Fort Scott National Cemetery

(Deb) Welcome back, folks. (Frank) [laughs] (Deb) It’s been a great experience for me sharing all the national cemeteries with you this month that are in Kansas and obviously some beautiful places and very appropriate to visit sometime this month or anytime. (Frank) Well, Memorial Day is coming up too. So, it will be a great time. (Deb) Memorial Day is coming up. It’ll be a great time, most of the cemeteries will be decorated and a lot of them will have people there to answer questions or help you find folks. WaKeeney is a State Veteran Cemetery. And that’s really neat, in fact, Dr. Jake and his Calvary crew will be doing the color guard there for their ceremonies. So, even though the national cemeteries are really wonderful, most of the cemeteries will have some kind of veterans’ service. They have the local VFW, American Legion and somebody comes out and does something. So, find out what’s going on in your neighborhood and go out and support those, because these guys work awfully hard that weekend to get around to do all those services. (Frank) So, she’s going to talk to you about Fort Scott. (Deb) Fort Scott National Cemetery is located on the eastern outskirts of the city of Fort Scott. Fort Scott is located midway between Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, on the route historically known as the Military Road. Fort Scott was established in 1842 and named for Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, then, General-in-Chief of the U.S. Army. The fort’s primary purpose was to maintain a three-way peace among Native American tribes forcibly relocated from Florida and the East, local tribes, and incoming white settlers. Troops guarded caravans on the Santa Fe Trail and patrolled the vast frontier territory. During the 1840s, the Army established a cemetery on the west side of town to accommodate the burial of soldiers who died while stationed at the Fort Scott garrison. In 1861, town officers and citizens of Fort Scott purchased approximately four acres southeast of the old post for use as a community burying ground. Since the cemetery was controlled by the Presbyterian Church, it was known as the Presbyterian Graveyard. After the start of the Civil War, the new cemetery was used for the interment of soldiers stationed at Fort Scott. When Congress approved the creation of national cemeteries in 1862, the cemetery became one of 14 national cemeteries to be designated or established as such that year. On Nov. 15, 1862, the Presbyterian Graveyard and an adjoining tract owned by the Town Company were designated as Fort Scott National Cemetery. After the war’s end in 1865, the remains of those buried in the old military cemetery, as well as other soldiers buried in the vicinity, in Missouri and Kansas, were re-interred at Fort Scott National Cemetery. Following the close of the Indian Wars and resettlement of Native Americans, the Army closed or consolidated many of its small military outposts in the West. As a result, between 1885 and 1907, the federal government vacated numerous military post cemeteries, such as Fort Lincoln, Kansas, and re-interred the remains at Fort Scott National Cemetery. Eugene Fitch Ware, a noted Kansas poet, is buried in Grave 1 in the heart-shaped section of the cemetery. Ware was a Connecticut native who moved to Ft. Scott at the age of 26 in 1867 and spent the remainder of his life in Kansas. Ware served in the 7th Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War and was based at Ft. Scott. After the war, he entered the bar and practiced law at Ft. Scott and became active in Kansas politics. Ware achieved fame as a poet writing under the pseudonym, Ironquill. He was a prolific poet and some of his most famous works include “The Washerwoman’s Song” and “John Brown.” A large native sandstone boulder marks Ware’s grave. The natural beauty of this boulder impressed Ware and one of his final requests was that it be used as his grave marker. Also interred at Fort Scott National Cemetery are the remains of 16 Native American soldiers–all privates in the Indian Regiments of the Union Army who served as invaluable scouts. Fort Scott National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

(Deb) Goodbye to me. (Frank) [sings] Crazy [laughs]. (Deb) Crazy. It’s been crazy. (Frank) I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere (Both) Around Kansas.

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