History

After 150 years, the selected adventures of my frontiersman great-grandpa are in print from University of Oklahoma Press: Bluecoat and Pioneer: The Recollections of John Benton Hart, 1864-1868. Foe of the Confederates and friend of the Crow Indians, JBH was something of a hero and something of a scamp, with his own lively angle on [...]

After 150 years, a new witness to some celebrated Civil War and frontier events steps forward. In the 1920s, my great-grandfather John Benton Hart dictated memories of fighting Confederates in Missouri in 1864 and Indians in Wyoming in 1865, followed by adventures along the ill-starred Bozeman Trail to Montana. “Johnny’s” lively accounts amplify a sparse record, sometimes [...]

In Johnny’s hoofprints

I’m headed to Wyoming for a week in July to trace the movements of my ancestor, cavalryman and general hell-raiser John Benton Hart, in 1865-68. He left a rich memoir of his experiences at the end of the Civil War and thereafter on the frontier. My latest article extracted from this lode appeared this spring [...]

150 years ago, the Civil War was winding down, the struggle between emigrants and Indians on the Rocky Mountain frontier was ramping up, and an ancestor of mine, John Benton Hart (right, with his brother Hugh), was in the thick of it all. Late in life the man they called “Johnny” dictated vivid memories of [...]