Mormon Times Deseret News

This post is brought to you by Deseret News. View the original post here.

An important site on the Oregon, California and Mormon Pioneer Trails was Fort Kearny in present-day Buffalo County, Nebraska.

Named after Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny, this fort provided a safe refuge for the many pioneers traveling during the overland trails period of Nebraska history. It was used heavily by trail travelers because it was connected to mail service, had a hospital and offered protection. In fact, William Hartley and Gary Anderson note that “It was the first and only post the government established along that trail solely to protect emigrants” (see “Sacred Places, Vol. 5,” edited by LaMar C. Berrett).

This handcart in the blacksmith shop at Fort Kearny makes reference to Latter-day Saints who passed by with handcarts, 1856-1860. | Kenneth Mays

According to a published brochure provided to visitors, the fort was established in 1848 and discontinued as a military post in 1871. Its buildings were torn down and the site was opened to homesteaders. The fort’s original site was purchased in the 1920s for historical purposes. It was officially opened as a state historical park in 1959. The rebuilt fort complex has a visitors center, blacksmith shop, rebuilt fort and other features. There is a campground/recreation area several miles away.

Today’s fort is just a few miles from the city of Kearney, Nebraska. In the name of the city, the letter “e” is between the “n” and the “y,” which is not found in the name of the fort. This can be confusing. That “e” in the name of the city was a postal error that has been perpetuated over the years.

Kenneth Mays is a board member of the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation and a retired instructor in the LDS Church’s Department of Seminaries and Institutes.



Recently Posted

35-davies-puerto-rico-afb66f46e88e624d0c215b94d812a0f114bf082e

Faith and Rebuilding Will Make Puerto Ricans Stronger, Bishop Davies Says

San Juan, Puerto Rico | Monday, 19 February 2018 | Bishop Dean M. Davies, first counselor in the Church’s Presiding Bishopric, visited Puerto Rico February 15–18. He, along with General Authority ...

Pres-Nelson-Vegas5094-2018-resized-6949f590fb37331bd2896c88e161297befc6a4f7

Advice From the Prophet of the Church to Millennials Living in a Hectic World

Las Vegas, Nevada | Sunday, 18 February 2018 | How can the rising generation live more happy and meaningful lives? President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of ...