“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sundance in Crook County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

The Custer Trail

Site of Sacred Lands and Historic Battles

The Custer Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 7, 2011
1. The Custer Trail Marker
Inscription. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer's Black Hills Expedition crossed northeastern Wyoming from July 17-25, 1874, camping within three miles of this location. forged by 1000 men (cavalry, infantry, teamsters, scientists, miners, newspaper reporters, Santee Sioux guides, and Arikara guides), four artillery pieces, 110 supply wagons, and about 1600 animals (horses, mules, and cattle), traces of the trail can still be seen today. This tour, which trespassed on Lakota land, led to war, seizure of the land by the U.S. government, and Euro-American immigration to the region. Newcomers to the region used portions of the Custer Trail for years, and contemporary roads follow it in places.

George A. Custer
Both famous and infamous for his victories during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars that followed, Custer is best known for his spectacular defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. His name echoes throughout the Black hills for these exploits as well as for his 1874 expedition, which exposed their riches to the hungry eyes of the growing nation. Such notoriety was not expected of the bottom-ranked graduate in his class at West Point. he made up for poor grades with battlefield zeal and a mission to carry out the nations quest for territory.

Mapping Black Hills Treasure
The Black Hills hold religious

Wyoming Welcome Center image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 7, 2011
2. Wyoming Welcome Center
and cultural significance for many American Indian tribes. In the treaties of 1856 and 1868, the U.S. government recognized the Black Hills as belonging to the Lakota Nation, which obligated the U.S. Army to enforce the treaties and defend the land from incursion by Euro-Americans. The economic recession of 1873, speculation of gold in the Black Hills, and powerful railroads lobbying for increased westward travel led President Ulysses Grant to order the Custer-led military exploration of the region, in violation of the treaties. The venture's stated mission was to scout locations for military outposts on the edge of the Black Hills. Instead, Custer reported on the region's agricultural and mining potential. more significantly, the scouting party's officers, miners, and newspaper correspondents sought, found and proclaimed the discovery of gold. The quest for this commodity is generally believed to have been the expedition's paramount objective--with the expectation of obtaining the land from the Lakotas for mining.

The War for Gold
"74 G Custer" is inscribed atop Inyan Kara, a mark probably left by a member of the Custer party, which climbed the peak on July 23, 1874. Located a few miles south of this Visitor Information Center, the mountain is venerated by many American Indians. The expedition's impact on the region however, was far greater than defacing sacred places. newspaper reports of gold sparked the Black hills Gold Rush. Stiff resistance by the Lakotas to the intrusion and unsuccessful negotiations by the U.S. government to buy the land led to the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. In addition to heavy defeats on both sides, including Custer's famous "last stand," the conflict ended with dispossession of more land by the American Indians and absorption of the Black Hills into the U.S. for gold mining, ranching, and settlement
Location. 44° 31.661′ N, 104° 12.346′ W. Marker is in Sundance, Wyoming, in Crook County. Marker is on Interstate 90. Touch for map. Marker is at the Wyoming Welcome Center. Marker is in this post office area: Sundance WY 82729, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Petrified Trees (here, next to this marker); The Vore Buffalo Jump (here, next to this marker); Bird of the Black Hills (here, next to this marker); Rich Colors, Rich Lands (here, next to this marker); Paha Sapa, Black Hills (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Vore Buffalo Jump (approx. 2 miles away); Understanding Bison Behavior Brought Success (approx. 2 miles away); The Ideal Hunting Ground (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sundance.
Categories. ExplorationNative AmericansWars, US Indian

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 1, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 840 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 1, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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