Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association Events

Sponsored or co-sponsored by the Association.

November 13th at 2pm: Effects of the Civil War along the Bozeman Trail by local historians Bob Wilson and Sonny Reisch. There will also be a Uniform Exhibit, representative of those worn by U.S. infantrymen and opposition during involvement in previous civil wars.  These include the American Revolution, Spanish-American War, American Civil War, and Vietnam. 

At Kearney Community Hall. No charge.

November 26th and 27th, 2022, Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site hosts the Tenth Annual Kids’ Pheasant Hunt - click here for more info 

December 21st, Fetterman Battle Anniversary. Tour led by Bob Wilson and Kearny's Frontier Regulars - meet at the Fort at 10am. After an introduction on the battle history there will be a guided tour at the Fetterman Battle site.  No charge

2023: 

January 1st: First Day Hikes at Fort Phil Kearny. 

 

 

Past Events 2021 & 2022: 

October 7th & 8th: Full Moon Fort =  Guided lantern tours are back for the 7th Annual Event at Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site on the evenings of October 7th and 8th, 2022 from 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.  This year, tour groups will be capped at 20 people and reservations are strongly suggested in order to guarantee a tour.  Stories will reflect the grisly details of fort life, including real characters at Fort Phil Kearny during the time of Red Cloud’s War against the Bozeman Trail Forts.  

September 18th at 2pm  -  Fort Phil Kearny Cemetery Walking Tour led by Spencer Morris. 

September 20th at 6:30 - "The Historic Bozeman Trail:  A New Journey"

Presentation by Dave McKee at the Johnson County Library, sponsored by the Johnson County Historical Society 

August 20th,  10:00am - 3:30pm Firearms That Influenced Powder River Country 

Where: Fort Phil Kearny and Kearney Community Hall

Description: History along the Bozeman Trail, early cattle drives and western settlement were influenced by the technological advances and design innovations of firearms. Military and commercial firearms and their relationship to historic events from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s will be the focus of the day long program. Admission will be free, thanks to Sheridan County Sportmen’s Association. The event, Firearms that Influenced the Powder River Country, is being held in partnership with Fort Phil Kearny Historic Site, Fort Phil Kearny/ Bozeman Trail Association, Sheridan Community Land Trust and Sheridan County Sportmen’s Association.   
Schedule:
10:00 am - noon Presentation with Bob Wilson and Kearny's Frontier Regulars with Donovin Sprague, Sheridan College History Faculty and enrolled member of the Minnicoujou Lakota,
Topics include Native weaponry, bows and arrows (stone & metal) and firearms, Flintlock, Musket and 1876 Military Firearms and the historical relationship to Fort Phil Kearny.

Noon to 1:00pm - Lunch at Kearney Community Hall
(bring brown bag or purchase from Happy Camper food truck)
- view Exhibits on display in Kearney Community Hall.

1:00pm - 2:30pm Presentations at Kearney Community Hall
1. Danny Michael, Cody Firearms Museum Curator will share about the history of firearms used on the Northern Plains, from the well-known to the ‘how did that get there?’
2. Donovin Spraque, Sheridan College History Faculty and enrolled member of the Minnicoujou Lakota, Firearms and Changes in Native Culture
3. Carrie Edinger, SCLT Historic Program Manager and Mike Kuzara, SC Sportsmen’s Association will co-present regional history and firearms related to early cattle drives, the Texas Trail, and early ranching.

2:30pm - 3:00pm Community members share local history related to historical firearms

- short presentations & digital photos to be projected

To find out more details and share your historic story please contact Carrie Edinger, Sheridan Community Land Trust Historical Program Manager via email: history@sheridanclt.org or office phone (307)673-4702.

 

Aug 22- How To Pack A Pack Saddle- 1pm & 2pm

Ever wanted to learn how to pack like the soldiers did? Well here is your chance! Come observe and discover how to pack a saddle on a live horse in this 30 minute program. Site admission. 

August 29- September 2 

Dave McKee, President FPK/BTA, was part of a three-person panel session along with Susan Badger Doyle and Donovin Sprague (FPK/BTA Advisory Board members) on a “Bozeman Trail Discussion” during the 40th Annual Oregon California Trails Association Convention (OCTA), to be held in Casper August 29-September 2.

 

Historians Susan Badger Doyle and Donovin Sprague, and archaeologist and trail supporter Dave McKee will discuss the history of the trail and its fate today. Doyle will describe the trail’s various routes from the North Platte River in Wyoming to Bozeman, Montana. Based on diaries, survey reports, government documents, maps, and other primary sources, she will show how the Bozeman evolved from an emigrant trail to a military road between forts, and the men who were responsible for the various segments as the route changed over the years from 1863 until it was closed in 1868. Sprague will discuss the tribes’ resistance to the invasion by Whites and the Army trying to protect them. And McKee will provide an overview of the preservation projects and educational programs sponsored by today’s Bozeman Trail Association, as well as details of the association’s on-going project to seek listing of the Bozeman as a National Historic Trail.

In addition to the panel discussion the group will be leading bus tours along the Bozeman Trail on Tuesday (30th) and Thursday (1st) with stops at Fort Reno, Crazy Woman Crossing and Fort Phil. To go on the tours you must register as part of the OCTA conference in order to get a seat. There are fees for these events, to help support the good work of the OCTA . 

For more information on the OCTA please visit https://octa-trails.org/

Aug 7- What to Wear: 1860s Women’s Clothing- 1pm & 2pm

Discover all the articles of clothing women wore in the 1860s in this 30
minute program. Meet at the CCC Cabin near the stockade entrance. Site admission. 

August 2nd, at 10am -“They Surrounded the White Tents"

Wagon Box Fight Anniversary Presentation,

at the Wagon Box Fight Historic Site Wagon Box Road, Story, with Donovin Sprague, Miniconjou Lakota Historian and Author and Bob Wilson & Kearny's Frontier Regulars

On the 155th Anniversary of the Wagon Box Fight Donovin Sprague and Bob Wilson will talk on the last major battle between the U.S. Army and Lakota warriors along the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming.

 

July 25- How To Pack A Pack Saddle- 1pm & 2pm

Ever wanted to learn how to pack like the soldiers did? Well here is your chance! Come observe and discover how to pack a saddle on a live horse in this 30 minute program. Site admission. 

June 12 & July 10 - What to Wear: 1860s Women’s Clothing- 1pm & 2pm

Discover all the articles of clothing women wore in the 1860s in this 30
minute program. Meet at the CCC Cabin near the stockade entrance. Site admission. 

 

June 14- 10am and 2pm - Flags Flying High, Program at the Fort  by Linley Mayer, Interpretive Ranger, Absaroka District. Site admission 

 

June 16th at 6:00pm - History of Native American Languages and Introduction to the Arapaho Language: Presentations by Professor Andrew Cowell, University of Colorado, and Wayne C'Hair, member of the Northern Arapaho Language and Culture Commission, and a native speaker of Arapaho. The significance, history, and the cultural impact of Native American languages are as vast as the territory where they were once spoken. About Professor Cowell: University of Colorado, Department of Linguistics, 2008-current; Chair, Department of Linguistics, 2015-current. One of his main research interests is the indigenous languages of the Western U.S., and he directs the Center for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the West (CSILW). He has published extensively on Arapaho, and also works on Gros Ventre, Arapaho, and Miwok. His interests include both formal linguistics and linguistic anthropology, and he is also involved with language preservation work in the field of endangered languages. Read more about Arapaho Language . At Kearney Community Hall. Free admission. With much appreciation this event is partially funded by the Johnson County Tourism Association and Wyoming Humanities.  

SEE OVERVIEW of this event click here 

 

June 18, 1-3 pm - Tour of the Fetterman Battlefield by Bob Wilson

June 20- How To Pack A Pack Saddle- 1pm & 2pm

Ever wanted to learn how to pack like the soldiers did? Well here is your chance! Come observe and discover how to pack a saddle on a live horse in this 30 minute program. Site admission 

June 5th Performance by the NEW Sheridan Cornet Band (3pm), preceded by a talk on Colonel Carrington by Sonny Reisch at 2pm.  The NEW Sheridan Cornet Band will perform popular music of the 1860s including pieces that may have been played by the 18th Infantry Band at Fort Phil Kearny.  The band, made up of area advanced amateur players and music educators, has been performing 19th Century band music since its beginnings in 1999, when it was a popular part of the Buffalo Bill Days celebrations at the Sheridan Inn.  The NEW Sheridan Cornet Band performed the actual wild west music originally played by Buffalo Bill Cody’s Cowboy Band. Between 1999 and 2010, the band played concerts at the Inn, in downtown Sheridan, and at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.  The band played at Fort Phil Kearny during that time and also gave concerts at Buffalo, Cody, Powell, and Casper, and on two occasions, in Colorado. At Kearney Community Hall. No chargeMay 25th at 6pm, Wildflower and Native Plant Presentation at the Wagon Box Monument was fabulous! Thanks to the wonderful and knowledgeable Mae Smith of Sheridan College. 

 

May 14th from 1-3 pm - Tour at Fort Phil Kearny by Bob Wilson 

 

May 15th at 2pm:  Shining Mountain Interpretive Center Update by Sharie Shada, Fort Phil Kearny Superintendent, and

"The Bozeman Trail: A Journey to National Historic Trail Designation" by Dave McKee, President, FPK/BTA.

At Kearney Community Hall. 

January 1st: First Day Hike! Kick the New Year off right with us as we bring back First Day Hikes on January 1 with a 1-mile easy hike around the parade grounds at 1pm and a difficult hike to Pilot Knob at 2pm. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided by the Bozeman Trail Association.

Past 2021 Events:

December 21st: 155th Anniversary of the Fetterman Battle. Meet at Fort Phil Kearny 10 am for introduction and battle background, then caravan to Fetterman Battlefield for a tour by Bob Wilson and Kearny's Frontier Regulars. There will also be a period weapon demonstration.

 

August 12th Guest Speakers:  Dave McKee on the Bighorn Medicine Wheel

and Donovin Sprague "Lakota & Cheyenne History on the Bozeman Trail"

Free event at Kearney Community Hall

About the speakers:

Dave recently completed a 32-year career with the U.S. Forest Service as an archaeologist, tribal

liaison, and recreation program manager, working on the Medicine Bow, Black Hills, and Bighorn National Forests.  He received a master's degree in anthropology with an emphasis in plains archaeology from the University of Wyoming.

Dave served as the Bighorn National Forest liaison to the National Park Service and American Indian representatives in completion of the nomination for the Medicine Wheel /Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark which is a sacred landscape fo American Indians. The program will cover current management and preservation of the Landmark.  Dave is a member of the Wyoming Archaeological Society, president of the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trial Association, and co-chairman of the Bozeman National Historic Trail project. Dave and his wife Susan live in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Donovin Sprague was born and raised on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and is a member of the Minnicoujou Lakota. He is a university instructor, author of ten books, a historian, and currently teaches history, political science including Wyoming Tribal History, American Indian History & Culture, Tribal Law, Treaties, & Government, and Plains Indian Art, among other courses at Sheridan College.  Donovin is on the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association Advisory Board and the Bozeman National Historic Trail Advisory Committee.

June 5th: Wagon Box Birding and Wildflower Walk with Bighorn Audubon - Thank you to all the participants on this wonderful annual walk. It was gorgeous! Special thanks to Mae Smith of Sheridan College, and Jennifer Williams, Dr. Jackie Canterbury, and Annie Dunn of Bighorn Audubon. After a brief history of the Wagon Box Battle was given, the walk commenced with over 40 species of plants observed, and fourteen species of birds including Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Violet-green Swallow.

 

June 24th: Guided Tour of Fort Phil Kearny at 6pm; Sponsored by the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association.Walking guided tour of the Fort Phil Kearny grounds on June 24th at 6pm led by local historian Bob Wilson, former curator, interpreter, and superintendent at Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site. Bob's tours and in-depth knowledge of the fort and associated events are unparalleled. No reservations are needed. Tour will last about 1.5 hours. State fees apply ($4.00 Wyoming residents, and $8 non-residents; children under 18 free)

July 12th: Book signing with Jerry Enzler, author of "Jim Bridger, Trailblazer of the American West" 6 pm at Kearney Hall, 4444 Highway 87, Banner, WY.

Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site and Fort Phil Kearny / Bozeman Trail Association will host
“Conversation and Book Signing” with Jerry Enzler, author of Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the
American West. This free public event will be held on Monday, July 12th at 6 pm at Kearney Hall, 4444 Highway 87, Banner, WY. The author's presentation will focus on Bridger’s time serving as a guide for the Bozeman Trail. Conversation and discussion with the author are welcome during this event.

 

From Candy Moultan, author and Wyoming native:
“Jim Bridger's story is as big as the West he called his home, and now we have a biography that captures all the nooks and crannies, nuances and tales of Bridger. Just as Bridger left no area unexplored, biographer Jerry Enzler has left no stone unturned in writing Bridger’s life story. Following the iconic frontiersman’s archival trail from his 1804 birth in Virginia to his 1881 death in Missouri, Enzler delivers a comprehensive account in Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West.” (Dust cover, Jim Bridger: Trailblazer of the American West)

PAST EVENTS 2019 

here is the link to the presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnoAXaBlWY4

2019 Veteran's Event - Exhibition of American War Uniforms and Code Talker Presentation

NOVEMBER 10 & 11 from 11am - 4pm Veterans Event: First Time Ever Exhibition of American War uniforms, representing United States Army Infantry uniforms with weapons and accouterments for all the major U.S. Wars from the Revolutionary to Desert Storm.  All weapons are original to the period depicted, along with a number of the accouterments.  A total of 10 of American Wars are represented using 11 mannequins. 
AT KEARNEY HALL (located 1 mile west of I-90 Exit 44) - FREE EVENT
November 10th and 11th at 2pm - Presentation on Native American Code Talkers by HB Puckett, Retired USN Intelligence Officer. That the US Marine Corps enlistment of  Navajo Soldiers as code talkers for secure tactical communications in World War II’s Pacific Theater has been the subject of popular print and film.  What is not as widely known is that more than thirty Native American languages were used in similar fashion by native speakers, to include Northern Plains tribes, by our armed forces in both World Wars. This will be an overview of how those brave servicemen were recruited, trained, and employed, and the amazing contributions of their unbreakable communications in battle. Location Kearney Hall. Free event.

History of Horses on the Plains

This event was on September 7th, 2019 -  from 10-11:30 am 

Location: Kearney Community Hall 

Fascinating and mysterious, the history of horses on the Plains is that and more.

  • Evolution 2 million+ years ago?

  • Did modern horses thrive on the Great Plains 20,000+ years ago?

  • Did extinction occur in the Americas 8-10,000 years ago?

  • When was actual reintroduction to the Americas and by whom?

Dr. Newton’s research focuses on the early contact period and the development of Plains Indian equestrianism.

Sponsored by the Fort Phil Kearny / Bozeman Trail Association and Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site.

Author Paul Hedren

August 22nd, 2019 at 6:30pm

Speaking Event: Author and Historian Paul L. Hedren

Subject: The events leading up to the Battle of the Rosebud, the importance of the battle and its impact on the region. We are fortunate that Paul Hedren will be back in our community to share his extensive knowledge on this important battle and time in our history.​ At: Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library  Free Event

Paul L. Hedren is a retired National Park Service superintendent residing in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the author of many great books including Rosebud June17, 1876 Prelude to the Little Big Horn, Fort Laramie and the Great Sioux War and Great Sioux War Orders of Battle: How the United States Army Waged War on the Northern Plains, 1876–1877.

The Battle of the Rosebud may well be the largest Indian battle ever fought in the American West. The monumental clash on June 17, 1876, along Rosebud Creek in southeastern Montana pitted George Crook and his Shoshone and Crow allies against Sioux and Northern Cheyennes under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. It set the stage for the battle that occurred eight days later when, just twenty-five miles away, George Armstrong Custer blundered into the very same village that had outmatched Crook. Historian Paul L. Hedren presents the definitive account of this critical battle, from its antecedents in the Sioux campaign to its historic consequences.

This FREE event on August 22nd  is co-sponsored thanks to the Sheridan County Fulmer Library, Sheridan County Museum, Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association and the Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site.

 

Please note on August 24th, 2019 8:30 am – 12pm, there will be a Rosebud Battlefield guided TOUR by State Park Ranger Spencer Morris and hosted by Wyoming Archaeological Society, Sheridan-Johnson County Chapter.  “Spencer will show us the breastworks on Crook's Hill and take us over to explore Packer's Rocks. We will then circle around Conical Hill and head back down to visit what is left of the Frederick Wilhelm Von Kollmar homestead site. The park is located near Busby, Montana, and the non-resident fee is $6 per car load. Please remember to bring cash. No reservation needed.”

Bozeman Trail Symposium

August 4th, 2019 Speakers: 9:00am - 11:45am  (speaking event is free)
Box Lunch: 12noon - $10 per person
Bus Tour: 1:00pm - 5:30pm - $30 per person  (limited to 50 people)
ALL Events - Speakers - Lunch - Bus Tour: $40 per person

Three speakers include authors John Hart (Bluecoat and Pioneer; The Recollections of John Benton Hart, 1864–1868 By John Benton Hart, Edited by John Hart) and John Russell (Treasure State Tycoon: Nelson Story and the Making of Montana), and local Historian Sonny Reisch.

The guided bus tour, with historians Bob Wilson and Sonny Reisch, will be limited to 50 people in an air-conditioned comfort bus with snack and beverage. There are restrooms on board. The tour will be of the Tillotson Fight, Dec. 6th Fight, French Pete Site, Shurly Fight, Battle of Tongue River and more.

 

About the speakers:

John Hart is the author of sixteen books. Born in California, completing his ancestors’ westward drift, he explored eastern roots while at Princeton (BA 1970), but left the beckoning academic track to become a freelance writer. His topics have included Western water policy, farmland preservation, and wilderness travel; he is also a poet, with a collection, The Climbers, in the Pitt Poetry Series. He hopes to make it up Cloud Peak this trip!

 

John C. Russell was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1978. He has worked as a broadcast reporter in television and radio, and most recently as director of the Gallatin (County) Historical Society. John has written several historical articles, one published in Wild West Magazine. He and his wife Peggy live in Bozeman. This is his first book.

 

Sheridan native Sonny Reisch attended Casper College and then the University of Wyoming where he earned his degree in history. He served as Superintendent, Historian, and Curator at Fort Phil Kearny for 25 years. Life experiences gave Sonny the opportunity to know Dr. Joe Medicine Crow of the Crow tribe, Ted Risingsun and John Wooden Leg of the Cheyenne, Jack McDermott, and many other highly respected individuals. As a professional historian, Sonny has published numerous articles on the Bozeman Trail, the Forts, and Indian Wars that are hailed as valuable and accurate resources, and has left a treasury of research on the history of the Bozeman Trail and FPK sites, and continues today.

Crazy Woman Crossing Battles

July 20th 2019 at 9am – Crazy Woman Crossing Battles Presentation. On the 153rd Anniversary of the Templeton Fight, G.L. “Buck” Damone III, BLM Archaeologist, will be presenting new findings on this battle and other battles along Crazy Woman Creek during 1866 and 1867. Buck’s discoveries are based on his extensive research of the Bozeman Trails crossing of Crazy Woman’s Fork. This was perfect terrain for Lakota and Cheyenne warriors – defending their homelands from what they saw as an invasion – to surprise and attack road weary emigrants and soldiers.
Shortly after Colonel Carrington’s enormous wagon train passed the crossing on their way to build Fort Phil Kearny, several warriors attacked a small train under the command of Lieutenant George M. Templeton on July 20th, 1866. The roughly 35-40 poorly armed soldiers and civilians including three women and three children defended themselves in a battle that inspired Templeton to write,
“I never before thought death so near.”
 
July 20th  2019 
9am – 10:30am
at Kearney Community Hall, 4444 Hwy 87, Banner.
Free event. No reservations needed.

Wagon Box Birding and Wildflower Walk

Dr. Jackie Canterbury of Bighorn Audubon and Janelle Gonzales, BLM on June 2nd lead a wonderful group of 50+  exploring the rich grasslands of the Wagon Box site and the Little Piney Creek riparian area. "the wildflowers in this area are magnificent in early June, and the open grasslands surrounding the historic site support Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows and other grassland sparrows. Little Piney Creek is an excellent riparian habitat of cottonwoods and aspen. Lazuli Buntings, American Redstarts and MacGillivarys's Warblers are know to nest in the area, and Ovenbirds can be heard from the trees." Birds and Birding in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains Region by Dr. Jackie Canterbury, Paul Johnsgard and Helen Downing.

Meet at Wagon Box site, 9am. Free event.

Screening Wyoming PBS Bozeman Trail Documentary

On May 13th and 14th, Wyoming PBS hosted a screening of The Bozeman Trail: A Rush to Montana’s Gold, a locally produced film documenting the trail which became a shortcut to newly discovered gold fields in Montana Territory. A panel discussion with producer Tom Manning will follow the screening. Light snacks will be served.

About the documentary:  The Bozeman Trail was a shortcut to the newly discovered gold fields of Montana Territory. Cutting through the heart of Indian country, it provoked a clash of cultures that exploded into warfare, destruction and tragedy. It was a singular road that changed this part of the American west forever.

Walking Back 10,000 Years  2019 

This was a fabulous event on April 27th at 10am - Walking Back 10,000 Years of Human History on the Western Great Plains and Middle Rocky Mountains  - at Fort Phil Kearny. Join us for the Talk or a Talk and Walk with Archaeologist Cody Newton, PhD. - Cody studied the archaeology of the western Great Plains and middle Rocky Mountains. His dissertation research focused on the early contact period and the development of Plains Indian equestrianism. Other research foci include Paleoindian studies, early European exploration and settlement, the historic bison robe trade, and the Plains Indian Wars. This event is also an introduction of Fort Phil Kearny’s 4.2 mile Walking Path.  Guests can choose either a gentle walk or continue on to a more rigorous walk to Pilot Knob. Refreshments will be served after the walk. Meet at Fort Phil Kearny at 10am. Free event.

 

First Day Hikes 2019

January 1st, 2019 meet at the Interpretive Center at noon. We know that New Year's celebrations are all about the SPARKLE! ✨ Come to Fort Phil Kearny and see the glittering view of the Big Horns, Lake DeSmet, and the Piney Creek Valley from atop Pilot Knob, among the 5,000+ year old stone circles.
You'll be starry-eyed from more than the climb!  It IS a vigorous hike, please come prepared!

 

Fetterman Battle Tour Dec. 21 2018

On Friday December 21st, 2018, Bob Wilson and members of Kearny's Frontier Regulars conducted an anniversary tour of the Fetterman Fight.  The public was invited to arrive between 9:30 and 10am with an opportunity to review the museum and enjoy hot drinks and snacks before an introductory talk describing the morning activities at the fort on Dec. 21,1866, the weapons used by both the military and natives in the engagement, outlying historic points, and the route to the battle.  We will then car-pool to the battlefield for a walk through the battlefield, with interpretation of how the battle unfolded.  Following the tour folks are invited back to the fort for questions and answers and additional warm treats.  Be sure to dress for the weather and wind.  Fort Phil Kearny is located three miles west off exit 44 interstate 90 on the road to Story.

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