37 Years at Fort Laramie

Fort Laramie today
Fort Laramie, like many western forts, was often staffed with European immigrants. Many times these men were ill-equipped for army life in the west. But they were fast learners and on most occasions survived and many thrived as soldiers during the Indian wars. But maybe none so well or as long as Leodegar Schneider. Schneider spent the first 15 years of his life in Switzerland but by his 23ed birthday was in the United States Army.

Schneider fought in the Seminole wars in Florida and several other east coast Indian campaigns. In 1849 when Fort Laramie became a military post, after more than a decade in the army, Schneider along with the rest of his company was sent to the famous Wyoming fort. And he stayed, stayed at Fort Laramie for the next 37 years. The 37 years made him the longest serving soldier at Fort Laramie.

Schneider started as the post’s assistant librarian, later became the first sergeant, and ended as the ordinance sergeant, a highly sought after position. When Schneider came to the fort it was a handful of adobe buildings, it grew to the largest Indian wars fort in the west.  When he left, he along with the fort had seen it all.  He fought in battles along the Bozeman and tried to keep the peace on the Oregon and Mormon Trail. 

 He watched the beginning and end of the Indian wars in the west, the Great War between the states in the east, the passing of tens of thousands on the Oregon Trail. Schneider witnessed the signing of two of the most famous treaties of the west, the treaties of 1851 and 1868, both signed at Fort Laramie. He met mountain men lie Jim Bridger and saw the beginning and the end of the Pony Express. He watched bits of the pushing of the trans-continental railroad through southern Wyoming and  walked along tracks being built to the north. He watched progress, the taming of the west, millions of buffalo changed to cattle inside fences. If anyone ever witnessed the passing of the frontier it was Leodegar Schneider and his 37 years of service at Fort Laramie.

Not a life of novels and movies, but to this old history guy, pretty darned interesting.
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