Hays, Fort

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HAYS, FORT (1867), one of a system of military posts established in Kansas to support the government's campaign against Plains Indians. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan for a time made his headquarters at Fort Hays, as did Gen. George A. Custer in 1867–1869. Hays City, a railroad town nearby, looms large in western mythology. There, in 1869, frontier marshal James Butler ("Wild Bill") Hickok maintained order with his revolvers. The following year, he killed three soldiers in an altercation and fled to escape execution by Sheridan. As late as 1874, residents fought a street battle with black soldiers from the fort, in which six of the latter were killed.


Oliva, Leo E. Fort Hays, Frontier Army Post, 1865–1889. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1980.

Paul I.Wellman/a. r.

See alsoArmy Posts ; Cow Towns ; Military Service and Minorities: African Americans .