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News and Events

Western Kansas History Event

“A Weekend with the Custers”


            The Jerry Thomas Gallery and the Fort Wallace Museum invite you to step back in time, for two days of Living History presentations from two of the most vivid characters in the American Story – George Armstrong and Libbie Custer

            Experience history starting on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2:00 MST at the Fort Wallace Museum in Wallace, Kansas, as Mr. and Mrs. Custer share the story of their relationship, as well as the important part that Fort Wallace played in Lt. Col. Custer’s career. This engaging and delightful presentation will reveal the ups and downs they experienced as a young military couple in the 7th Cavalry. The presentation will be followed by a Victorian reception and Museum fundraiser in the Museum’s new Becker addition. There is no charge for the lecture, but donations will be welcomed! Period dress is appropriate, but not necessary, for attendees!

            The Custer Weekend will continue with a repeated joint appearance on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2:00 CST at the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection/El Quartelejo Museum in Scott City, Kansas. These appearances will help shed light on the 151st Anniversary of the Custer’s celebrated “Wedding of the Century” originally held on February 9, 1865.

            G. A. Custer will be portrayed by actor, author and living historian Steve Alexander of Monroe, Michigan. He has been named “Foremost Custer Living Historian” by the U.S. Congress, as well as the Michigan and Ohio Senates. He has appeared in more than forty docudramas and films as the General, including on the History Channel and A&E Network. He portrays Custer in Little Big Horn battle re-enactments, as well as at Gettysburg, Appomattox, and other Civil War living history events. He is the author of the Custer biography “G.A. Custer to the Little Big Horn” and “Believe in the Bold: Custer and the Gettysburg Campaign.” He and wife Sandy live in the original Bacon-Custer house in Libbie and George’s hometown of Monroe, Michigan.

            Libbie Custer will be portrayed by Marla Matkin of Hill City, Kansas. A graduate of Fort Hays State University, she is a teacher with a longtime interest in history and theater. She has performed as Libbie to great acclaim in many places, including Little Big Horn National Historic Site, Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Fort Hays State University, Fort Riley, and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

            Mr. Alexander and Ms. Matkin are appearing through arrangements with friend and fellow historian, artist Jerry Thomas. The visit to Western Kansas will also include modeling for new historical paintings featuring the Custers. Mr. Alexander recently partnered with Jerry on the painting “Toward the Valley, “ which was unveiled during “Custer Days” in Monroe, Michigan in Oct. 2015. The painting, which will be presented at both events, commemorates the 140th Anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn coming up on June 25, 2016.

            Make your weekend complete by visiting the rest of the Western Vistas Historic Byway, your trail to more exciting history stories! Go to www.westernvistasbyway.com for more information!


Custer  Alexander Mrs Custer/Matkin

Steve Alexander as Brevet General George Armstrong  Custer Marla Matkin as Libbie Custer

Fort Wallace Museum Gifted German Family Memorabilia
For those who are familiar with Western history, the story of the German Family Massacre of 1874 is a singular tale of violence, tragedy and survival. There are few stories more gripping than what happened just a few miles west of the Wallace County line, when a band of marauding Southern Cheyenne attacked the family from Georgia, killing the mother, father, son and two daughters and carrying off Catherine, Sophia, Addie, and Julia, the youngest of which were 7 and 5. All four girls were rescued and lived to tell their tale. The only items kept from their ordeal were Sophia’s moccasins.
On Thursday, May 9, Arlene and Jack Jauken journeyed from their home in Peru, Nebraska to deliver a gift to the Fort Wallace Museum – Dozens of files of research on the German Family and the Southern Cheyenne, as well as several pieces of family memorabilia – including original family photos and the moccasin that her Grandmother Sophia kept from her time as an Indian captive.   Click here to read the complete news release!
Plan a visit to your Fort Wallace Museum this summer to learn more about this and other stories from Western Kansas history! 

Fort Wallace Memorial Association president Jayne Humphrey Pearce
accepts the incredible historical gifts from Arlene and Jack Jauken.

FWMA Receives Milford Becker Gift

The past year has been full of many blessings for the Fort Wallace Memorial Association, including gifts from Harrison Flats Township, the Les Frasier and Snick Harrison memorials and the Garvey Texas Foundation. 
In late 2012, the organization was informed that they had been included in the estate of late local resident Milford Becker. This gift currently totals $700,000 with the last of his estate still to be settled. This singularly amazing gift will impact the FWMA for many years to come.

The board and friends of the Association have been meeting and discussing the ways to best honor Milford and fulfill the responsibility of using this money in the most fitting way possible! Come join with our organization as we strive to make Wallace County a great place to live and to celebrate our history and culture!

A.E. Smith addition / Floris & Viola Weiser Collection
Click here to see pictures of the collection.

 Own a Piece of History
 Why a great artist like Jerry Thomas would choose to live in Kansas is a matter of love...not of money or fame, but of the history and stories of the region.  Thomas has spent untold hours painstakingly recreating famous moments from Kansas history and then using his wealth of talent to render those scenes in vivid color and extraordinary detail.  No touch is too small for his paintings as each stalk of native grass seemingly jumps out of the canvas.  And the subjects he depicts surround the time period when Fort Wallace was at its best. 
   The Fort Wallace Museum was recently given the unique opportunity to make and sell prints of two of Thomas’ greatest paintings.
   “Scouting the Trail” depicts two scouts overlooking Major Elliot’s column that is en route to the Medicine Lodge treaties. Thanks to these two scouts, Elliot’s column made it safely to their destination.
   “Get ‘Em Boys” shows Captain Barnitz leading the 7th Cavalry’s charge against Cheyenne warriors. This battle, which took place on June 26, 1867 near Fort Wallace, proved to the U.S. Army that the Indians were capable and imaginative fighters.
   If you would like to order one of these prints, send payment to the Fort Wallace Museum and tell us which of the prints you would like to receive.  Although “Get ‘Em Boys” will be ready for shipment by early August, we project that “Scouting the Trail” will be ready by early fall. Proceeds from “Scouting the Trail” will be split between the Ft. Wallace Museum and the JM and Marilyn Thies Youth Ranch while all proceeds from “Get ‘Em Boys” will directly benefit the museum.
  For more information, contact the museum using the informationa t the bottom of this page.
"Get 'Em Boys"
Image Dimensions: 22" x 12"
Outside Dimensions: 26" x 16"
Artist Print: $75.00
Artist Proof with Remarque: $125.00
"Scouting the Trail"
Image Dimensions: 36" x 11.5"
Outside Dimensions: 38.5" x 15"
Artist Print: $125.00
Artist Proof with Remarque: $175.00
(July 2006)

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Fort Wallace Museum
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