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Civilian, Military, and Native American


This 330-page softcover edition, published in 1993, was written by Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association members. The book contains fifty biographies of those people who were a part of the Fort Phil Kearny story in “Dakota Territory” in the 1860s. Thirty photos are included, some very rare.

Portraits of Fort Phil Kearny is the story of men, women, and children at or near the fort, in the Indian camps on Tongue River, and those traveling the Bozeman Trail. Some are famous, like chief guide and interpreter Jim Bridger, a young Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, civilian contractor John “Portugee” Phillips, and Lt. William Judd Fetterman. Most are not famous. All add richness and depth to the story.

The authors came from around the nation, and one foreign country, and they write from their own particular experience and points of view. Some are scholars, some are descendants of participants. Among them are journalists, librarians, historians, teachers, and an archaeologist, student, biologist, artist, nurse, and others.

From Katie Curtiss, Civilian, Military, and Native American Portraits of Fort Phil Kearny Project Director, and former Board Member and current Advisory Board Member of the FPK/BTA:

“When we think of forts on the high plains, we think of soldiers in blue uniforms and warriors in bright feathers and paint. One can glance through a western history textbook and learn of the numbers killed and wounded in the Fetterman and Wagon Box fights; of the tide of emigrants beginning to tumble onto the plains to find their way north to the Montana gold fields; and of the Northern Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho trying to preserve their land and way of life.

But history is more than broad themes and skirmishes; the building blocks of history are the individual experiences.

The men and women who participated in ‘Red Cloud’s war’ did not walk away from those days without haunting memories and new attitudes. For many Native American leaders and warriors these were the times in which they developed leadership and warrior skills and formulated policies as to how to deal with the ever-larger tide of encroaching settlers.

All of their stories can help us to better understand the later economic and cultural developments that unfolded on the high plains of Wyoming. The challenge is to understand a shared historical past without denying the importance of and validity of a different cultural past”


This book is dedicated to the memory of Bozeman Trail Explorer, Mark D. Badgett.

Funded by the Homer A. and Mildred S. Scott Foundation, with financial assistance from the Peter Kiewit Foundation.

Available at the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association Bookstore - or call 307-684-7629

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