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Richard Blake letters

Call Number: RH MS P32


Richard Blake was a sutler at Fort Wallace, Kansas, during the 1860's. He wrote several letters to relatives about life on the army post. Included with the letters were seven photographs made by a visitor to Fort Wallace, Dr. William A. Bell, who was the photographer for the Kansas Pacific Railway Expedition.


  • 1867 - 1868


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

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


10 folders (3 letters + 7 photographs)

Scope and Contents

The photographs are of buildings at Fort Wallace, William Comstock, who was a scout and Indian interpreter, Richard Blake, and of the mutilated body of Sgt. Wyllyams as it was found after a battle with Cheyenne Indians on June 26, 1867. Dr. Bell included an account of his time at Ft. Wallace in his book New Tracks in North America. He describes finding Sgt. Wyllyams' body on the battlefield and being horrified at the mutilations on the body. Bell then explains that he later learned that the mutilations were actually signs left by the different tribes that particiapted in the battle. Thus he explains that the throat being cut meant that Souiz warriors were present; the arm slit to the bone meant that Cheyennes or "Cut Arms" were present; the slit nose that the "Smeller" tribe of Arapahoes were also present. The arrows in the body had different markings on them showing them to be from different tribes. The photograph of William Comstock, who by age 21 had gained a reputation as a frontierman, guide, scout, and Indian interpreter, was made shortly before his death. Comstock served as a scout at Pond Creek Station and Fort Wallace, then was called to Ft. Riley in June 1867 by General George Custer to be a scout for Gerneral Hancock's Indian Expedition of 1867. He was killed by Cheyenne Indians in August 1868 after leaving Black Kettle's Cheyenne camp on the Soloman River.

Physical Location


Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Walter R. Benjamin, July, 1963

Guide to the Richard Blake Collection
Richard Blake letters
Finding aid prepared by lgg 1972; rev. nb 1991;Finding aid encoded by rw 2008, 2008; revised by mrm, 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Richard, Blake Collection , Kansas Collection, RH MS P32, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

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

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States