Thanksgiving at Fort Yellowstone
A letter from Private Edwin Kelsey to his neice in California.
Riverside Station, Dec. 3, 1898.
Left here for the post the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It had snowed hard the day and night before and everything was covered with several inches of the "beautiful". I think that I've never seen anything look as beautiful as did the trees, most which are "Jack Pines", the same as that one in the yard at home. With their covering of snow they assumed all manner grotesque shapes, some of them so lifelike that it required no very severe strain of the imagination to believe that they were really alive and that one was in Heaven and that they were angels, or in Hell and that they were imps. I made 26 miles the first day, staying all night at Norris Station. The next morning it was 22 degrees below zero, but I pulled out for the Post, which I had reached about two p.m. after a cold hard ride of 20 miles. It is not much sport riding when the snow is so deep that your horse has to walk all the time. Stayed at the Post for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a beauty. The cook more than threw himself. Had turkey, roast pork, sweet spuds, cranberry sauce, oyster stew, chocolate, three kinds of cake, pie, pickles, nuts, and apples- how's that for soldiers? There is something about this life in the wilderness that fascinates me. I saddle my beast, and go on long rides through the forest where everything is so quiet that one can almost hear the solitude.
Love to all the family and Mable,
The Fort Yellowstone Historic District preserves the Army's years of jurisdiction over the nationsal park, 1886-1918. Kelsey went on to be editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.