Fort Montgomery (Eureka)

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Fort Montgomery in the town of Eureka, Kansas was built in summer 1861 by local citizens for protection against Indian attacks and Confederate guerrilla forces.[1]

An earlier structure also named Fort Montgomery had been built in Linn County, Kansas, west of Mound City. Both were named for free-state leader James Montgomery.

The Eureka fort was fairly solid, apparently being constructed of logs. Ports for guns were built into the walls and these could be covered. Surrounding the fort were breastworks of logs covered with dirt. A small cannon, issued by the federal government, was mounted outside the fort. The roof, however, leaked and the floor, while made of wooden planks, allowed animals and snakes inside.[2]

Fort Montgomery was manned by government scouts and the local militia. Militia commander Leander Bemis was in charge of the fort. The militia was outfitted with guns supplied by the Federal government. For a time Fort Montgomery served as the local school, after the schoolhouse burned.[3]

The militia manned the fort until 1868. That year regular troops occupied the building for a short time. After they left, the fort became the first newspaper office of The Eureka Herald, started on July 4, 1868. The editor, S. G. Mead, had to remodel the fort, which by then showed many signs of wear. He made other attempts to fix problems, but gave up what he saw as a hopeless battle. In May 1869 Fort Montgomery was demolished.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jenetta Farmer, "Fort Montgomery" (N.p.: 1956), p. 1 (from the Greenwood County Historical Society, Eureka, Kans.); William C. Pollard, Jr., "Forts and Military Posts in Kansas: 1854-1865" (Ph.D. dissertation, Faith Baptist College and Seminary, 1997), p. 59.
  2. ^ Nancy Beitz, "Historical Walking Tour of Eureka" (Eureka: Eureka Travel and Tourism Committee and the Greenwood County Historical Society, ca. 1990), p. 6; Farmer, pp. 1-2.
  3. ^ "Eureka's 'Ancient History' Reveals Faith and Industry of First Settlers," Greenwood County Clippings, Vol. 1, 1874-1958, Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka, Kans.), p. 209; Farmer, p. 2.
  4. ^ S. G. Mead, "Early Days of the Eureka Herald, Greenwood County's First Newspaper," unpublished manuscript, pp. 2-4 (from the Greenwood County Historical Society); Farmer, pp. 3-4; Beitz, letter to Pollard, October 6, 1992, pp. 1-2; untitled story, The Eureka Herald, May 2, 1869, p. 3.