Amanda Cabot: Fort Robinson – A Story of Reinvention

Ready for a trip to northwestern Nebraska’s beautiful Pine Ridge area?  I hope so, because today we’re going to visit Fort Robinson, a former army post that’s the poster child for reinvention.

It all started with the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 in which the government agreed to provide food and supplies, what some called annuities, to the Native American tribes who agreed to live on reservations.  In 1873 the government established the Red Cloud Indian Agency at what is now Fort Robinson to distribute those annuities to Red Cloud’s Ogalala Sioux.  Unfortunately, not everything went as smoothly as some might have expected.  When nontreaty bands of Indians threatened the agency, demanding supplies, shots broke out, resulting in several deaths, including that of the acting agent.  But it was the death of Lt. Levi Robinson near Fort Laramie on February 9, 1874 that had the greatest impact on the area, since when troops were sent to establish a tent camp to protect the agency, they honored the lieutenant by naming it Camp Robinson.

Two months later, the camp was moved a mile and a half away from the original site, and tents were replaced by the permanent log and adobe buildings of what is now called the “old post.”

Primary responsibilities of the soldiers stationed at Camp Robinson were protecting the Red Cloud Agency and keeping the peace during the Indian wars.  As you might guess, that proved difficult, and the camp’s history includes the death of Crazy Horse, who was mortally wounded in a scuffle when resisting imprisonment in 1877, and the Cheyenne Breakout of 1879, which resulted in the deaths of 64 Cheyenne and eleven soldiers.

Though the Red Cloud Agency was relocated to a Missouri River site in 1877, Camp Robinson remained an important part of the western military, and in 1878, its permanence was recognized by renaming it Fort Robinson.

More changes were coming.  When the railroad reached the fort in 1887, the army expanded the post, creating what was in essence a new post, complete with a much larger parade ground and additional housing, all needed because it had become the regimental headquarters for the Ninth Cavalry, a unit of African American soldiers. 

Within a short time, Fort Robinson had surpassed Fort Laramie as the most important military post in the area.

Times changed, and by WWI the fort was all but abandoned.  Abandoned, but not forgotten, because in 1919, it became the quartermaster remount depot, providing horses and mules to the army.  When the army replaced horses and mules with motorized vehicles, Fort Robinson was once again in limbo.

Time for more reinvention.  From 1933 through 1935, it became a regional headquarters for the Civilian Conservation Corps, and during WWII it was not only a site for K-9 training but – more importantly – a camp for 3,000 German POWs.  After WWII, the USDA turned it into a beef research station, and then in the 1950s it had its final reinvention, emerging as Fort Robinson State Park, a place where you can not only learn about history but where you can also spend a night or two in the same buildings where the army once lived.

What does all this have to do with my new release?  Very little.  A Borrowed Dream takes place in the Texas Hill Country, not Nebraska’s Pine Ridge.  Its characters have no connection to the military.  But like the fort itself, they’ve had to reinvent themselves.  Catherine’s life has been shattered by her mother’s death and the realization that the man she had hoped to marry was fickle, while Austin has had to flee Philadelphia, abandoning his life as a successful surgeon to protect his daughter.  What choice do they have but to create new lives?

I hope you enjoyed reading about Fort Robinson and hope it’s piqued your interest.  And, of course, I hope you’re intrigued by the premise of

There is no such thing as an impossible dream . . .

 Catherine Whitfield is sure that she will never again be able to trust anyone in the medical profession after the local doctor’s treatments killed her mother. Despite her loneliness and her broken heart, she carries bravely on as Cimarron Creek’s dutiful schoolteacher, resigned to a life where dreams rarely come true.

Austin Goddard is a newcomer to Cimarron Creek. Posing as a rancher, he fled to Texas to protect his daughter from a dangerous criminal. He’s managed to keep his past as a surgeon a secret. But when Catherine Whitfield captures his heart, he wonders how long he will be able to keep up the charade.

With a deft hand, Amanda Cabot teases out the strands of love, deception, and redemption in this charming tale of dreams deferred and hopes becoming reality.

I’m offering a signed copy of it to one commenter. 

US addresses only.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroads trilogy, A Stolen Heart, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Social Media Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble   |   Christian Book Distributors

Guest Blogger

49 Comments

  1. Thank you for the historical trip for Fort Robinson. HWR has taught me much more history than my schooling ever did.
    I am hoping for a copy of your book to learn even more since I am a native North Central Texan.

    1. Jerri — Isn’t it fun to learn things outside of school? One of the things I teach in writers’ workshops is that even when we’re writing fiction, our readers want to learn as well as be entertained.

  2. How very interesting. Thanks so much! There is always more to learn. Your book loos intriguing as well.

    1. One of the things I like most about Petticoats & Pistols is that I learn so much from the blog posts. I’m glad you enjoyed mine, Debra.

  3. Loved the history lesson and laughed when it had nothing to do with your book. I disabled with MS and I do not get to travel much or go on adventures. More the disabilty income than the disabilty itself these days. I’m home pretty much 24/7/365 so reading is my saving grace. I just started reading again in late November 2016 after decades of not reading. I’m on my 120th book! I think winning a giveaway is an awesome way to find an author to add to my go to list. Thank you for the opportunity.

    1. Stephanie — I’m sorry to hear about your MS but am glad that you’re finding adventures through reading. I can’t imagine a world without books!

  4. I didn’t know anything about Fort Robinson. Thanks for your educational post today.

    1. Janine — I first learned about Fort Robinson when I read Stephanie Grace Whitson’s Pine Ridge Portraits. They intrigued me so much that I added the fort to my must-visit list.

  5. Thanks for your post. A few years ago my husband and I spent some time in western Kansas near Dodge City and got to visit a few old military outposts like this one. Their stories are so fascinating.

    1. Did you find any surprises when you visited the forts, Carrie? I was VERY surprised when I visited Fort Laramie the first time and discovered there was no wooden stockade fence around it.

  6. Very interesting post. I like learning more about our history from the posts on P&P.

    1. Like you, Estella, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy P&P.

  7. This is a very interesting post and thanks for sharing it with us. Your book sounds like a fantastic read and I would love to read it.

    1. If you read A Borrowed Dream, I hope you’ll enjoy it. Even though I had the normal tear-your-hair-out moments when I was writing it, I do love the story and hope that readers do too.

  8. Amanda- I loved your blog and all the great history incorporated. My husband and I visited Wyoming last summer. On my bucket list and one of my many dreams is to visit Fort Laramie, we did not get to last year, but we have planned to go back this year especially to go see the Fort.
    I loved your book Summer Of Dreams, It was a very interesting and wonderful book and I loved the mystery Incorporated. I delivered the extra bookmarks you sent made to Various libraries. Thank you for such a wonderful blog and you have and amazing day.

    1. Tonya, I’m so glad you enjoyed Summer of Promise and the Fort Laramie setting and hope you have a chance to visit the fort this year. They’re having a big celebration of the signing of the treaty in late April, but from what I’ve read, there’ll be other events to commemorate it during the summer.

  9. I loved this wonderful history lesson today! I have learned more on the American West history from great authors such as yourself than I ever did in a classroom. Look forward to putting your books on my to be read list. Have a Great Day!!

    1. Glenda, what a lovely compliment to all the bloggers! From my perspective, the P&P posts are a great way to learn about history and much more fun than reading a dry history book.

  10. Welcome to P&P, Amanda……..We’re happy to have you visit. Your blog is fascinating. I never knew that about Fort Laramie. They sure went through a lot of reinvention. Your book blurb has hooked me. This sounds like the kind of books I love.

    Enjoy your stay with us and come back again soon!

    1. Thanks for the welcome, Linda. It’s always a pleasure to be a guest blogger here, because you have so many engaged viewers.

  11. Hi Amanda. I LOVE THIS! I have always wanted to go to Fort Robinson. It’s in Nebraska, my own state, but it is a BIG state and I’ve just never driven out there. 🙁

    I’ve read a few stories set during WWII with that fort teeming with German POWs.
    Interesting history and the fort is cool, like….wagon train rides and stage coach rides, maybe a cattle drive, all for tourists, you know, but still something I’d love to do. I’d just like to ride about ONE MILE in a wagon train and stage coach, just to experience it and bring more authenticity to my books.
    Great post. Thanks for this. Your book sounds wonderful, too.

    1. Mary — If you decide to venture west to Fort Robinson, let me know. Maybe we can meet there and share a stage coach ride.

  12. This is fascinating. I enjoy learning about these historical locales.

    1. Lainie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and the bits of history I included.

  13. Thanks for this interesting post about history and a special setting which I enjoyed greatly.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this glimpse into history, Anne.

  14. Wow, what a sad place, first for Lakotas, later on Germans, then for beef research?–and also where Crazy Horse had been killed (allegedly for resisting imprisonment) just a year after the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Fort Robinson is just south of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for Red Cloud’s and Crazy Horse’s Oglala Lakotas. (BTW, Pine Ridge, S.D., is the poorest county in the whole USA.)

    Fort Laramie isn’t all that far away either in Wyoming, southwest of Fort Robinson in northwest Nebraska. We visited Fort Robinson as part of our South Dakota tour since it’s closer to the Pine Ridge Reservation, and Fort Laramie as part of an Oregon Trail trip along with Scotts Bluff, Chimney Rock, and Courthouse Jail Rock beside the Platte River in Nebraska. There are wagon ruts that really made an impression on us too both in Nebraska (California Hill near Brule) and in Wyoming (the Guernsey Ruts to the west side of Fort Laramie). Lots of interesting historical things to see in that part of the country, that’s for sure.

    1. Like you, I found the wagon ruts impressive, Eliza. When you were doing your Oregon Trail trip, did you visit the Trails Museum in Caspar? The exhibits there give you a chance to experience a number of aspects of the westward journey including a stagecoach ride and a river crossing.

      1. No, we didn’t get a stagecoach ride. That sounds so neat. We had a full itinerary at the time but if we ever get back (it’s quite a haul by car from the Northeast!), we’ll definitely try to look it up. During the Great Oregon Trail Road Trip 🙂 we made a side journey north to the Little Bighorn and then down through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, hitting the rest of the Wyoming part of the Oregon Trail on the way back home, again making yet another side trip to see Sacajawea’s grave site on the Wind River Reservation. We also saw some of the Lewis and Clark Trail sites but hope to do that all at once some time. Some day. Maybe.

  15. Wonderful way to preserve history.

    Where I grew up in Delaware, several former military properties were turned into state parks.

    1. Denise, I agree with you. It’s encouraging to see that so many important sites have been turned into state or national parks and monuments rather than let that part of history be forgotten.

  16. Very interesting history! Looking forward to the book!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Becca.

  17. I love your books! I have not read this one yet, but can’t wait to! Thanks for the fun history in your post!

    1. Katie — Of course I’m absolutely delighted that you’ve enjoyed my books. I hope you like this one too.

  18. I love this history lesson! Thank you so much for sharing. Another thing I love, having the opportunity to know Austin and Catherine better. Hope you have a great day, Amanda!

    1. I am having a good day, Melanie, thanks to all the wonderful comments on my post. It’s a real pleasure having such engaged readers.

  19. Interesting thanks for sharing.

    1. Kim, I’m glad you found it interesting.

  20. Welcome to P&P Amanda! I’ve read only one of your stories, and did it ever stick with me! It was One Little Word about the carousel carver. I enjoyed it so much that it is on my “keeper shelf.” A Borrowed Dream sounds wonderful. Thanks for an interesting post on Fort Robinson. Another book that is a keeper for me (although not a romance) is the Contract Surgeon by Dan O’Brien and it is about Crazy Horse and the Army surgeon who took care of him there at Fort Robinson. (Just and FYI :-)) All the best, and come back and visit us again at P&P!

  21. We loved visiting Ft. Robinson and would love to go back again since we only had part of a day to tour. We did take the horse drawn wagon tour around the grounds. We have also toured Ft. Laramie and were also surprised to learn most of the Western forts were not walled even though Hollywood shows them with walls.

    Love the book cover.

  22. Thank you so much for the interesting post on Fort Robinson. We always look for historic sites to visit on our trips and will definitely add this to the list when we visit Nebraska again. We visited Fort Davis in Texas a few years ago and found it most interesting. I was surprised how spread out it was and Fort Robinson appears to be even more extensive. We have also been to Fort Yellowstone several times which is the National Park’s Headquarters. It consists of rather substantial buildings and is a major part of the historic town at Mammoth Springs. The Norris Soldier Station in another part of the park is a log building more in line with what we think of when we talk about historic forts. These forts are not what we think of when we think of the old western forts. I don’t think any of them had stockade walls around them for protection and even though some of the early buildings may have been rudimentary, the permanent buildings were clabbered sided frame, brick, and stone.
    A Borrowed Dream sounds like it touches on issues that many people had to deal with in the late 1800’s West as well as today. It is hard to reinvent oneself but sometimes necessary. I look forward to seeing how Catherine and Austin deal with the difficulties in their lives and how they overcome them.

  23. Oh, this sounds like a lovely book. thanks for the post and chance to win a copy of your book.

  24. I really enjoyed your post. What an interesting story. I hope one day to visit. I too have learned more history in reading books and in a more interesting style then school. I’d love to read your book. Thank you for the opportunity.
    Carol Luciano

  25. I enjoyed reading about Fort Robinson and I look forward to reading A Borrowed Dream. Amanda, thank you for sharing.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. This sounds excellent! Would love to win!

  27. Great history lesson!Thanks for sharing. Thank you for the opportunity to win. Would love to read your books.Thanks again Amanda

  28. A Borrowed Dream sounds Wonderful.Have a good week. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  29. Hi! Thank you for your history lesson on Fort Robinson. I lived 35 miles from there for about 10 years so I’ve driven thru it many times. I also grew up in Wyoming an hour south of Fort Laramie and visited there many times. Your book sounds interesting to me. I love checking out new to me authors.

Comments are closed.

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015