Bissell Buzz 2016/2

Bissell Buzz 2016/2

What an exciting first week we have had at the Fort! The visitors are just rolling in and representing the states of Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Virginia already.

Our long awaited pole barn has been completed. This will enable us to store three of our four wagons and properly protect them from the elements of the harsh winter weather. The repairs in our restroom as a result of a water leak have also been completed. Fortunately no exhibits were damaged in this unfortunate event and everything is now better than before.

Finished Pole Barn

Our long awaited pole barn has been completed!

It seems to be very fitting with the Fort re-opening just after Memorial Day, that our Military Room would be visited with much enthusiasm. One of the soldiers’ uniforms turned out to be a well-visited and much talked about exhibit this week. First Barbara Finnegan from Virginia paid us a visit and promptly declared George Christian Larson was her grandfather. Included in the exhibits is a satchel he always carried with him, in which was his bible, manual, 2 rings he made from French coins and a matchbox holder he also made.


She told of his journal that she had transcribed and promised to send us a copy thereof. According to her it begins very upbeat when they arrive at Fort Riley and gets grimmer as they are in the trenches in France in the midst of war. We are excitedly awaiting this transcription and can hardly wait for this to add to our World War I exhibit.

The very next day Carol Larsen Rose visits us and we find out that George was the brother of her father Wallace Larson, making this same soldier her uncle. To add some flavor to their visit, her husband Russell connected to a photo in the sod house – being that of his great-great-grandfather and which is hanging above the bed. Unfortunately he could not give us more information on the odd beard his forefather had and which has been the topic of many a discussion amongst visitors. Franz and Marie Rose homesteaded in 1878 six miles north of Agra, where he died. The bed in the sod house also belonged to them.

Russell Rose

Russell Rose and his great-great parents in the sod house

An interesting snippet from the 1917 Historical Edition of the Phillips County Post:

“A Pair of Patent Boots – This is another John Butler story. A hunter wears out many pair of boots in his rough work and being miles away from Jones’ boot and shoe emporium he must go barefoot or find a substitute, which he is quite clever to do. He cuts off the trotters of the buffalo up to the knee joints, skins down the hide over the bones, cuts off the hoofs, slips the fresh hide over the foot, hair side in, ties it at the ankle and toe with thongs and is well equipped for footwear for several days and feels as gay and sassy as though he had on a pair of French kid boots – unless he happens to step on a cactus plant. This shows the straights incidents to frontier life and the adaptability and resourcefulness of the plainsmen when put upon his metal.” Whoever thought life on the Plains was easy?

Remember we are now open Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm. Hope to see ya all at the Fort!!