Nebraskaland April 2023

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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36 Nebraskaland • April 2023 ere it not for happenstance, we might know little about Lt. Gabriel Field. When John "Jack" Rathjen uncovered a portion of his headstone while plowing a crop fi eld in 1954, it led to the exhumation of six graves, including Field's, north of where Fort Atkinson, the fi rst U.S. military fort in what was to become Nebraska, had once stood. In the years that followed, historians, both professionals and amateurs, searched through military and genealogical records trying to answer the obvious question: Who was Gabriel Field? They uncovered many details about the life and military career of Field, the soldier who helped build Fort Atkinson and met his untimely death there in 1823 that, were it not for a farmer's plow, might remain footnotes in history. On April 16, the 200th anniversary of his death, Field will return to Fort Atkinson, where his remains will be reburied in the Monument to the Deceased, an event that will fulfi ll the wishes of the man who found his headstone. The Soldier Gabriel Field was born near Louisville, Kentucky, in 1794 or 1795, according to research by Gayle Carlson, an archeologist By Eric Fowler W A Soldier Returns to Lt. Gabriel Field died at Fort Atkinson in 1823. Nebraska History archeologists identifi ed his remains and commissioned a facial reconstruction based on cranial structure. HISTORY NEBRASKA

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