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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Military - Wars - Mexican War

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Alexander W. Doniphan

Alexander W. Doniphan
Date: Between 1845 and 1847
This portrait engraving of Alexander W. Doniphan was copied from Doniphan's Expedition by John Taylor Hughes. Doniphan was a Colonel of the First regiment Missouri volunteers and a Liberty, Missouri, lawyer. Doniphan County, Kansas, and the town of Doniphan were named for Alexander W. Doniphan.


Bennett C. Riley

Bennett C. Riley
Date: 1880s
This photograph shows a portrait of Bennett Riley that was probably commissioned by his family in the 1880s. Riley died June 9, 1853. The portrait has resided at the U.S. Cavalry Museum at Fort Riley, Kansas, since about 1903. Bennett Riley, after whom Fort Riley was named, had a long and prestigious career in the U. S. military. Born in Virginia in 1787, he entered the army in 1813. In 1829 he commanded the first military escort on the Santa Fe Trail. In that same year, he succeeded Colonel Henry Leavenworth as commander of Fort Leavenworth. In 1847 he became a brigadier general. He also served during the Mexican War and, in 1848, he served as the last territorial governor of California, where he helped create their state constitution.


James McBride Gaston collection

James McBride Gaston collection
Creator: Gaston, James M. B. (James McBride), 1824-1889
Date: 1847 - 1848
Diary of James McBride Gaston and his experience traveling the Santa Fe Trail during the Mexican War. Born on March 22, 1824 in Randolph County, Illinois to William Gaston, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth Couch, Gaston came from a line of soldiers. His father, from Kentucky, served in the War of 1812, and his grandfather William Gaston, Sr. of South Carolina served in the Revolutionary War. James himself enlisted with the 1st Illinois Infantry Regiment, Co. C in the spring of 1847 and made the march via the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico. He returned to Illinois in the fall of 1848. In July 1852, Gaston married Mary Margaret Storment, daughter of John Storment and Margaret Kell, in Marion County, Illinois. When civil war broke out, he re-enlisted, serving in Co. G, 22nd Illinois Infantry Regiment. He received a gunshot wound in November 1861 at the Battle of Belmont (Missouri), but continued to serve for three years, until discharged with a disability in 1864. He held the rank of corporal in both wars. Mary died in 1866, two months after the birth of their fourth child, only one of whom lived to maturity (Margaret Elizabeth Gaston, who died in 1898). In 1867, James married again, to Mrs. Nancy Jane Hill Creel, who died in 1891. James Gaston died on February 27, 1889 and was buried with both wives in Marion County, Illinois.


Kearney, Stephen Watts

Kearney, Stephen Watts
Portrait of Stephen Watts Kearney


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