Saturday, November 24, 2018

The times, they were a changing

Most integrated battle force of the 19th century

By Rob Carrigan,

The times, they were changing, at the turn of the 20th Century. 
"It was designated the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry and often called Roosevelt's Rough Riders. They were named after Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders, the traveling show that was popular at the time," according to John Hutchinson, in article in the Camp Verde Bugle.
"The idea was reportedly born in Prescott by former sheriff and then-Mayor Buckey O'Neill, Alexander Brodie, who later was to become territorial governor appointed by Roosevelt, and James McClintock. The three originally planned an entire regiment of cowboy cavalry. Three troops were eventually formed.
"Nearly 300 joined with him and they rode to San Antonio, Texas, and were received with open arms.
The Northern Arizona Cavalry was rapidly filled and called "A" Troop. The "B" Troop of the squadron was selected from Southern Arizona. Brodie commanded the First Squadron of four troops. O'Neill was captain of "A" Troop.
The Rough Riders landed at Daiquirí in June 1898. Three days later, they saw their first action with O'Neill leading his men in the front of the line for Las Guasimas capturing the Spanish flank.
On July 1, Capt. O'Neill was killed in combat below Kettle Hill while commanding "A" Troop. William Pulsing, a German-American businessman of New Orleans, recounted O'Neill's death: "Troop 'A' took part in the general advance on Santiago. The Mauser bullets were whizzing rapidly over us, but Captain O'Neill, who was always accustomed to expose himself recklessly to fire, stood upright, apparently unconscious of danger.  He was talking to an Adjutant General. Suddenly a Mauser bullet struck him squarely in the mouth, going in so evenly that his teeth weren't injured. He fell to the ground at once, and a man named Boyle, who was afterward killed in battle, picked him up and carried his body to the rear.  He died there in a few seconds."
The whole town of Dolores, where I grew up, also considered Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, a fragment of their own history and the prominent heroes of our specific past.
At least three of the 1,250 1st United States Volunteer Calvary hailed from the little town of Dolores, where I grew up. The 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry was first commanded by Colonel Leonard Wood.
Dolores cowboys James E. Akin and William H. Brumley, Jr. were both in Troop G, and Carl John Scharnhorst (or Schornhorst in some muster info), Jr., who served first in Troop F, then transferred to Troop I in San Antonio.When American newspapers cried out, "Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain," the boys from Dolores, along with group from Durango, and Theodore Roosevelt, serving at the time as assistant secretary of the Navy, dropped everything to heed the call. Roosevelt resigned his office on May 6, 1898 — the day he secured a commission — and set about putting together a cavalry regiment to lead into battle.
Roosevelt helped put together and train the outfit comprised of cowboys, hunters, miners, Indians, policemen, bronc busters and men from Harvard, Yale and Princeton, becoming "The Rough Riders," a moniker adopted from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
Most of the members of G Troop were from the New Mexico Territory, a total of 37. The second most prolific state was Illinois with 12. Other states represented include Texas, Arizona, Missouri, New York, Massachusetts, the Indian Territory, Louisiana, Kansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Michigan, Colorado, New Jersey, Kentucky, California, West Virginia and Nebraska. Most all enlisted at Santa Fe in early May, 1898, and were to receive their training at San Antonio which was selected as the training center for the 1st US Vol. Cavalry.
Colonel Wood arrived in San Antonio on Thursday, May 5, 1898. The contingent from New Mexico arrived on May 10. For the time being they were quartered in the Exposition Hall near the center of the fairgrounds. On May 11, Colonel Wood announced that there would be three squadrons of four troops each. Each troop would contain 65 but later was increased.
On May 12, the regiment was taken on a long extended drill of marching several miles from camp and over two hours of drill. Squadron drill came in the afternoon, followed by first regimental drill formation. On May 14, G Troop was issued their Krag Model 1896 carbine.
Roosevelt, by his monied connections and notable influence, had made that happen, as well, by "hurrying up the different bureaus and telegraphing my various railroad friends, so as to insure our getting carbines, saddles and uniforms that we needed from the various armories and storehouses," as he wrote in his book, "Rough Riders."
May 18, had the excitement of the demonstration of a new weapon, Colt’s rapid fire guns. These guns could fire 500 rounds per minute. On May 19, tents arrived at the camp. These were dog tents consisting of two pieces four feet wide, and six-and-a-half feet long, buttoned together over a ridge pole about three feet high.
Drill continued all through May. The heat was punishing with several of the Rough Riders suffering its effects, but they continued to drill. May 29 reveille sounded at 3 a.m., an hour earlier than usual. By 9 a.m., the regiment was on their way to the stockyards to load on the waiting trains.
The Rough Riders reached Tampa June 2. Not having enough transport ships, the Rough Riders would go as dismounted cavalry. They would operate as infantry while in Cuba.
G Troop would travel to Cuba on the transport ship the "Yucatan" and arrive at Daiquiri on June 22. The landing at Daiquiri was unopposed. Any Spanish in the area had already took off toward Santiago.
William H. H. Llewellyn served as the captain of Troop G.
Llewellyn had previously served as Indian Agent on Mescalero Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. He soon became one of the few agents who considered the welfare of his charges, worked for their betterment, subjected them to discipline and won their respect. He organized an Indian police force and strove to bring the lawless situation on the reservation under control. Going hunting with them, the Mescaleros called him “Tata Crooked Nose”.
In 1883 he also became agent for the Jicarilla Apaches and supervised their transfer to the Mescalero reservation. Later he established an Indian boarding school, added a doctor to the agency staff and had the Indians join the Cattle Growers Association.
In Cuba Captain Llewellyn was credited with an important contribution to the American victory in the battle for a hill at San Juan. Dubbed “Kettle Hill”, a sentry named Ralph McFie had been posted for night duty, when he heard the stirrings of Spanish troops moving into position. Retreating to his own lines he was intercepted by Captain Llewellyn. McFie was also from Las Cruces and Llewellyn knew him well. The Captain lost no time to notify headquarters, causing the promoted Colonel Roosevelt to order an early counterattack that went into history as the celebrated charge of San Juan Heights.
McFie’s vigilance and Llewellyn’s prompt action earned the latter a promotion to Major. The campaign also caused him to contract yellow fever and put him into the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
As Roosevelt’s comrade-in-arms on San Juan Heights, Llewellyn returned to Las Cruces as something of a war hero.
Since the 1890’s Llewellyn had been a member of the New Mexico Territorial Militia, and when he was appointed Judge Advocate General of the New Mexico National Guard, he was promoted to Colonel. He also was active since at least 1899 in New Mexico’s long drawn out struggle for statehood, in fact serving as Speaker of the House in the Territorial Legislature. He served in the Constitutional Convention of 1910 and in November 1911, was chosen a member of New Mexico’s first state legislature, where he represented Dona Ana County.
Fifty rears afterwards, the Prescott Daily Courier recalled Dolores local William Brumely's visit.
"Billy Brumley of Dolores, Colo., whose memory for names and incidents after a half century is amazing, tells a good story about the battle of Las Guasimas which occurred on June 24, 1898, the Rough Riders' first engagement in Cuba," reported the paper.
"WE HAD reveille at 3:45 a. m. and were told we were going to attack." the 68-year-old veteran started. "We fell into file (single line) and started toward the Spaniards." He explained the First Volunteers were on a ridge to the left of the Negro 10th outfit and the Third Cavalry, which was moving up a parallel ridge. "After about three hours of going forward through the jungle, we heard several volleys of shots," the now retired hotel owner recalled. "I threw away my rations and hung onto my Krag-Jorgensen carbine, the .45 Colt six-shooter and about 100 rounds of ammunition." HE SAID they were given an order to "spread wide and fire at will." The battle started with the Spaniards holed up in a jungle clump of cane, mangos, and other tropical trees. "We crawled and waded into the thicket," he said. "The man on my right, Harry Hefner, was hit in the stomach and killed. Louie Givers, on my left, was shot in the hip. The Spaniards' bullets were zipping. He went back to recall that after the first 100 yards advance he stepped across the body of Sgt. Hamilton Fish (of a prominent New York family), who as leader of the advance guard had been shot in the heart on the first volley. "SEVERAL hours later we pushed them out into the open," Brumley recounted. "There we fell to our knees and started firing at the running Spaniards. When they had got away, I spit on my gun barrel and it sizzled." The veteran declined to describe a kill, but he said he was a "good shot." Asked if he was frightened when the shooting started, Brumley maintained he was not and gave a good reason he was only 18 years of age. He said 21 was the minimum for enlistment in the Rough Riders, but he lied when he enlisted at Santa Fe. May 6. 1898. "AFTER the battle, the officers asked how the youngster fared," said Brumley, one of the youngest men in the regiment. "They said I didn't show a white feather." He added that as in any war there were men who "threw away their cards and prayed," and those who turned and ran to the rear. Eighty men made the attack. Enthusiastic and crotchety about delays as GIs usually are, the Rough Riders wandered at will about Prescott. They were all on hand, however, for the noon lunch. The chairman of the board of the B. F. Goodrich company, made an address in which he thanked the State of Arizona for erecting the Bucky O'Neill statue and said, "The golden anniversary of any organization is an impressive event and particularly so that of the Rough Riders, who served under the gallant leadership of two men like Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood." "Lasting friendships were built by these men a half century ago and it is wonderful to return and find they are the same grand old fellows we knew so long ago." Among the speakers at the luncheon were Acting Governor Dan E. Garvey and U. S.-Representative Richard E. Harless. TOMORROW the Rough Riders will visit the Grand Canyon, returning late tomorrow afternoon and ending their reunion."
National Park Service, at Presidio of San Francisco noted the role of black soldiers in those battles as well.
Although the Spanish American War was ostensibly fought to liberate Caribbean and Philippine islanders from Spanish oppression, the participation of African American troops was very controversial in the African American community.
Some troops and many citizens openly questioned whether African Americans should fight for the U.S. government that recognized them as citizens in name only. Despite emancipation nearly 40-year before, Blacks routinely were deprived of their rights by federal and state laws. Institutional discrimination was reinforced by savage murder and terror of African Americans primarily in the South. Articles in the Black press during the war showed a diversity of opinion in the African American community.
"In order to prepare for the invasion of Cuba, the Buffalo Soldiers were posted to the southeastern United States for the first time in their history.
Originally billeted near Tampa, Florida, where overt racial discrimination was the norm, local white citizens refused "to make any distinction between the colored troops and the colored civilians" and tolerated no infractions of local discriminatory laws and racial customs. Despite this prejudice, the troops of the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th Infantry served with distinction on the battlefields of Las Guasimas, El Caney, and San Juan Heights. The terrain and climate were challenging. Troops had to deal with heat, rainstorms, mud and yellow fever. When there was an outbreak of yellow fever in the army camps, Black 24th Infantry soldiers served as nurses and hospital orderlies for the stricken Caucasian troops, ordered to do so because of the stereotype that Blacks were physically better able to deal with tropical heat conditions.
In the four months of fighting the Spanish under these adverse conditions, the Buffalo Soldiers were described as "most gallant and soldierly."
During one landing at Tayabacoa, Cuba, 10th Cavalry Privates William H. Thompkins, Fitz Lee, Dennis Bell, and George Wanton voluntarily went ashore in the face enemy fire to rescue wounded U.S. and Cuban comrades. After several failed attempts, they succeeded. Each were awarded the Medal of Honor. A career soldier, Thompkins was eventually buried at the Presidio's San Francisco National Cemetery, along with another 450 Black veterans of the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry.
Called the most integrated battle force of the 19th century, the troops of the 24th Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry fought up the slope of San Juan Hill along with White regular army regiments and the 1st Volunteer Cavalry (the Rough Riders) led by Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. Twenty-six Buffalo Soldiers died that day, and several men were officially recognized for their bravery. Quarter Master Sergeant Edward L. Baker, Jr., 10th Cavalry emerged from the battle wounded by shrapnel, but was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. After the Battle of San Juan Hill, Rough Rider Frank Knox said, "I never saw braver men anywhere." Lieutenant John J. Pershing wrote, "They fought their way into the hearts of the American people."
Dolores cowboys may have been somewhat familiar with black troops as four companies of the 9th Calvary had been encamped just below Durango in 1881 and 1882.
 The Durango Daily Record, of June 11, 1881, noted that the black troops camped about one mile south of Durango and were on their way south to Fort Lewis to fight Indians in case they were needed.
"Actually those black troops were waiting for arrangements to move the Jicarilla Apaches. The Indians did not like or trust the black troops in the west and trouble was only averted by sending some companies from the 22nd Infantry to accompany the black cavalrymen," according to Robert Delaney's book about Fort Lewis called "Blue Coats, Red Skins, and Black Gowns."
President Roosevelt never lost his affection for his battle buddies and appointed them to important political offices whenever the opportunity presented itself. Among his special friends was Colonel William H. H. Llewellyn of Las Cruces, New Mexico, who was close enough to the President to dine with him at the White House, to escort Mrs. Roosevelt to the Theater, and who is one of the few 1st Calvary soldiers the President mentions in his autobiography.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

In an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans

  The Good Neighbors, the fair folk, or simply the folk

 By Rob Carrigan,

The aos sí, or the older form aes sídhe is the Irish for a supernatural race in Irish and Scottish mythology, comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. This world is described in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk among the living. In the Irish language, aos sí means "people of the mounds" (the mounds are known in Irish as "the sídhe"). In modern Irish the people of the mounds are also called daoine sídhe in Scottish mythology they are daoine sìth. They are variously said to be the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods. The aos sí are often appeased with offerings, and care is taken to avoid angering or insulting them. Often they are not named directly, but rather spoken of as 'The Good Neighbors, The Fair Folk,' or simply 'The Folk.'


Perhaps I should have seen it coming? I have lost a lot of good friends over the years, but still it is always a surprise. Lynn, Edena, Lisa, Michael, my dad, on and on ....
Mark Twain (Sam Clemons), understood it pretty well.
“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it,” he said.
And as usual, Hunter Thompson also had an interesting take.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!,” he wrote in "The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967."
A few days ago, my wife looked at me funny, as I sat in swivel rocker, knowing with that extra sense she has, that something was BAD wrong. She tried to help.
I was almost crying. I told her I was going to try and write something, but I started considering quotes from Wilson Rawls, and "Where the Red Fern Grows," and it gave me that tremble.
Unsteadiness. The shake of intense discomfort from wrestling with my grief.
A rawness, that is beyond talking about.
I had lost another one of my hound dogs to ravages of time a few days prior.
Jenny, the Treeing Walker/Blue Tick coon hound mix, and one of a pair of the best dogs a person could ask for, and very real part of my family's life for the past ten years, left us in characteristic dignity, a few days prior.
Jenny herself, knew loss. Ella, her sister from the same litter passed on Memorial Day this year.
They were naturally as close two sisters from the same litter could be, and had spent there entire life together and it showed. But they also had shared thousands of hours of photo excursions, and twilight sojourns in early morning, and around sundown, with me in the woods.
I had tried to to help in her last struggles to go out side. She died, I think as I struggled to get her back inside after she fell.
Jenny and Ella were family members, of course. But we were closer than that. Not sure any of my other family members know what its like to share a frosted-over, beaver meadow in sub zero weather, all in the early morning winter hours.
I am reminded in the excellent work of Rawls, a favorite book for obvious reasons.
“Looking to the mountains around us, I saw that the mysterious artist who comes at night had paid us a visit. I wondered how he could paint so many different colors in one night; red, wine, yellow, and rust,” he wrote in "Where the Red Fern Grows."


The banshee or bean sídhe (from Old Irish: ban síde), which means "woman of the sídhe", has come to indicate any supernatural woman of Ireland who heralds a coming death by wailing and keening. Her counterpart in Scottish mythology is the bean sìth (sometimes spelled bean-sìdh). Other varieties of aos sí and daoine sìth include the Scottish bean nighe: the washerwoman who is seen washing the bloody clothing or armor of the person who is doomed to die; the leanan sídhe who takes a human, and holds it close to her heart. Those who love the leannán sídhe are said to live brief, though highly inspired, lives. The name comes from the Gaelic words for a sweatheart and the term for inhabitants of fairy mounds (fairy). The leannán sídhe is generally depicted as a beautiful muse who offers inspiration to an artist in exchange for their love and devotion; however, this frequently results in madness for the artist, and a short life. 


Today, I notice Jenny's and Ella's collars, carefully arranged on the book shelf, in an out of the way place, in the house with their name tags out.
"Jenny Carrigan," and "Ella Carrigan," and our phone number, the metal tag says on the purple and red smooth nylon. "Microchipped," it says.
You never really get used to it, I guess. An image, or a moment, or even a sound or scent, brings back your attention to the hole in your heart, for a time. Dogs don't live long.
"Lifespan in general is determined by trade-offs between survival and reproduction. Wolves, the ancestors of dogs, can live 15-20 years, roughly twice as long as comparable-sized dogs. They start breeding in the wild no younger than 2-years-old. They need to form pairs and establish a territory before breeding. Older wolves will often have help raising their pups from older juveniles who have not managed to mate or find territories. In contrast, most dogs can breed from six months to 12 months of age, and they don’t benefit from having territories, pair bonds, or packs. Whereas wolves breed until they die, dog breeders will usually retire older females. So the whole life history of dogs is shifted to more of a “live fast, die young” style compared to wolves. On top of that, artificial selection and inbreeding have created huge problems for dogs," says Suzanne Sadedin, Ph.D. in zoology from Monash University.
In the words of Wilson Rawls, I remember.
"I knew the pups were mine, all mine, yet I couldn't move. My heart started aching like a drunk grasshopper. I tried to swallow and couldn't. My Adam's apple wouldn't work. One pup started my way. I held my breath. One came until I felt a scratchy little foot on mine. The other pup followed. A warm puppy tongue caressed my sore foot. I heard the stationmaster say, 'They already know you.' I knelt down and gathered them in my arms. I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried,” Rawls wrote.


A variant is Cù Sìth or the fairy dog. The Cù-Sìth was feared as a harbinger of death and would appear to bear away the soul of a person to the afterlife. In this role the Cù-Sìth holds in Scottish folklore a function similar to that of the Bean Sidhe, or banshee, in Irish folklore. According to legend, the creature was capable of hunting silently, but would occasionally let out three mournful and sometimes terrifying barks or howls.


And only three howls, that could be heard for miles by those listening for it, even far out at sea.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

It depends on the quality of the report

Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein in the newsroom 
of the Washington Post in 1973. Photograph: AP 

Thinking like a degenerate fool, living in the past, 

looking for a story-telling witness

By late February 1974, the special Watergate prosecution force had obtained guilty pleas from Jeb Magruder, Bart Porter, Donals Sergretti, Herbert Kalmbach, Fred LaRue, Egil Krogh, and John Dean. Eight corporations and their officers had pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to the CRP. In Washington, Dwight Chapman was under indictment for perjury. In New York, John Mitchell and Maurice Stans, were on trial, charged with obstruction of justice and perjury.
On March 1, the Washington grand jury that had indicted the original conspirators and burglars of the Democratic Headquarter in 1972 handed up its major indictments of in the Watergate cover-up case. It charged seven of the President's White House and campaign aides with conspiracy to obstruct justice.
“To those who will decide if he should be tried for 'high crimes and misdemeanors'
-the House of Representatives-
And to those who would sit in judgment at such a trial if the House impeaches -the Senate-
And to the man who would preside at such an impeachment trial -the Chief Justice of the United States, Warren Burger-
And to the nation...
The President said, 'I want you to know that I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the American people elected me to do for the people of the United States.'
wrote Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, in "All the President's Men."
From Bob Woodward's book, "Fear."
Trump on Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "This guy is mentally retarded. He's this dumb Southerner. ... How in the world was I ever persuaded to pick him for my attorney general? ... He couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama. What business does he have being attorney general?"
The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:
The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:
“The people of the United States are entitled to assume that their President is telling the truth. The pattern of misrepresentation and half-truths that emerges from our investigation reveals a presidential policy cynically based on the premise that the truth itself is negotiable,” said Carl Bernstein.
“We are watching a president, whose back is to the wall,” trying to grab a “get-out-of-jail pass,” the Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein says.
“Rage-aholic” Donald Trump has initiated what amounts to a “coup” against the rule of law by ordering Jeff Sessions to resign as attorney general and replacing him with Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker, warned Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.
“The White House had decided that the conduct of the press, not the conduct of the President’s men, was the issue.”
Carl Bernstein, in "All the President's Men"
Mueller’s investigation was triggered by a break-in at the Democratic National Committee, this time in digital form. Trump fired his acting attorney general and FBI director, just as Nixon first ordered his attorney general, and then the deputy, to fire the Watergate special prosecutor; they refused and quit on what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre. Trump, like Nixon before him, has gone to war against the media and displayed paranoia about perceived enemies.
Tweeted by President Donald Trump, Aug. 29, 2018: CNN is being torn apart from within based on their being caught in a major lie and refusing to admit the mistake. Sloppy @carlbernstein, a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story, is being laughed at all over the country! Fake News
“It depends on the quality of the report. In Watergate, one of the great lessons for me personally was you need a storytelling witness; you can’t just say: ‘I overheard’ or ‘I speculated’.
“John Dean, Nixon’s counsel, testified before the Senate Watergate committee on live national television: it was on every network, gavel to gavel coverage for four days. ‘I met with Nixon. He said, how much do we need to pay to silence the burglars? What about this? What about that?’ And it was devastating. Then you had the second punch which was the tapes which validated it, made Nixon his own narrator. So I’m not sure whether that’s going to happen,” said Bob Woodward in an interview with David Smith of "The Guardian."

The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:
The number of illegal activities were so large that one was bound to come out and lead to the uncovering of the others. Nixon was too willing to use the power of government to settle scores and get even with enemies.
Read more at:

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mountain men, explorers were a diverse lot

 Antoine Janis

Pardon our French, and other language

By Rob Carrigan,

We all survive in our own way. And language and place names do, too.
In Northern Colorado, for example, pardon our French.
Trappers built cabins along the Cache la Poudre River as early as 1828, making it the first Euro-American settlement in Larimer County. The French moniker refers to an incident in the early part of the 19th Century when French trappers, reportedly caught by a snowstorm, were forced to bury part of their gunpowder along the banks of the river.
The early arrivals of European-descent found Apache, Pawnee, and Comanche. But those tribes were pushed out and replaced by Arapaho and Cheyenne in the Spanish-era mostly.  Kiowa tribes visited the southeast portion of the state an the Shoshone frequented the north-west portion.
French, French Canadians, Spanish-French, and French Americans by way of St. Louis, have a lot to do with the naming conventions in Northern Colorado, as a result.
In the 1860s, only about 35,000 people lived in Colorado, as counted by the census then, but they were a diverse lot.
Antoine Janis, often designated the first permanent white settler north of the Arkansas River (Janis was born in Missouri to a French father and a mulatto mother) and earlier traveled with his father on trading caravans from Missouri to the Green River. In 1836 he may have traveled with his father on a caravan along the Cache la Poudre River valley in present-day Larimer County. It is possible and often suggested, (but not established) that the river obtained its name during this trip.
In 1844 he journeyed west on his own, working with brother Nicholas as a scout and interpreter out of Fort Laramie, where he married First Elk Woman of the Oglala Sioux tribe. While returning from a trip to Mexico, he again passed through present-day Colorado along the Poudre Valley, arriving at the spot where the Poudre emerges from the foothills. He reportedly was particularly taken by the valley, calling it "the loveliest spot on earth."
At the time, the area was not open to settlement but was part of the hunting territory of the Arapaho and Cheyenne. Janis hedged his bets. He staked a squatter's claim on the river bottom just west of present-day Laporte, in June, 1844.
The opening up of the western Nebraska Territory to homesteading allowed Janis to return to the area 1858 with his claim filed. He was accompanied by a party of other homesteaders from Fort Laramie, including John B. Provost, his brothers Francis and Nicholas Janis, Antoine LeBeau, Tood Randall, E.W. Raymond, B. Goodman, Laroque Bosquet (aka: Rock Bush) and Oliver Morrisette.
Janis settled in the area with approximately 150 lodges of Arapaho, who accompanied him to the spot. With the other members of his party, he founded the town of Colona, which later became La Porte, the first non-native community in Larimer County.
"La Porte is French for 'The Gate,' and was given because its site is the natural gateway to the area lying to the northwest. The two words have been combined into one in recent years," says George R. Eichler in "Colorado Place Names."
The following year he erected a small wooden house on the south side of Poudre River where he kept a grocery and saloon. He continued to live in the area until 1878, when a general order from the federal government forced his wife to move to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Janis sold his cabin and accompanied his wife to the reservation, where he died in 1890.
The winter of 1849 brought, Kit Carson and his company of trappers set up camp on Cache la Poudre. Carson had been there before, guiding Lt. John C. Fremont' Party up the Poudre, and connecting with Oregan Trail, in the spring of 1843.
 John C. Fremont

"From Fort St. Vrain, he (Fremont,) and his guides Kit Carson and Thomas Fitzpatrick, searched the Front Ranges for a useful pass over the Divide. In this search, Fremont was disappointed, as others had been before and many would be later. Splitting his party, Fremont then sent Fitzpatrick and some of the men on to Fort Laramie with the supplies. Carson and Fremont led the rest of the men up the 60-mile canyon of the Cache La Poudre River, up along the Eastern base of the Medicine Bow Range, until they struck the Oregon Trail," writes Carl Ubbelohde, Maxine Benson, and Duane A. Smith in "A Colorado History."
When Carson returned in 1849, nothing had changed much.

Christopher "Kit" Carson

Originally labeled Colona, between fifty and sixty log dwellings were built on the banks of the Cache la Poudre River in the valley, and in November 1861, the territorial legislature assigned La Porte county seat status. The next year Colona changed its name to La Porte, and became main office of the Mountain Division of the Overland Trail Stage Route.
First settled by French-Canadian fur trappers and mountain men,  it was considered gateway to all the mountainous region lying north of the South Platte River and extending from the Plains to the Continental Divide.
The first post office opened, and a stage stop was built on the Overland Trail. A station was erected right along the river, very near where the present Overland Trail crosses the river.  The stage fare from Denver to LaPorte was $20.00. The first bridge over the Cache la Poudre River was built as a toll bridge, and during the rush to California, numerous wagons and stage coaches crossed it every day. The toll charged ranged from $.50 to $8.00, according different records.
In 1864, the bridge was washed away by a flood, and a ferry was rigged up and used for several years until the county built another bridge.
LaPorte thrived as a supply center for emigrants. Four saloons, a brewery, a butcher shop, two blacksmith shops, a general store and a hotel made La Porte the most important settlement north of Denver, housing the Stage Station, the County Court House, the military, Indians, and trappers.
In 1862, Camp Collins was established by the U.S. Army along the river to protect the stage line from attack by Native Americans. Also that same year, the La Porte Townsite Company claimed 1,280 acres of land for the town. In 1863 the 13th Kansas volunteer infantry was stationed to Laporte, acting as escort for the Overland Stage on the trail to Virginia Dale. During the flood of 1864, the army camp was covered with water, and the soldiers had to suddenly flee to higher ground. In August of that year, Col. William Oliver Collins, commanding officer of Fort Laramie (between present-day Lingle and Guernsey in Wyoming,) on an inspection tour, and decided to move the Camp Collins army camp to Fort Collins, down river about six miles.

Col. William Oliver Collins