What does Casper, Wyoming, have in common with Fort Collins, Colorado?

The two cities, located 222 miles apart on Interstate 25, share a unique history. They were both named after members of the Collins family.

Fort Collins was established in 1862, when soldiers from Fort Laramie in Wyoming were sent to protect travelers on the Overland Stage and Cherokee Trail. The Fort was originally named "Camp Collins" in honor of Lt. Colonel William Collins, the commander of the Ohio Calvary stationed at Fort Laramie.

Three years later, Collins' 20 year old son, Caspar, became a folk hero after being killed in the Battle of Platte Bridge.

According to legend, Caspar Collins had retreated from an army of Cheyenne, Lakota and Arapaho warriors as they advanced towards the Platte Bridge Station on July 26, 1865.

After being called a coward by his fellow soldiers, Collins road back into battle on a borrowed horse and was last seen brandishing a gun in each hand while puffing on a cigar with an arrow through his head.

To honor his bravery, the Platte Bridge Station was later named in his honor. However, the Army inadvertently misspelled his name, calling it Fort Casper. Years later, it became the name of the nearby mountain and town, which was established in 1888.

15 years after his son had died, William Collins passed away at his home in Ohio.

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