The P. T. Buckley Stereoview Collection
The next forty-nine lots, historically important stereoviews of Nebraska and the Black Hills, were originally collected by Stromsberg, Nebraska, businessman P. T. Buckley. As a young man, the Swedish native had ventured in 1875 to Camp Robinson in the Pine Ridge country of northwestern Nebraska where he worked for two years as an assistant to the post sutler. Those two years were among the most eventful in the post's history. Camp Robinson had been established in 1874 adjacent to the Red Cloud Agency, the government's principal administrative and supply center for the Sioux, which itself had been moved to its new home only the year before.
In 1876, just a month after Custer's disaster on the Little Big Horn, the Fifth Cavalry, guided by Buffalo Bill, had intercepted a large contingent of Northern Cheyenne, and after a skirmish at Warbonnet Creek (where Cody had distinguished himself) had chased them back to the Red Cloud Agency. It seems likely that Buckley would have met or at least encountered Buffalo Bill who was already becoming something of a legend. The Fifth Cavalry then joined General George Crook's command which pursued the Sioux, mostly futilely, culminating in the Army's famous "starvation march" to Deadwood in the nearby Black Hills of South Dakota. The men, running out of provisions, killed and ate many of their horses and mules.
A year later, Buckley would have had another chance to cross paths with destiny. In the spring of 1877, after a winter campaign of constant pressure by troops under Col. Nelson Miles, the great Oglala leader Crazy Horse surrendered his starving and demoralized people at Camp Robinson. In September, Crazy Horse was murdered, "trying to escape."
Two years at the heart of the Great Sioux War were apparently enough for Buckley who returned east to the Swedish farming community of Stromsberg. There he became a prominent stockman and banker. But alongside his memories he brought back this collection of stereocard photographs of some of the places and people who had figured in his adventure. He annotated most of them on the back in pencil, and with highly imaginative spelling. The collection was almost certainly acquired from his son by John Bratt, one of the region's biggest stockmen, and the father-in-law of Ed Goodman.
Most of the following stereoviews were taken in 1876. If "Camp" Robinson is labeled "Fort" Robinson, the stereoviews were published after January, 1878, when the Army redesignated the post. All of the cards exhibit minor rubbing and soiling from normal handling.