters on the southwest corner of the parade caught fire and was burned to the ground. The loss to the government was not great as in the course of improvements it would have been torn down anyway.

The direct result of the activities of George W. Martin, Congress and the recommendations of General Sheridan, was an Act of Congress approved January 29, 1887, entitled:

“AN ACT provides a school of instruction for cavalry and light artillery, and for the construction and completion of quarters, barracks, and stables at certain posts for the use of the Army of the United States.


“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: That the Secretary of War be, and he is, hereby authorized and directed to establish upon the Military Reservation at Fort Riley a permanent school of instruction for drill and practice for the cavalry and light artillery service of the Army of the United States, and which shall be the depot to which all recruits for such service shall be sent; and for the purpose of construction of such quarters, barracks, and stables as may be required to carry into effect the purposes of this act the sum of two hundred thousand dollars,·or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.”

Immediately after news of the passage of this act became public, Junction City began to boom. During the next few years many optimistic articles appeared in the local press. Extracts from the following of March 5, 1887, are of interest as being typical of these articles and no others will be quoted:

“A Genuine Boom! A Boom for Every Day in the Year and Through All Eternity! ,

“A board of military officers have been at Fort Riley during the week selecting sites for new buildings. It is understood that their estimates for buildings alone call for $1,000,000. They have a special appropriation of $200,000 to begin with,

$50,000 under contract from the general fund, and upon the commencement of the next fiscal year, July 1st, they will get

$50,000 more from the general fund which will be put into new buildings 6efore snow flies.” The article then went on at some length enumerating the proposed strength of the new Post, the size of the monthly payroll and the increased business that would naturally result therefrom.

Early in March, a board of officers composed of Lieutenant Colonel Compton, 5th Cavalry, Major A. A. Woodhull, Surgeon, Captain C. A. Woodruff, 2d Artillery, Captain G. E. Pond, Q. M., Lieutenant H. L. Ripley, 24th Infantry, was appointed to investigate and report upon the sanitary conditions of the post, upon the water supply and sewerage, and to make such recommendations as might be deemed necessary for a considerable increase of the garrison.

March 26th, the following item appeared in the Union: “Sergeant Daly has always claimed to us that in firing the gun at Riley, he raised the sun in the morning and put it in its little bed at night. Uncle Sam has run out of powder and the Sergeant’s occupation is gone. The sun continues to rise and set, however.” This item was caused by the fact that the gun had been fired with surplus powder from Civil War stores; that powder was now all used up and no funds were available


for the purchase of more, so the morning and evening guns were discontinued.

March also saw the arrival of Major Edward B. Williston of the Third Artillery. He was ordered to take charge of the erection of ‘the light battery quarters. General Sheridan with Inspector-General Baird, and Colonel M. V. Sheridan (Mike) of his staff, were on a tour of the middle west. On this trip General Sheridan visited Chicago to inspect the site of the military post which now bears his name and which was presented by the city of Chicago to the government. The General’s party arrived at Fort Riley about the first of April and met with Major Williston. As a result of this meeting, it was decided to locate the artillery school and post where it is now. Work was to be begun as soon as funds were available after July 1st and Major Williston was placed in charge of the work under the general supervision of Captain Pond. Williston Point was named in honor of Major Williston.

Shortly after the visit of General Sheridan word was received that Colonel Merritt was to be made a brigadier general and that Lieutenant-Colonel James F. Wade of the Tenth Cavalry was to be Colonel of the Fifth.

Following the news of the construction at Riley, John Stein, one time sergeant in Company A of the Sixteenth Infantry, started a brick yard north of the Junction City and Fort Kearney track near the old salt well in the vicinity of the round house. Later another brick yard was started just west of Washington Street and opposite the water works. These two yards furnished practically all the brick used in the building of Fort Riley. Captain Pond and some local men, among them John K. Wright, became interested in a company for the manufacture of dry, or pressed brick, but the experiment was a failure. This yard was located in the vicinity of Fogarty’s Mill on the west side of the Smoky Hill River.

Captain Pond’s duties became so arduous that he was relieved from duty as Post Quartermaster in June and allowed to devote all his time to the work of construction.

During this summer a sewage system was being put in and plans for new water works were being prepared. Cattle from neighboring farms were a great nuisance and were frequently driven off by the troops. Between the Mose Waters, Dvche and Weichselbaum herds it was estimated that there were over a thousand head grazing on the reservation.

The Fifth Cavalry left the Post late in July for Fort Reno and part of the Seventh Cavalry, under Colonel James W. Forsyth, arrived about the eighth of September. On the ninth of September, bids were opened for the construction of sixteen buildings for the artillery school.


Colonel Forsyth instituted some reforms at once and issued some rather drastic orders. He established a patrol guard at the bridge to inspect all vehicles for intoxicated men. He clamped down hard on the unauthorized grazing of cattle on the reservation. Cattle caught on the northern edge of the reservation were driven to the southern edge and turned loose. Uniform regulations were very strictly enforced and, everything considered, the first few months of Colonel Forsyth’s period of command were not enjoyed, particularly by the civilians. There had been much smuggling of liquor from the Post to civilians and offenders in this respect were soon severely punished. The Kansas City Times unjustly criticized Colonel Forsyth for the following order: “In future the patrol guard will allow no enlisted men going from the reservation to pass the outpost if he is mounted either on a public or private horse, or in any conveyance other than that of a public carrier, unless he has a mounted pass, approved by the post commander.”

Work commenced on the grading of the parade ground in November. About four or five feet were taken off the parade and various ravines filled in. The ground upon which the Post Theatre now stands was made by this grading, there being nothing but a steep hill there prior to that time.

The Adjutant General of the Army, R. C. Drum advocated messing up all the troops at a post in one building, according to European custom, and the War Department decided to try the scheme out at Fort Riley. Captain Pond visited the dining room of the Soldiers’ Home near Fort Leavenworth in December to look it over and prepare tentative plans for the erection of a similar building at Riley.

The following buildings were completed, or were nearing completion as the year 1887 came to a close: Building Number 1, the Commanding Officer’s Quarters, Cavalry Post; on Forsyth Avenue, four double sets of officers’ quarters, 7, 8, 11, 12; on Sheridan Avenue, three double sets of officers’ quarters, 20.

22. 25; two double sets of cavalry barracks, 36 and 38, and in the Artillery Post, Building Number 100, the Commanding Officer’s Quarters.

Early in February, 1888, a board of officers, consisting of Colonel J. W. Forsyth, Major Dallas Bache, Surgeon, Captain

G. E. Pond, Q. M.. Major S. M. Whiteside, 7th Cavalry, and 1st Lieutenant L. S. McCormick, 7th Cavalry, was appointed to meet at Fort Riley to determine, in view of the changed condition of affairs at that Post, a site for the new hospital to be constructed.

General Sheridan recommended an appropriation of $300,- 000 for continuation of the work at Riley in March and in April the contract for building the hospital was let.

(Photo loaned by Zellner, Junction City)

Waters Hall

(Photo loaned by Zellner, Junction City)

Cavalry Parade With Mess Hall (Now E. and R. Theater) in Background


Mose Waters was infected with the boom spirit about this time for in the March 17th issue of the Union the following notice appeared: “The undersigned will receive proposals for the erection of a stone store building to be built at Fort Riley, Kansas, until 12 o’clock noon Friday, March 30, 1888.

“Plans and specifications may be seen and further information obtained at my office.

“The right is reserved to reject any or all bids or parts thereof, and to waive defects.


Work began on the building in April and it was completed and occupied that summer. This was the building now known as Waters Hall. It was built at a cost of $1 1 ,500 and after the death of Mose in 1889, was sold to the Government by his widow for $5,000. Johnny Brooks, the present janitor at Waters Hall, was in charge of the enlisted men’s bar in the old sutler’s store and later in the new building. He might appropriately be called the “Dean of Waters Hall.” As occupied by Waters the store was very complete. There was a large general store, an enlisted men’s bar, dining rooms for enlisted men and officers and the officers’ club was upstairs with pool and billiard tables, bar, etc.

In the summer of 1888 the remainder of the Seventh Cavalry came to Riley and the Eighth Cavalry passed through on its way to stations in the northwest. The Eighth and part of the Seventh were camped on Republican Flats near where the present rifle range is located. The men of both regiments were paid there for the first time in several months and Mose Waters made a big killing. He established a branch store and bar in a tent near the camp and in about three days’ time took in

$15,000. Beer was hauled to the camp in wagons with a man in the rear selling drinks as he rode and sometimes a keg would be emptied before it reached the tent.

For some time Mosehead (?) been supplying the Post with milk. His herd was maintained at the Milk Ranch (Author’s note: See U. S. M. R. Map–1.000 yards east of North Gate) and was often grazed on the reservation. In May 1888, J. R.Wilson was discharged from Troop G of the Seventh Cavalry as a Sergeant by Captain Edgerly. Wilson, known as “Tug,” and W. F. Ratliff, a sergeant in M Troop of the Seventh, bought the Milk Ranch from Waters. Ratliff was not dis­ charged until later but was in partnership with Wilson from the first. They supplied milk for the entire garrison for a little over six years, maintaining a herd of about one hundred head of cattle. At that time there was a good road through Milk Ranch Gate via Morris Hill over which their milk wagonF


went to the Post. In the summer of 1894 Wilson and Ratliff took a hay contract to supply 2,800 tons. The summer was so dry that, as Wilson stated, “The hay just wasn’t there.” About the same time a man named Clark, who maintained a herd south of the reservation, began to cut in on Wilson and Ratliff and the combination of circumstances broke up the partnership. Wilson sold out to Ratliff and went to live on a place near Wilson Gate where he now resides.

Ratliff continued to supply milk to the Post for a year or two longer when he, too, sold out and went to Manhattan, leaving Clark in undisputed possession of the field. Clark continued until the demand for bottled milk, the testing and more careful handling of dairy products, caused the development of several smaller dairies and gave the consumer a wider choice.

Milk Ranch Gate got its name from the Milk Ranch, Wilson Gate is on the place Wilson moved to after selling out to Ratliff and where he now lives, and Clark’s Gate from the Clark above referred to.

The following buildings were erected, or were nearly completed in 1888. Hospital (north wing only); Mess Hall (now Post Theatre); Reservoir with a capacity of 500,000 gallons; Pump House; Patrol Guard House (Building Number 115, at east end of bridge on Golden Belt Highway) and Waters Hall.

January 26, 1889, the following item of interest was pub­lished in the Union:

“The first act in the correction of a curious oversight in the legislation of years ago was performed Wednesday afternoon in the introduction by Senator Wright of Senate Bill No. 2, ceding to the Federal Government the Fort Riley reservation. Last fall Governor Martin received a letter from the War Department stating that they were unable to find the act ceding the reservation to the general government and asking him where the law could be found. The governor searched zealously for the missing law, but without success, and finally discovered that no such law had ever been passed. Fort Hays, Fort Leavenworth and other reservations had been turned over to national control, but Riley somehow had been overlooked. Governor Martin thereupon wrote a letter to Senator Wright, and suggested that he introduce a bill correcting the oversight. The bill first provides for cession of the reservation, but saves to the state the right to serve civil or criminal process within the reservation in suits or prosecutions for, or on account of, rights required, obligations incurred, or crimes committed in said state, but outside of said cession and reservation, and sav­ ing further to said state the right to tax railroad, bridge and


other corporations, their franchises and property on said reservation.”

Early in the spring of I 889, Captain Pond went to Washington to confer with the Quartermaster General in regard to the construction at the Post.

In March the Legislature of Kansas passed a bill changing the name of Davis County to that of Geary, in honor of Major-General John W. Geary, Territorial Governor of Kansas and Governor of Pennsylvania.

John White Geary was born at Mount Pleasant, Westmore­ land County, Pennsylvania, December 20, I 8 I 9. He attended Jefferson College at Canonsburg but was compelled to leave before graduation because of a business disaster to his father. He opened a school and, besides supporting his widowed mother, paid all his father’s debts. During the Mexican War he raised a company of volunteers which was attached to the Second Pennsylvania. When the regimental organization was completed he was made its Lieutenant-Colonel and was later Colonel. He was distinguished for gallantry in this war. In 1858 he was appointed Governor of Kansas. He was a Brigadier-General at the Battle of Leesburg and fought through the Valley Campaign. In 1866 he was Governor of Pennsylvania. He died in February, 1873.

March 2d the Union stated: “Plans have been made and

approved at Washington for an artificial lake. This large and beautiful lake will be situated a short distance southeast of the new hospital building. In this lake the Government will show what can be done with fish in Kansas.” (Needless to state the lake, although proposed, never had an existence apart from the mind of its would-be creator).

“In addition to the $100,000 given to Fort Riley in the appropriation bill, over $115,000 will be taken from the general army fund. This makes $2 I 5,000 for the current year in addition to the $260,000 already contracted for but not paid, or a grand total of $475,000 to be paid out for improvements at Fort Riley this year.”

The original plans were for three posts and a breeding station, to cost $1,500,000. There was to be a cavalry post, artillery post, and recruit post. The recruit post was to be in the vicinity of Godfrey Court and was the place where recruits for the cavalry service were to be trained.

Secretary of War Redfield Proctor and his private secretary, Major-General John M. Schofield, Commanding the Army, with Lieutenants Bliss and Schofield, aides; Brigadier-General

R. C. Drum, Adjutant-General of the Army; Colonel Thomas

F. Barr, Deputy J. A. General; Major-General George Cook, Commanding the Division of the Missouri and Brigadier-General

(Photo loaned by Zellner, Junction City)

North Wing of Hospital

(Photo loaned by Zellner, Junction City)

Cavalry Barracks

(Academic Building at left. Soldiers from Sixth Cavalry)


M. Merritt, Commanding the Department of the Missouri. with Lieutenant Dodge. A. D. C.. visited the Post in May.

On the 24th of May, Light Battery F of the Fourth Artillery, under command of Captain George B. Rodney, with First Lieutenants C. B. Parkhurst and F. C. French, arrived at the Post. Light Battery A of the Second Artillery, under command of Captain F. C. Grugan with First Lieutenants J.E. Eastman and W. A. Simpson and Second Lieutenant W. P. Stone arrived on the 29th. At this time Major Williston had returned from the East to assume command of the Artillery Post.

About this time the custom of holding Sunday inspections

was done away with and Saturday inspections were started.

June 25, 1889. Moses Waters died. Born in Ireland, he came to America at fifteen years of age and at once drifted west. He was section boss on railroads, buffalo hunter and scout. In 1868 he was with the command of General George

A. Forsyth at the fight on the Arickaree fork of the Republican. Later he was at Dodge City. He came to Fort Riley in 1875 with his splendid record as a scout, with the assistance of General Craig and Lieutenant Winchester of the Sixth Cavalry. secured him the pos:tion of sutler. He bought out McGonigle who afterwards became the manager of his store and continued to be his trusted employee for many years. Hugh Bolin was another trusted employee who became postmaster after the death of Waters. Bolin applied for the position of post trader later in the summer and was one of the most likely applicants but was denied the position because sutler’s stores were abolished.

The Junction City and Fort Riley Street Railway Company.

organized in 1886. had gone out of existence but in the fall of 1889 a second company was formed with the following officers: President, John K. Wright: Vice-President. John Davidson: Treasurer, C.H. Trott. and Secretary. C. L. Linton. During the summer of I 889 L and M Troops of all Cavalry regiments and I and K Companies of all Infantry regiments were made inactive in accordance with a general plan of the War Department for reducing the army. Later these troops and companies were recruited from Indians at various agencies but the Indians proved poor soldiers and that scheme was

abandoned after about a year.

In order to prevent unauthorized trespassing. grazing. etc.. on the reservation. a range rider was employed. Conrad Schmidt was the first one.

Mr. Schmidt enlisted in Company K of the Second Dragoons February 5. I 861. and was discharged December 5. I 866. At the Battle of Winchester, Virginia, September I 9, 1864.


Captain T. F. Rodenbough, afterwards a brigadier general, was in command of the Second. Near the end of a desperate mounted charge Rodenbough’ s horse was shot from under him. The charge was repulsed and in the retirement Captain Roden­ brought was left behind, between the two lines. Sergeant Schmidt noticed the Captain was missing and galloped back to where he was, had Rodenbough mount behind him, and, under the concentrated fire of the Confederates, started for his own lines. Schmidt’s horse was wounded and became unmanageable but brought them both back. For this act Schmidt was awarded the Medal of Honor.

On the 23d of the same month, near Front Royal. Virginia, Sergeant Schmidt and five men were captured by some men of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. The Confederates lined their prisoners up and shot them one by one. In their haste to get away Schmidt was not killed. He was hit by a pistol ball in the upper lip on the left side, the bullet carried away five teeth, passed through his tongue and throat and came out on the right side of his neck just below the ear. Two of the teeth, or fragments of them, stuck in his tongue. One worked its way to the point of the tongue and was removed by Dr. Irwin at Riley in I 866. The other he carried with him until his death.

In I 870, he homesteaded on Humboldt Creek. From 1875 to 1879 he was in charge of the Farmer’s Home in Junction City at which time he became chief clerk to the Quartermaster at Fort Riley. In 1882 his wife died and he ceased working at the Post and moved to town where he remained until he became a range rider.

For a long time he made his round of the reservation fence on a mule. He was monarch of all he surveyed and never failed to keep the fences repaired and trespassers out.

The year 1889 stands as the greatest year of construction in the history of the Post with the following buildings to its credit: Three double sets of officers’ quarters on Forsyth Avenue (15, I 6, and 17), Quarters 26 for a field officer, Dispensary (Building 28, first occupied as officers’ quarters in 1924 by Captain and Mrs. R. L. Coe). Guard House (Building 29, now occupied by the Book Department of the School). two double sets of cavalry barracks ( 34 and 40. 34 is now the Academic Building), the heating plant and engineers’ quarters (72 and 73), six cavalry stables (44, 50, 58, 60, 62, and 64), three buildings for noncommissioned officers’ quarters ( I I 7, 1 I 9, and I 21 ) , two circular latrines for cavalry barracks ( 33 and 41), eight artillery stables (60, 62, 64, 74, 76, 78, 80, and 82). Number 64 was destroyed by fire in June, 191 l and ·rebuilt in 1912. Buildings 77 and 79 were built for

(Photo loaned by Jack Daly)

Bridge Across the Kaw River

(Photo loaned by Zellner, Junction City)

Artillery Administration Building


stable guard and workshops, one gun shed (Building 85, destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1909), two artillery barracks (89 and 93), the artillery administration building (now Second Cavalry Headquarters) and four double sets of officers’ quarters in the artillery post (96, 98, 102, and 104).

In addition to1 the above a steel bridge· across the Kansas River was being built at a cost of $15,000. The north end of this bridge was just behind the Isolation Ward at the Veterinary Hospital and above the railroad track. Smoky Hill Flats was selected as the drill ground and the troops used this bridge in going to and from drill.

The new mess hall was the only building in the Post having its own boilers. It had a seating capacity of 1.000 men. In the southwest corner of the basement was the bakery with two ovens. The building was erected by Ziegler and Dalton at a cost of $45,000. It was opened in December, 1889 with Lieutenant Hare in charge. Latrobe, commonly called “Tobe,” Brommel was discharged at his own request as regimental quartermaster sergeant to become chief cook. Eight troops of cavalry and three companies of infantry (C and D of the Sixth and F of the Thirteenth), nearly 800 officers and men, were messing there. All the artillery barracks constructed had kitchens attached but none of the new cavalry barracks had them. The consolidated mess was for the cavalry post only.

The new central heating plant, with E. M. Wiest as Engineer, was also in operation at the end of this year.

The new breech-loading, rifled 3.2″ guns for the artillery had arrived. Major Williston had assisted in designing these guns as well as a new type of light artillery harness.

About this time the garrison of the Post consisted of the following officers:

Cavalry Post Colonel James W. Forsyth, commanding. Majors-J. M. Bacon and S. M. Whitside.

Captains-Miles Moylan, T. McDougall, Henry J. Noland, Henry Jackson, E. S. Godfrey, F. M. Gibson, W. S. Edgerly,

G. D. Wallace.

First Lieutenants-Luther R. Hare, E. A. Garlington,

W.W. Robinson, E. B. Fuller, regimental quartermaster, John

C. Gresham, L. S. McCormack, adjutant, A. J. Russell, H. J. Slocum, W. J. Nicholson, E. P. Brewer.

Second Lieutenants-James D. Mann, James F. Bell, J. C. Waterman, E. C. Bullock, G. H. Cameron, S. R.H. Tompkins,

J. A. Harmon, T. Q. Donaldson.

Surgeons-John V. R. Hoff, R. R. Ball, Dr. Glennen•. Chaplain-James D. Parker.


Artillery Post

Major E. A. Willston, Third Artillery, Brevet Colonel and commanding Post.

First Lieutenant A. B. Dyer, Fourth Artillery, Battalion Ad­ jutant.

Captain George B. Rodney, Fourth Artillery, commanding

Light Battery F.

First Lieutenants Fourth Artillery-Richard P. Strong and

C. D. Parkhurst.

Second Lieutenant G. W. Gatchell.

Captain F. C. Grugan, Second Artillery, commanding Light Battery A.

First Lieutenants Second Artillery-Victor B. Bridgman and

M. C. Richards.

Second Lieutenant H. L. Hawthorne.

No mention of the garrison would be complete without allusion to its most honored member, Comanche. He was a horse, purchased in the spring of 1868 at St. Louis, Mo.. and joined the Seventh Cavalry at camp near Ellis, Kansas, shortly after, being a five-year-old at the time. When Sully’s expedition against the Indians was organized in 1868, Captain Miles W. Keogh was acting Inspector General on General Sully’s staff. He chose the horse for his own mount and during one of the engagements with some Comanche Indians on the Cimarron River the horse was wounded. After that he was known as “Comanche.” During the Custer Massacre Captain Keogh was killed while riding this horse. When General Terry’s troops arrived on the battlefield two days later they found Comanche wounded in a dozen or more different places by bullets and arrows. It was thought best at first to shoot the horse and put him out of his misery, but Lieutenant H. J. Nowlan, Seventh Cavalry, who was with General Terry’s command and an intimate friend of Captain Keogh, recognized the horse and took charge of him.

After the work of burial was finished Comanche was taken with the wounded soldiers to Bismarck by boat. There he was placed in a livery stable where he remained until fall when he rejoined the Seventh Cavalry at Fort Lincoln.

After Comanche’s wounds were healed he was in great demand as a ladies’ mount. The rivalry among the ladies as to who should be awarded the privilege of riding him became rather intense. Colonel Sturgis, then in command of the Seventh, solved the problem by publishing the following order: “The horse known as Comanche being the only living representative of the bloody tragedy of the Little BigHorn, June

25. 1876, his kind treatment and comfort shall be a matter of special pride and solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh Cavalry, to the end that his life be preserved to the utmost limit.

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