Louis Kraft’s luck & Mr. Wynkoop

Website & blogs © Louis Kraft 2013-2020
Contact Kraft at writerkraft@gmail.com or comment at the end of the blog

Dear friends, you are not going to believe my sojourn to Colorado (which began yesterday).

(Yes, Ned Wynkoop finally gets some space in a post, but you’ll have to read to the end of the post.)

Yesterday, I had lost my cell phone before going through security at the Burbank Airport, the flight was delayed because the crew needed extra sleep as they had flown into Burbank too late the night before (the last flight into Burbank is supposedly 10:00 PM), circling above Denver, and after finally getting onto terra firma I missed a turn and took the long and not-so-scenic route to Fort Collins where Apache wars historian/friend Layton Hooper and his pretty wife Vicki are putting me up until I move into the hotel for the Order of the Indian Wars symposium later this week.

The view from Layton and Vicki Hooper’s front porch early on an April morn 2013. Yep, I was grounded. (photo © Louis Kraft 2013)

Today I’m supposed to be researching at the Western History Collection, Denver Public Library (a great place for writers interested in western and Indian wars history). The internet had led me to believe I would see a few days of “snow flurries.” I was up early this morning, but didn’t climb the stairs until 6:30. The first thing I did was peek out the front door. Layton walked up behind me and said, “I guess you won’t be doing any research today.” Everything was white, and the snow hasn’t stopped falling (supposedly it is going to continue through tomorrow, which may kill a key meeting w/Indian wars writer supreme John Monnett …. Grrrr!), and I’ve heard that perhaps 25 inches of snow has covered the ground north of Fort Collins (?). It looks like about a foot outside right now, and Layton thinks about 3 feet by tomorrow. My rental car looks like it’s dead and buried.

LK ink drawing of Ned Wynkoop at the time of the Pawnee Fork disaster in Kansas (April 1867) when Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock destroyed a Cheyenne–Dog Man–Lakota village that wasn’t riding the war trail and created what has since been known as “Hancock’s War.” (art © Louis Kraft 1990)

Now for the bright side, … I get to hang out with Layton and Vicki, work on the “Wynkoop’s Last Stand” talk (hope I get out of Denver without being tarred and feathered). Yep, I think the talk will be lively. On the plus side, this snow storm might be similar to what Indian agent Ned Wynkoop faced when he traveled to Fort Cobb in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to gather the Southern Cheyennes and Arapahos in November 1868. Wynkoop never reached his destination, for thoughts of Sand Creek (1864) and the Pawnee Fork (1867) fiascos haunted him. He halted his journey and in protest to the 1868 Indian war resigned his commission, stating in part “… I most certainly refuse to again be the instrument of the murder of innocent women and children.” Oh yes, it will be lively.–

Western novelist/writer supreme Johnny D. Boggs, upon reading Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek and realizing that Wynkoop had suggested that American Indians should be given U.S. citizenship, wrote in a review something like “No wonder Wynkoop carried a gun.”

One thought on “Louis Kraft’s luck & Mr. Wynkoop

  1. Louis, this is the kind of snowfall that I avoided when I realized it was headed for Denver on my way driving across the country to the East coast, recently! I can well imagine what it looked like being from Washington State where it can pile that high quite easily and wind drift can make it even higher in Winter. Brrrr!

    Will your talk be on video?

    I want to hear screams and see things being tossed onto the stage if it comes to that as you are speaking! Hopefully, it won’t be THAT lively!

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