Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Washita Battlefield, Cheyenne, OK

From Wiki:  Washita Battlefield National Historic Site protects and interprets the site of the Southern Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle where the Battle of Washita occurred.  Just before dawn on November 27, 1868, the village was attacked by the 7th U.S. Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Custer.
The strike was hailed at the time by the military and many civilians as a significant victory aimed at reducing Indian raids on frontier settlements as it forced the Cheyenne back to the reservation set aside for them. However, Washita remains controversial because many Indians and whites labeled Custer's attack a massacre. Black Kettle is still honored as a prominent leader who never ceased striving for peace even though it cost him his life. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and was listed on the National Register of historic places in 1966
In my opinion, and I qualify it with fact that I wasn't there and, I didn't live in those time, but, in retrospect, we did some terrible things to our Native Americans.  I realize there were enough atrocities to go around from both sides, but oh my, how sad it makes me feel.  And for the poor soldiers as well, who were just taking orders.  But many went way beyond written or spoken orders.
These pics are from within the museum or from the actual site of the battlefield.  The battlefield is located about a mile west along the south side of the Washita River bank, approximately 2 miles northeast of Cheyenne, OK.
On the fence in the background, note the many cloth memorials tied around the upper rungs.  They represent descendants' tie to their long lost family members who lost their lives on that fateful day. I wasn't really are of photographing them until after I went over and read the signage (above).  My apologies to the families, but no mal-intent is intended here.
Above, the May 15 afternoon sun shines on the visitor center.  Behind me down the road lies the battlefield memorial.
We parked the motor home in town at a little town park.  It was a dry camping night, but the weather was pleasant.  There many activities going in the park.  Playgrounds, ball fields, grassy areas for games and girls softball hitting practice.
There was even a small reconstructed village in the park dedicated to the early days of the town.
This is a short blog, but that's OK because some of my blogs are too long.  So it's refreshing to do one in 10 minutes.  This blog is way late, as I write it from Tacoma, WA June 22, 2015, right after the US Open.  Till our next blog,  Joe and Nancy, the RVing Beach Bums signing off. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fort Smith, AR

We left Hot Springs Friday morning, May 15,  and headed to Fort Smith, AR.  We stayed at an old closed Army base, Fort Chaffee.  It now is occupied by the Arkansas National Guard.  It seemed to be a fairly busy base as there lots of activity.  Perhaps it was because it was a weekend and a lot of soldiers were getting their points in for the month.
From Wiki: 
The site was established in 1961 in order to protect the remains of two 19th-century U.S. military forts, including a building which once housed the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Fort Smith was also notable as a major stop along the "Trail of Tears." It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
The park visitor center is now located in the old Barracks/Courthouse/Jail building. Exhibits in the visitor center focus on Fort Smith’s military history from 1817–1871, western expansion, Judge Isaac Parker and the federal court's impact on Indian Territory, U.S. Deputy Marshals and outlaws, Federal Indian policy, and Indian Removal including the Trail of Tears.
Located on the grounds are the foundation remains of the first Fort Smith (1817–1824), the commissary building (c. 1838) and a reconstruction of the gallows used by the federal court. A walking trail along the Arkansas River includes wayside exhibits on the Trail of Tears.
Above, the visitor's center, and below, posters for several movies that were filmed here.
Fort Smith embraces the remains of two frontier forts, plus the Federal courtroom of the Western District of Arkansas. Hanging Judge Isaac C. Parker's court and jail have been restored as reminders of 80 turbulent years in the history of the government's Indian policies (1817-1896). The museum exhibits illustrate the court's impact on the Indian Territory (Oklahoma), U.S. Marshals, outlaws and regional history.Hanging Judge Parker's infamous gallows have been recreated on the site of the original structure.
There were a lot of bad boys in the Western Frontier, and Judge Parker used his gavel and gallows freely.  Unfortunately, in trying to maintain law and order, many US Marshalls were killed in the process.
Reconstructed sections of the old jail...
We happened to be here during National law enforcement week.  And the local police and sheriff's office along with the NPS Rangers conducted a nice memorial service for all the fallen officers, from the days of Judge Parker up to the most recent lost-in-the-line-duty officer.
The flag was placed at half-staff for the service, the bagpipes did Amazing Grace, and taps were played.  Pretty nice.
Above, Nancy walks along the parade grounds while glancing at the little memorials placed along the walkway by the Eagle Scouts several years ago memorializing the officers who were killed during the early days of Fort Smith.
Above, the old commissary building.  Below, a couple pics from inside.
The reconstructed gallows, located on the spot where the original one stood.
We walked over to the location of the original Fort Smith, which was very near the banks of the Arkansas River.
Nancy looking at the foundations of the old fort...
...and more of the old foundation..
Above, an artist who was present the day Cherokee Bill was hanged, sketched the image above.  Below, a list of Judge Parker's hangings.
After Fort Chaffee was BRACC'ed in 1994, most of the gates and guard shacks for those gates were closed and retired.  Someone took the initiative to salvage and preserve one of the guard houses. 
It's also noteworthy that the base has remembered some of the significant events the base was asked to support and provide.  These plaques describe two of those events.
Well, that about wraps up our stay in the Fort Smith area, and the tornado warnings we experienced one evening as well.  Scary!  In a motorhome especially!  So, from the Monaco Maintenance facility in Coburg, OR, this 6th day of June, 2015, RVing Beach Bums signing off.