Walking West with Robert Campbell

Mile 568- Fort Riley, Kansas (Mod­ern Day)

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Fort Riley
Cir­ca 1866

On the first day of Jan­u­ary 1826 Robert’s par­ty reached what is now Fort Riley, Kansas. When they arrived at the junc­tion of the Repub­li­can and Smoky Hill rivers, there was no white set­tle­ments. This would have been in the area of the Pawnee nation’s territory.

Fort Riley began its life near­ly 30 years after Robert’s par­ty passed through. Camp Cen­ter, as it was first called, was estab­lished by Cap­tain Robert Chilton, 1st Dra­goons. Camp Cen­ter was so named because the sur­vey­ors believed it was close to the geo­graph­ic cen­ter of the Unit­ed States. How­ev­er, on June 27, 1853 Camp Cen­ter was renamed Fort Riley, in hon­or of Major Gen­er­al Ben­nett C. Riley. The mil­i­tary units sta­tioned at Fort Riley were respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing trails and mail trains that were head­ing fur­ther West.