AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum
And just a few more...
Gee Bennie, how could you forget the camp followers? Bootleggers, Ladies of the Evening, and gamblers.
In doing some of my fort research, it was interesting to find some of the references that I did-including ones that had some "establishments" following particular regiments from fort to fort. While I knew that saloons, brothels, and other establishments grew up near posts and were most often the basis for frontier towns-(Fort Hays was moved to be farther away from what became Hays City) but I hadn't known that some were rather permanently transient.
There were also a number of Black miners-and of course mountain men like Beckworth.
A couple of pieces worthy of further research-are the little things I pick up here and there about the families of non-coms and even enlisted men who came West. Cemeteries bear mute testimony to the hard lives of frontier families, but a little studied topic are those post families who were Black. Another were the mail order brides of some soldiers.
Some men who left the service stayed on the post as civilians-working in various capacities, and at least in later years-many stayed in or near post communities. Then there are the Black towns of the West-like Blackdom, NM and McNary, Az. McNary and Randolph were "company" towns. McNary was settled by lumber workers transferred from McNary, La. while Randolph was was a farm-labor contract town.
There is a wealth of information to be discovered, rediscovered and shared.