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The original item was published from 10/10/2021 2:49:15 PM to 10/19/2021 10:45:01 AM.

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Rockpile Museum

Posted on: October 10, 2021

[ARCHIVED] The Historic Bozeman Trail: A New Journey

Dave McKee Bozeman Trail


Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

The Rockpile Museum is pleased to welcome Dave McKee to the museum on Tuesday, October 19th at 6:30 p.m. for a presentation on the history and future of the Bozeman Trail.  The Bozeman Trail was established in 1863 as a 535-mile “shortcut” from the Oregon Trail on the North Platte River in Wyoming to the gold fields near Virginia City, Montana Territory.  Increased civilian use prompted a campaign by Indian tribes against the incursion. In response the U.S. military established Forts Reno and Phil Kearny in Wyoming and C. F. Smith in Montana to protect travelers. Conflict escalated, resulting in what is commonly called “Red Cloud’s War” with numerous skirmishes and three major battles including the Fetterman battle in 1866 and the Wagon Box and Hayfield fights in 1867.  

Dave McKee will review the history of the Bozeman Trail between 1863 and 1868, highlighting prominent participants such as John Bozeman, Colonel Henry Carrington, Lieutenant William Judd Fetterman, Margaret Carrington, Francis Grummond Carrington, and John “Portugee” Philips, as well as Indian leaders including Red Cloud, High Backbone, American Horse, and Crazy Horse.

Today segments of the original wagon trail ruts, serve as the physical markers of this colorful and dynamic period of history.  The Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trail Association in partnership with Our Montana have begun a new journey to obtain formal listing of the Bozeman Trail as a National Historic Trail.  Dave will provide an overview of the process and update on this project.

This event is FREE and open to the public.  The presentation will also be livestreamed on the Rockpile Museum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.  

About Dave McKee:

Dave Mckee is president of the Fort Phil Kearny/Bozeman Trial Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, development, education, and promotion of the Bozeman Trail and associated historic sites including Fort Phil Kearny, Fetterman Battlefield, and Wagon Box Battlefield National Historic Landmarks. He currently serves as co-chairman of the Bozeman National Historic Trail project.

Dave received a master’s degree in anthropology with an emphasis in plains archaeology from the University of Wyoming. He recently completed a 32-year career with the U.S. Forest Service as an archaeologist, tribal liaison, and recreation program manager, working on the Medicine Bow, Black Hills, and Bighorn National Forests. Dave served as the Bighorn National Forest liaison to the National Park Service and American Indian representatives in completion of the Medicine Wheel /Medicine Mountain National Historic Landmark Nomination in 2011 and remains active as a consulting party for this sacred landscape. Dave and his wife Susan live in Sheridan, Wyoming.

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