Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The purpose of this thesis, FORT WALLACE: A FRONTIER POST DURING THE INDIAN WARS, is to survey the history of Fort Wallace, Kansas, from 1865 to 1882. The history of this frontier post is set within the total scope of frontier army life during the Indian Wars. Fort Wallace was significant in protecting commerce along the Smoky Hill Trail, in protecting the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, in the protection of settlers, and in the military defeat of the Indians. The presence of Fort Wallace in western Kansas prohibited the Indians from greatly restricting travel, settlement, and the westward movement of white civilization. The first chapter surveys military policy in regard to the Plains Indians and the establishment of Fort Wallace for the protection of the Smoky Hill Trail. The construction and development of the post from 1865 to 1876 is presented in the second chapter. Attention is given to the size, style, and manner in which the post was constructed. The military activity of the troops garrisoned or operating out of the base at Fort Wallace is investigated. Indian attacks on the post, the Kidder Massacre, the battle at Beecher's Island, and Indian activity in the vicinity of Fort Wallace are related. Medical problems, especially the cholera epidemic of 1867, are also surveyed. Photographs of the post site, both past and present, are utilized to show post design, constructions, and cemetery. Finally, tables recording the post traders, the post surgeons, and the commanding officer s at Fort Wallace are included.


Leo E. Oliva

Date of Award

Summer 1971

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1971 Ray Douglas Hurt


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