Fort Laramie National Historic SiteI knew little about reading, spelling and arithmetic, while I was well versed in lightning, thunder, vapor and geography. Guy V. Henry Jr. on growing up at frontier military postsWyoming's first public school opened at Fort Laramie in 1852. Schools often suffered from inadequate facilities along with shortages of textbooks, supplies, and qualified teachers. Not until 1881 did regulations make commanders responsible for providing an effective school system.Fort Laramie schools were open to all children, including those of civilians. Enlisted men were required to send their children to the post school. Officers could choose between the post school, educating children at home, or sending them away to private boarding schools.Finding competent, willing teachers was always a problem on the frontier. During the 1850s and 1860s, the post chaplain was given this responsibility, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success.A number of civilians supervised the school during the 1870s and 1880s, most choosing not to renew their contracts beyond their first year. When civilians could not be hired, enlisted men were detailed to teach for 35 cents extra pay per day. A few made good teachers, most did not. Jake Tomamichel, a student at the Fort Laramie school, explained that some soldiers did not welcome the assignment, and that "if the teacher got tired of teaching, he got drunk and [purposely] lost his job." Guy V. Henry Jr. vividly remembered his teachers at Fort McKinney were two captured deserters. "Whatever they said was less spectacular than their appearance in heavy iron shackles."The Post SchoolEducation at Fort Laramie consisted of the basic subjects: reading, penmanship, arithmetic, history, and geography. Books and supplies were purchased th[r]ough the post fund and, at least for a time, dog owners at the post were required to buy licenses, the revenue "to be expended for the benefit of the post school."Classrooms at Fort Laramie were cramped, spartanly furnished, and dangerous on at least one occasion. The post surgeon reported in 1883, "A stray shot fired by some man at target practice in rear of the company barracks passed through the school house door and slightly injured the daughter of the ordinance sergeant."A school for the children of homesteaders and ranchers remained after the army abandoned Fort Laramie, eventually moving to the neighboring town. The last school located in the town of Fort Laramie was closed in 2004, ending a 152-year tradition of education on the western frontier.
|Placed By||National Park Service|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 at 1:01am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||13T E 536491 N 4672224|
|Decimal Degrees||42.20133333, -104.55798333|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 42° 12.08', W 104° 33.479'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||42° 12' 4.8" N, 104° 33' 28.74" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Which side of the road?||Marker is on the right when traveling East|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near Unnamed Road, Fort Laramie WY 82212, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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