This is a little article I was working on last year that I hope people will find interesting and relates to Colonel Alan Gardner's post military travels:-
In relation to Alan traveling to America with his sister Florence (the countess of Onslow) it seems that they traveled to Newport in Rhode Island as they were seen by a reporter called Cotram who was writing a travel journal for the Daily Bristol Times and Mirror, September 18th 1883.
“Quite a number of English people are here enjoying the beauties of this lovely place. Besides Monsignor Capel, I can call to mind the Earl and Countess of Onslow, Viscount and Viscountess Mandeville, Col. Alan Gardner of London....”
This would definitely explain his absence at his fathers funeral in November 1883.
Interestingly the reporter in the same article speaks of the trial of Frank James, brother of Jesse James of the infamous Western band of outlaws and its is somewhat strange to think of Alan walking around America during the time of Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
Further mention of Alan and Flo’s travels in America appeared in December of that year.
Surrey Advertiser and County Times. Saturday December 8th 1883
Journalist quotes from ‘The Land of Promise’ article in the ‘North West’ a New York Newspaper.
“...that territory and the number for September records the opening of the main line of the Northern Pacific Railroad, from Lake Superior to Portland, Oregon, and Puget Sound, the two ends being joined at a point in Mountains near the western approach to the tunnel piercing the main range of the Rocky Mountains. An idea of the scale on which this opening ceremony was carried out may be judged from the fact that European guests were provided with steamship tickets from Liverpool or Hamburg to New York Hotels and return, with entertainment at New York Hotels from the time of their arrival to the departure of the excursion train, all being the guests of the Company from the times of joining the party till their return to their homes, transportation, meals and sleeping –car accommodation being provided for them. The guests on the occasion included many notables from Germany and England, and among names locally known we may mention those of the Earl and Countess Onslow, Colonel Alan Gardner, Hon W. St John Brodrick M.P. and Lady Hilda Brodrick..”
The Northern Pacific Railway which at the time was owned by a consortium of "blind pool" investors devised by Henry Villard, but originally started by Jay Cooke. Cooke began building a transcontinental railroad route across the northern United States from Minnesota to the Pacific Coast in 1870. Crews built from both the eastern and western ends, progressing towards a yet undetermined meeting point somewhere in between. The two crews finally met near Independence Creek in Western Montana on August 22, 1883, which is near Gold Creek where gold was first discovered in Montana. At this point the track was connected, completing the transcontinental line; however, the "golden spike" completion ceremony would not occur until September 8, 1883. Four trains carried 300 guests from the east, including the Northern Pacific's president, Henry Villard Chairman of the NP's Executive Committee Frederick Billings and visiting dignitaries from the United States, England and Germany. A fifth train arrived from the west coast. The track which had been laid earlier was temporarily torn up to be relaid ceremoniously during the event. The final "golden spike" driven was not actually made of gold, but was the same spike that was driven to begin the construction of the Northern Pacific in Carlton,Minnesota thirteen years earlier. The spike was driven by Villard, former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, and Henry C. Davis, who had helped drive the first spike.
Henry Villard, with his wealth and connections, planned a dizzying celebration to mark the railroad's opening. Villard chartered four special trains ("Gold Spike Specials") to carry VIPs to Montana. The trains' passenger lists featured a glittering array of national and foreign dignitaries: the governors of all the states through which the railroad passed; ex-President Ulysses S. Grant; British Earls and Ladies; German professors, businessmen, and financiers; and others. Practically every city and town along the railroad threw celebrations in honor of the special guests.
When the trains reached Bismarck on September 3, they were met by none other than Sioux Chief Sitting Bull, whom the Secretary of State allowed off the reservation for the day. Sitting Bull had risen to almost mythic status since the Sioux's defeat, and the European dignitaries were fascinated. The great chief, accompanied by a translator, was to make a speech welcoming those aboard the Gold Spike Specials. Instead of reciting the speech he had been given, Sitting Bull, in his own language, said, "I hate you. I hate all the white people. You are thieves and liars. You have taken away our land and made us outcasts." Sitting Bull's translator hastily and dutifully spoke the words of the prepared speech.
Following the speeches, 200 Crow Indians did a war dance, which deeply impressed the dignitaries. Newspapers of the day reported that many of the passengers were "so intoxicated with the dance that they forgot they were playing the part of gentlemen." They threw blankets over their heads and danced down the aisles, chanting and screaming "in excellent imitation of their heathenish prototypes." Shortly afterward, stewards began serving beer from the Lehrkind Brewery in Bozeman, and the merrymaking continued long into the night.
Villard had ordered a “last spike pavilion” constructed at gold Creek, Montana, where gold was first discovered in the Territory thirty one years previously. Work crews removed a small section of track to give the appearence of working towards completion. On the afternoon of September the 8th, after more speeches and cheers, Villard drove a plain iron spike into the rails. The Northern Pacific was "officially" open. On September 11, 1883, the Northern Pacific's first transcontinental train arrived in Portland, Oregon, from far-off Minnesota.
I love the bit about Sitting Bulls speech and his interpreters
I've seen comparison amongst historians between the Battle of Little Bighorn (June 25th/26th 1876) and iSandlwana (22nd January 1879). With Alan meeting Chief Sitting Bull we have a direct link between the two battles. Though I can’t imagine Alan chanting and screaming "in excellent imitation of their heathenish prototypes."
I wonder if anyone form the 7th Cavalry met Ntshingwayo or even Cetshwayo?