Chugg Water Journal (WY, 1849)

[Post updated August 17, 2011; thanks to Andrew Tucker for information about Fort Laramie’s Commanding Officer William Scott Ketchum]

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Fort Laramie, Wyoming; “office under the hill, but still within hearing of the Juvenile Infirmary, when the wind is favorable” (November 1849, Vol. 1, No. 4)

Volume and Issue Data:  October-December, 1849; “will appear occasionally, and sometimes oftener, if not sooner” (Oct. 1849, Vol. 1, No. 2)

Size and Format:  7.75 x 11.5 inches, two columns, with cursive writing and ink illustration with captions

Editor/Publisher:  “The Quartette”

Title Changes and Continuations:  None

General Description and Notes:

The editors describe the paper as “the largest paper printed at Fort Laramie.” .

According to Andrew Tucker (see bibliography below), William Scott Ketchum, one of the names mentioned in the Journal, was an officer of the 6th Infantry stationed at Fort Gibson and later Fort Laramie. He was the commander at Fort Laramie when the Journal was published.

In the October 1849 issue (Vol. 1, No. 2), a joke mentions Ketchum: “Why is the Commander of the Infantry Company at this Post a terror to evil-doers? ‘Cause he Ketch-um.”

Chugg Water Journal (WY, 1849)

Tucker reports that Ketchum was a West Point grad and served as an Army officer in the Second Seminole War, and had frontier duty at Fort Gibson and Fort Laramie. He went on to become a brigadier general by the end of the Civil War. After he retired, he was allegedly poisoned by Elizabeth Wharton, the widow of one his fellow officers. The trial afterward gained international attention. Wharton was apparently acquitted.

Information Sources:

Bibliography: Michael L. Tate, The Frontier Army in the Settlement of the West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001), pp. 264-265; thanks to Andrew Tucker, a relative of William Scott Ketchum, for the citation of the Tate book and the background information about Ketchum (via email exchanges with the HNP editor, August 16-17, 2011)

Links:  Michael L. Tate, The Frontier Army in the Settlement of the West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001)pp. 264-265; Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Locations:  Wyoming Department of Commerce, Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, Historical Research and Publications Unit, Cheyenne, WY (microfilmed)