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Fort Scott Kansas

Photos Mike Sinnwell August 2015

Fort Scott was named in honor of General Winfield Scott, and it was established on May 30, 1842 at the crossing of the Fort Leavenworth and the Fort Gibson military road. Initially it was called Camp Scott

Back then it was located on the edge of where Indian territory began and white settlements stopped. Overlooking the confluence of Mill Creek and the Marmaton River, the location was perfect for helping to protect and maintain the many pioneers headed westward.

Soon, Fort Scott evolved from a small military fort into a settlement that went by the same name. However, the post was virtually abandoned in April 1853, when the garrison was transferred to Fort Riley and other western posts. The buildings were sold at public auction on May 16, 1855. The Government did not own the land.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Fort Scott was reactivated on March 29, 1862 and again assumed importance as a military outpost. At this time, the settlement of Fort Scott was socially and politically divided due to its proximity to the Missouri border and the conflict that preceded the war, referred to as "Bleeding Kansas." During the war, Fort Scott was continually occupied by Union forces, becoming a large supply depot and was critical to the defense of eastern Kansas and the Midwest. However, after the war was over, the fort was once again abandoned in the fall of 1865.

In the meantime, the settlement of Fort Scott that had grown up around the post developed into a large railroad boomtown in the 1870's.

Today, the city of Fort Scott is the only major town still existing in Kansas that developed from a U.S. Army fort established before Kansas became a territory and a state.