Fort Riley, Kansas

 

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Cultural Resource Program connects San Diego family to Fort Riley

By Kalene Lozick | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | August 28, 2017

     A couple from San Diego, California, stumbled across family photographs dating back to March 1919 connecting the Mallon family to a Fort Riley farmstead.

     The Cultural Resource Pro­gram of Fort Riley was contacted by the couple, Jennifer Mallon Muehlbach and husband, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Don Muehl­bach, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School at Camp Pendleton, to schedule a visit with Fiona Price on Fort Riley to see the farmstead Aug.16.

     Fiona Price, an archeologist, collections manager and Native American Coordinator for the CRP within the Environmental Division of the Directorate of Public Works said a homestead, farmstead or ranch is anything older than 50 years, in archaeol­ogy standards, and can be an ar­chaeological site.

      Fort Riley has 400 to 500 farmsteads on the installation, Price said. Public participation in this program is encouraged.

     “We really do enjoy helping people out because it is good for us to be able to assist people in looking into their genealogy es­pecially if it is connected to Fort Riley,” Price said.

     With the cross collaboration between the Muehlbachs, who had common ancestors to the couple who once lived on Fort Riley, Price and her team were able to discover archaeological site 14RY2123.

     They learned Fort Riley was home to three common ancestors to Jennifer. These three are Robert Curry Mallon, Capt. George H. Mallon and John Mallon.

     According to the Hall of Valor, George was a 1918 World War I Medal of Honor award recipient. He was born in Ogden, Kansas. To recognize George for his ser­vice in Company E, 132nd Infan­try and 33nd Division in the U.S. Army, Fort Riley named a street after him — Mallon Road — lo­cated before the Fort Riley Ogden Gate sign.

     Mallon Road leads the way to what would have been the farm­stead of John in 1909.

     The first of two lots con­tained 320 acres, featuring the school of the Lower Seven Mile and a one room school house, lo­cated in the north east section of the site. John also owned an 80 acre lot where the farmstead site would be Found.

     The site north of John’s farm­stead sat an 80-acre lot, belong­ing to Robert.

     Property data on John and Robert was gathered by survey plat maps ranging in date from 1857, 1879, 1909 and 1947.

     Before Jennifer's mother, Zelma Coy Mallon, died she wrote the names of individu­als present in a photo taken in March 1919. In addition to names, Zelma wrote notes about the homestead. One stat­ed Robert built the homestead for his wife Emma Louise Ste­phens Mallon in 1914.

     “My mom passed away five years ago, so I retired,” Jennifer said. “I started getting her pho­to albums and she has literally 100 photo albums filled with years of family photos. All of them are identifiable. I feel like I am here for my mother.”

     With the help of her mother and the notes she wrote, Jennifer said she was able to identify Emma Louise Stephens and Robert Curry as her great grandparents.

     The farmsteads of John and Robert Mallon were absorbed by Fort Riley during the expansion of the installation in 1947. With the expansion, a tank trail road was installed on John’s homestead.

     Even though the site experienced disturbance in the 1940s, Price and the Archaeological team from CRP found several artifacts from John Mallon’s farmstead, on the 80-acre lot.

     In order to gather artifacts from a site, the archaeologist completed 50 shovel tests. From the shovel tests “a total of 113 historic artifacts were collected … including ceramics, glass and metal,” according to the archaeological investigations within the research report.

     “I think these are the cooler items,” Price said. “A part of a dish, a base of a dish, a crock, an end of a spoon, a metal disk, belt buckle and buttons. All items are only pieces of the home goods used by the Mallon family.”

     If interested in viewing a farmstead that belonged to relatives, contact Price from CRP at fiona.k.price.civ@mail.mil. All relatives must have Fort Riley roots and must have some knowledge of where their ancestor lived on the installation.