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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Colorado History

- Colorado History -
Bent's Fort: Founders, Photos, Plans, and More

Charles and William Bent

Charles BentWilliam Bent
Left: Charles Bent. Right: William Bent.

Charles Bent was a trader who practiced medicine without pay. His epitaph in the National Cemetery reads:
"He was a man of kind and gentle manners; of true benevolence of heart; of untarnished probity and lofty carriage; he laid down his life to save those dearer to him han life itself."

William Bent built and operated Bent's Forts. William was respected by whites and the Indians alike. The US government chose William Bent as an Indian agent in 1859.

Bent's Fort

Bent's Fort
An early artist's depiction of Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River.

Bent's Fort
Exterior view of the reconstructed Bent's Fort.

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site was created in 1963, but it was 13 years before the reconstruction of the structure was completed by the US Park Service and opened to the public in 1976.

Interior of Bent's Fort after the reconstruction.

Fort William - Old Bent's Fort
"Fort William." Interior view of Old Bent's Fort sketched by W. M. Boggs from memory.
Boggs had spent the winter of 1844 at the fort. Click the sketch for an enlargement.

Inside Bent's Fort
Inside Bent's Fort: On the left, doors open into the council room, the dining room,
and the cook's quarters. St. Vrain's room is on the second level.

Sketch of Bent's Fort
A sketch of Bent's Fort 1844 to 1849 from memory by William M. Boggs who was a trader there.
Click the drawing for an enlargement.

Bent's New Fort Marker
Monument marker at the site of Bent's New Fort.
Click to see an enlargement and photo taken in 1932.

Fort Wise / Fort Lyon

Within a few years, Bent's New Fort was known as Fort Fauntleroy, Fort Wise, and eventually Fort Lyon. Fort Wise was the site of the 1861 Indian Council to negotiate a new treaty to replace the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. Albert Gallatin Boone was the chief government negotiator, while Black Kettle and Little Raven spoke for the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The post was renamed Fort Lyon in 1862 in honor of Nathaniel Lyon, the first officer killed during the Civil War.

Charley Bent
Left: George Bent (a son of William Bent) and his Cheyenne wife Magpie in 1867.
Magpie was the niece of Chief Black Kettle. Right: Charley Bent, half-breed son of William Bent.

Charley Bent was a notorious killer. Charley returned to Bent's Purgatory Ranch intent on killing his father, who was fortunately in New Mexico at the time.

Plan of Bent's Fort
Bent's Fort drawn by George Bent for George Bird Grinnell in 1908. Click the plan for a detail enlargement.

St. Vrain, Reynolds, Gunnison and Fremont

Ceran St. VrainAlbert Reynolds
Left: Ceran St. Vrain . Right: Albert E. Reynolds, pictured in 1883.

Ceran St. Vrain was a trapper, trader, and partner of the Bent brothers. He teminated his interest in Bent's Old Fort in 1848 when he assumed control of the Taos and Santa Fe stores. Albert E. Reynolds arrived at Fort Lyon in 1867. This post trader and mining investor would later have a vested interest in Bent's Old Fort.

John GunnisonJohn Fremont
Left: John W. Gunnison. Right: John Charles Fremont.

John Fremont chose winter to follow Gunnison's route across the San Juan Mountains. Fremont wanted to prove that he could cross the Rocky Mountains in the winter, since his 1848 attempt had been a disaster. He stopped at Bent's New Fort on his way. When Fremont later passed Bent's Old Fort, he thought that Indians had destroyed it.

Spanish Peaks
An early sketch from 1853 by an artist with the Gunnison survey shows the Wah-Ha-Ta-Gas or Spanish Peaks.

Fremont may not have lived up to his nickname "The Great Pathfinder," but as a promoter, he wielded immense influence in the develpment of the West. His expeditions were always guided, often by his loyal friend, Kit Carson, and he always followed the trails blazed by others.

John FremontKit Carson and Fremont
Left: Captain John Charles Fremont. Right: Kit Carson (standing) and John C. Fremont.

Kit Carson was chief scout in Fremont's expeditions of the West in 1842, 1843-44, and 1845-46. Fremont's reports made Kit Carson famous.

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- Colorado History In Depth -
Lecture Notes, Reading, and Information:

| The Cheyenne Migration to Colorado |
| The Gratlan Affair, Massacre, Fort Laramie Treaty |

The Cheyenne Social Club
| A Cheyenne War Story: Wolf Road, the Runner |
| Cheyenne Traditions and Beliefs, Sacred Stories |
| Horses, Warriors, War Pipe, Sweatlodge Ceremony |
| Cheyenne War Parties and Battle Tactics |
| The Scalp Dance and Other Cheyenne Dances |

Fort Union
| The Sante Fe Trail and Fort Union |
| Sumner - Ninth Military Department / The First Fort Union |
| Early Arrivals to Fort Union, Daily Life at Fort Union |
| Captain Grover - The New Fort Union, the Confederate Threat |
| Fort Union Arsenal, William Shoemaker, End of Fort Union |

Americans from the East
| Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase |
| The Expedition of Zebulon Pike |
| Pikes Peak or Bust / Colorado Gold Rush |

Colorado's Role in the US Civil War
| The Civil War, Fort Wise / Fort Lyon |
| Mace's Hole, Colonel Canby, F.C.V.R. | Fort Weld |
| The Pet Lambs, John Chivington |
| General Henry Sibly, Battle of Valverde, Fort Union |

Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes
| The Western Federation of Miners / State Militia |
| The 1893 - 1894 Strike | The Strike of 1903 - 1904 |
| The Mine Owners Association |
| Crimes and Military Rule in the Cripple Creek District |
| Marshall Law in Cripple Creek District / End of the Strike |
Early Cripple Creek District
| Photos, Fire, and Life in Cripple Creek |
| Other Colorful Towns in the Cripple Creek District:
Gillett - Colorado's Only Bullfight, Victor, Independence
| A Guide to the Miners' Gritty Lingo |

More Colorado History Information
| Bent's Fort Photos, Personalities, Plans, and More |

| What Was Easter Like at Bent's Fort? |
| Colorado Trivia, Miscellaneous Old Photos,
Western Personalities, Forts, and More

| Lullabies for Jittery Cows - Cowboy Ballads |
| Heraldry of the Branding Iron |
| Project Aims to Clear Infamous Cannibal, Alferd Packer |
Lead Gives Alferd Packer's Story More Weight |
| Legendary Colorado Love Stories: Baby Doe Tabor & More |
| Colorado Pioneer Women: Elizabeth Byers |
| Early Denver Jokes / The History of April Fools' Day |

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Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

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