• Fort Parade Ground and Officers Quarters as seen from Guardhouse

    Fort Scott

    National Historic Site Kansas

Officers' Quarters-Overview

Reenactors portraying an officer, his wife and their children

A real life family portraying an officer and his family.

NPS Photo

Officers inhabited the top of the social scale at Fort Scott. Most officers came from well to do families and were well connected politically and socially. Both they and their wives were accustomed to privilege.

Officers' wives and their chidren frequently accompanied them to their posts. Families adapted to the harsh, often hostile environment and the frequent separations and moves. His wife brought her civilizing influence to bear on isolated posts and to the men stationed there.

Despite having to endure low pay and near constant indebtedness, being ranked out of quarters on little or no notice and lack of fresh food and accustomed comforts, the Frontier Army wife is aptly described as "a kind of tough, weather proof, India-rubber woman. Serene and unruffled in all situations."

People in this station could choose to represent an officer's wife, but could also choose to represent an officer or a servant. The station will be held inside the furnished officers' quarters.

 
Officers' Quarters at Sunset

Officers' Quarters No. 1 at sunset

NPS Photo

There were originally four complete sets of officers' quarters at Fort Scott. Of these, two and one-half are still standing but only half of one is furnished as an officer's quarters.

Known as Swords' Quarters or Officers' Quarters No. 1, this building is thought to have been the quarters of Captain and Mrs. Thomas Swords and Captain and Mrs. Burdett Terrett.

When the fort was abandoned in 1853, the buildings were sold at public auction. This building became the Fort Scott or "Free State" Hotel.

Occupants of the hotel participated in the violence of the "Bleeding Kansas" years, some of which took place right outside its doors. In the 20th century, the building served as a museum-Headquarters House-for several years prior to 1978, when the site became a National Historic Site.

Today, half of the building serves as the administrative office of the National Park Service and the other half is restored to its 1840s appearance.

 
 
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Did You Know?

Captain Thomas Swords

Captain Thomas Swords, the quartermaster in charge of building Fort Scott, said that the other officers were of no assistance in planning and designing the fort and that "none of them can draw a straight line even with the assistance of a ruler".