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Fort Riley, Kansas - Page 3

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Post Headquarters TodayLower Parade Field – For many years people have reported seeing a lone rider who gallops madly across the field in the morning, only to disappear as quickly as he appeared.


Main Post -- In this old building, people have often seen the ghostly figure of an old nurse.


NCO Club - Ghosts are said to haunt the doors of this club. An MP reported that a ghostly force jerked the door he was guarding open; the door was locked.


No. 1 Stable – For years soldiers on night duty have reported seeing a man in old-fashioned clothing ride through the stable and then disappear. Years later, when work was being done to the stable, the skeletons of horse and rider were found in an old ravine.


Post Cemetery -- In the summer of 1855, a woman named Cornelia Armistead died of the cholera epidemic that was raging through the fort. Cornelia was the second wife of Major Lewis A. Armistead of the Sixth United States Infantry Regiment. As the cholera epidemic had already begun by July, 1855, Armistead feared an outbreak among his troops and left Fort Riley, heading southwest. However, after traveling only nine miles, the disease took hold among his men and the unit was forced stop. In the meantime, the epidemic was raging through Fort Riley, leaving in its wake as many as 125 men, women and children dead. On the very day that Major Armistead returned to the fort, his wife had died. A few years later, when the Civil War broke out, Armistead was killed in 1863. Since his death, Armistead has often been seen kneeling at his wife's grave. Upset and weeping, his ghostly presence is wearing a dark blue uniform and clearly wishes to be left alone, if approached.

Quarters 124 – This house is reportedly haunted by a woman who drowned herself in a well on the fort grounds in the 1860’s. Over the years, residents have reported hearing loud noises during the night such as someone dragging a wooden box up and down the stairs. At one point it was so bad that a priest was called in to do an exorcism. At first, the ceremony was successful, but apparently the ghost returned several years later. However, nothing has been heard from the ghost recently.

Trolley Station -- In July of 1855 cholera was diagnosed at the fort and by the end of August, most of the Fort was dead. A woman named Susan Fox lived with her step-father in a small frame building across the creek from the trolley station. Engaged to be married soon, she was home alone for several days when her father was away and her fiancée in the nearby town of Pawnee City caring for the sick. 


Contracting the horrible disease, she died alone in her home on August 30. Her finance discovered her body after he returned to the fort and she was buried in her wedding dress in a small grave near the railway bridge to the trolley station.


After her death, the residents of the house described many strange occurrences. Her fiancée was quoted as saying at the time "It was a difficult passage for her, and Susan came back to her old home several times demanding to be let in."




Residents often reported hearing strange noises and shrieks. On another occasion, a maid ironing in front of a window was so frightened seeing Susan staring in at her that she threw the iron through the window.

The Post Commander, so irritated by the complaints and disturbances paid (out of Fort funds) for a priest from Junction City to perform an exorcism. Afterward they razed the building to ensure Susan's hauntings would stop. But, still she is seen on many parts of the Fort, and especially around the trolley station, looking for something, or someone she lost.


These stories are but a fraction of the many haunting tales of Fort Riley. Each year the Historical and Archaeological Society of Fort Riley provides and Ghost Tour that tells the many tales of this historic, and apparently, extremely haunted post. Books are also available at the Fort Riley Museum that gives the details of these many apparitions.


© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated February, 2014.


Fort Riley Trolly Station Today

Trolley Station Today, Kathy Weiser, October, 2006


Also See:


Forts of the American West

Haunted Forts & Battle Grounds

List of Old West Forts


Fort Riley Barracks in the 1920s

Fort Riley Barracks in the 1920s, courtesy of

Betty Daniel Gudat of San Antonio, Texas


Inside the Fort Riley Barracks - 1920s

Inside Fort Riley Barracks in the 1920s, courtesy

 of Betty Daniel Gudat of San Antonio, Texas


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