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Fort Laramie in Goshen County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic

Fort Laramie National Historic Site

 
 
Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 2, 2015
1. Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic Marker
Inscription.
I 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 posts

Wyoming痴 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
Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 2, 2015
2. Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic Marker
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 School
Education 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.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location.
Marker at Fort Laramie image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 2, 2014
3. Marker at Fort Laramie
42° 12.08′ N, 104° 33.479′ W. Marker is in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in Goshen County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 160, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Laramie WY 82212, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Administration Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Captain痴 Quarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Between Two Worlds . . . the American M騁is (within shouting distance of this marker); Military Justice: Punishment Harsh and Certain (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort John – The 全econd Fort Laramie (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort William and the Fur Trade (about 300 feet away); Parade Ground (about 300 feet away); Refinement at Fort Laramie (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Laramie.
 
More about this marker. A photograph at the top of the marker depicts “A school group on the porch of Old Bedlam, the old post headquarters.”
 
Also see . . .  Fort Laramie National Historic Site. (Submitted on August 11, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
 
Categories. EducationForts, Castles
 
Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 2, 2015
4. Reading, 然iting, and 然ithmetic Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 11, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 178 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 11, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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