Skip to main content

J. M. Forshee letter from Fort Harker, Kansas

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: RH MS P826


This 8-page letter from J. M. Forshee, a Northern Pacific Railroad operator at Fort Harker, Kansas is written to his friend Jim, "alias Bill," on August 11 [circa 1867], approximately two weeks after Forshee's arrival at the fort. Forshee describes his previous grueling work schedule while at Junction City, the state of the cholera threat at the fort, the extent of the railroad track and its use as far west as Ellsworth, "the Indian threat," and the anticipated arrival of Indian Commissioners on October 1 to seek peace with tribal chiefs.


  • Creation: August 11, 1867?


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of Fort Harker, Kansas

Fort Harker was established in late 1866 to replace the temporary Fort Ellsworth located nearby, in what is now Kanopolis, Ellsworth County, Kansas. The fort was established to protect what was then considered the "permanent" Native American frontier, reduce conflict between Native American tribes and Euro-American settlers, and to stop Euro-American settlers from encroaching on Native American lands.

The fort included buildings for a guardhouse, stables, officers' quarters, and enlisted mens' barracks with a separate kitchen and mess hall. There was also a substantial hospital building; by 1870, the fort cemetery contained 183 graves. Most of those graves were for victims of the 1867 cholera epidemic.

The fort closed in 1872, and the few remaining buildings from the site now serve as a museum in Kanopolis, Kansas.

[Information retrieved from King, Marsha K., "Fort Harker," on Kansapedia,]


1 folder ; 25 x 38 cm

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS P826

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, William J.B. Burger, 2003.

Existence and Location of Copies

A scanned pdf version of this letter is available. Contact staff at or (785) 864-4334 for assistance if wishing to review the scanned version.

Guide to the J. M. Forshee Collection
J. M. Forshee letter from Fort Harker, Kansas
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2007. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2007. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2021, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
J. M. Forshee letter from Fort Harker, Kansas, RH MS P826, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States