Timeline Tuesday: Christmas at Fort Robinson, 1882

 Fort Robinson Christmas party. RG1517-85-1

 

Fort Robinson provides the following holiday story of devotion and courage. It can be found in A Frontier Army Christmas, a new book published by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Martin J. Weber, an old soldier, remembered: “December 1882 then a corporal in Troop H, Fifth Cavalry, I was ordered to report to the quartermaster at Fort Sidney, the nearest railroad point, to get the Christmas goods for the Fort. A driver and a six mule team were detailed for the purpose.” Weber carried out his orders and headed back to Fort Robinson. “The weather had turned cold and frost began to fly through the air indicating a storm. The next morning the storm broke in all its fury, a regular blizzard raging. We had to head into the storm. We made Camp Clarke where the Sidney-Black Hills Trail crossed the North Platte River. “The bridge tender and his wife advised us to stay until the storm passed. As much as we disliked to leave the snug quarters and hot meals, we bid them goodbye and headed into the storm. “We got to the Running Water stage station the night of the 23rd. Here we had hay for mules and horses and a warm place to cook our supper. How good that hot coffee tasted. It gave us new life and courage for the last twenty miles of our journey. “The stage had broken the trail to the top of Breakneck Hill; the storm had passed, the fort only five miles away. We got safely down the Breakneck, crossed White Clay Creek, and broke trail across the valley, arriving at the fort on the 24th. “When I passed the officers’ quarters, the kiddies were all out running up and down the walks. When they saw me, they began to shout, ‘The Christmas wagon has come!’ Hearing them the officers and men came out. They could hardly believe it until the teamster drove his six weary mules up and we began to unload the Christmas goods. Even the officers were willing to help. “So old Santa arrived, and there was a Merry Christmas after all had given up hope of seeing either. I was snow blind and had to wear dark glasses for some time after that. One year later I was promoted to first sergeant of Troop H.”

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers

Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers

No Father’s Day for Nebraska in 1915

No Father’s Day for Nebraska in 1915

Sewing the Flag

Sewing the Flag

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.