Old Guard Mess and Muster
The Fort Larned Old Guard held their annual meeting, called the Mess and Muster, at Fort Larned and the Larned Community Center on Saturday, April 27th. Along with their yearly membership meeting they also had two talks on subjects related to frontier military history. The two talks were Comanche and Kiowas, and Fort Larned by Tim Zwink, a historian with the Oklahoma Historical Society, and History of the Tipi with Battle Pictures by Matt Reed, curator of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Fort Larned staff and living history volunteers also presented the traditional Army flag lowering ceremony known as Retreat after the meeting ended.
In the evening the Old Guard hosted the Kansas premier of The Daughter of Dawn, a silent film made with a cast of 300 Kiowas and Comanches who brought their own horses, clothes and tipis to use on the set. Both the male lead, White Parker, and one of the main female leads, Wanada Parker, were played by descendents of the great Comanche Chief, Quanah Parker. The movie had been lost but was recently discovered and restored. It was offered free of charge with an introduction and commentary provided by Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Both events were well attended with over 140 people who came to hear the afternoon talks and 320 who watched the movie in the evening.
As Fort Larned's friends' group, the Fort Larned Old Guard supports the historic site through fundraising efforts, and artifact donations, most recently by purchasing and giving to the fort the cavalry sword of Frank Baldwin, a double winner of the Medal of Honor who was stationed at Fort Larned in the 1870s. The Old Guard also owns and cares for the site of the Cheyenne-Sioux Indian village, which Gen. Hancock burned down in the spring of 1867.
Did You Know?
Fort Larned's restored 1870's army ambulance was frequently used by officers for transport. The fifth-wheel design and extra springs gave it a much smoother ride than most wagons.