Chronological List of Fort Laramie History


1812 - Robert Stuart and the returning Astorians are the first recorded white men to pass by what will become Fort Laramie. While camped at the mouth of the Laramie River they leave the first recorded description of the area. Without knowing it they discover what will become the Oregon Trail.

1821 - Jacque LaRamee is killed on the Laramie River somewhere near the present site of Fort Laramie. Several geographical landmarks later take his name.

1830 - Smith, Jackson, and Sublette haul supplies to the annual rendezvous by wagon, thus becoming the first to pass the future site of Fort Laramie and the first on what will become the Oregon Trail.

1834 - William Sublette and Robert Campbell establish a log-stockaded fort at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte rivers to trade with the Indians, and name it Fort William (the first Fort Laramie).

1835 - Fort William is sold to Jim Bridger, William Fitzpatrick, and Milton Sublette.

1836 - Fort William is sold to the American Fur Company.

1836 - Elizabeth Spaulding and Narcissa Whitman visit Fort Laramie, and become the first white women to pass over the Oregon Trail, and the first known white women in the future state of Wyoming.

1841 - A rival fort, adobe-walled Fort Platte is built on the Platte River within a mile of Fort William. In response to the construction of Fort Platte, the American Fur Company replaces deteriorating log Fort William with a new fort, Fort John, also made of adobe (the second Fort Laramie).

1841 - The Bidwell-Bartelson party passes Fort Laramie enroute to California, the first true wagon train bound for California.

1842 - Lieutenant John C. Fremont passes on his first exploratory trip to the Rockies.

1843 - The Cow Column passes Fort Laramie. This train represented the first of the wagon trains to Oregon.

1845 - Colonel Stephen W. Kearny councils with the Indians at Fort Laramie to insure safe passage for the growing tide of emigrants traveling along the trail. This is the first peace council at Fort Laramie.

1845 - Fort Platte is abandoned

1846 - The Donner Party passes through Fort Laramie on their fateful trip to the west.

1847 - Brigham Young leads the first of the Mormon emigrants through Fort Laramie in search of their Zion, the valley of the Great Salt Lake.

1849 - Fort John (Fort Laramie) is purchased by the Army for $4,000 on June 26th. The first garrison is comprised of two companies of Mounted Riflemen and one company of the 6th Infantry.

1850 - The high tide of emigration passes Fort Laramie, nearly 50,000 people.

1851 - Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 (Horse Creek Treaty) is signed.

1853 - The Platte Ferry, just north of Fort Laramie, is seized by the Sioux. A skirmish results between Fort Laramie soldiers and the Sioux with the result of three Indians killed, three wounded, and two taken prisoner.

1854 - The Grattan Fight takes place on August 19th, after Brevet Second Lieutenant Grattan tries to arrest a Miniconjou brave for the killing of an emigrant's cow, eight miles east of Fort Laramie. All whites at the fight died. This is the first major battle of the Northern Plains Indian Wars.

1856 - Mormon emigrants pass Fort Laramie using "handcarts," the first of many handcart pioneers.

1857 - A large column of troops move through Fort Laramie enroute to Utah to suppress the rebellious Mormons.

1860 - April 6th, the Pony Express starts its express mail delivery through Fort Laramie.

1861 - The continental telegraph line is completed. The telegraph runs through Fort Laramie. The Pony Express ceases operations.

1864 - The only recorded attack on Fort Laramie. A scout detachment unsaddled their mounts on the Parade ground and approximately 30 warriors dashed through the fort, stealing the command's horses. No injuries or loss of life were reported.

1865 - Powder River Expedition is organized at Fort Laramie under General Patrick E. Connor to punish Indians in the region.

1866 - Peace Council is held at Fort Laramie to secure the right to use the Bozeman Trail. The peace council fails after Colonel Henry B. Carrington arrives with troops to establish Bozeman Trail forts. Start of Red Cloud's War.

1866 - Fetterman Fight takes place on December 21, and 81 soldiers die at the battle. John Phillips and Daniel Dixon start their ride to Deer Creek Station. Phillips continues on to Fort Laramie, arriving (so goes the legend) during a Christmas Night party at Old Bedlam.

1868 - Red Cloud wins his war with the government and a peace council is held at Fort Laramie, resulting in the signing of the Treaty of 1868, which sets aside the Great Sioux Reservation.

1874 - Gold is discovered in the Black Hills, causing a rush of miners to travel through Fort Laramie up the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail.

1875 - A bridge is built over the North Platte River, the first iron bridge in Wyoming.

1876 - The campaign of 1876 begins, involving troops from Fort Laramie under the command of General George Crook. Fort Laramie troops fight in the Reynolds Fight of March 17th, and the Battle of the Rosebud on June 17th.

1883 - Last cavalry company leaves Fort Laramie, only infantry troops remain.

1889 - Order to abandon Fort Laramie is issued August 31.

1890 - Last garrison of the post marches away on March 2nd. A public auction is held on April 9th to sell the remaining property and buildings. On April 20th the fort is officially abandoned.

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