Six miles beyond Cottonwood Crossing was a water stop identified by Capt. Randolph Marcy in 1859 as: "Water Holes--Water generally; no wood." This location, in later days of the Santa Fe Trail, was commonly called Cottonwood Hole. Here, Frank Laloge established a trading ranche referred to as French Frank's. Laloge, an 1857 immigrant from France, met Peter Martin on the voyage to America. Both men arrived in Kansas in 1859 where Martin found employment some where along the Santa Fe Trail. Laloge journeyed to Colorado in search of gold. Unsuccessful, he returned to Kansas where he was employed at a Santa Fe Trail trading ranche.
In 1861, Laloge established the Cottonwood Hole Ranche. In a short time, Martin joined his old friend. Martin reportedly stayed at the ranche, while Laloge traveled west on Indian trading expeditions, or east to secure trading goods. In January 1863, Laloge received the patent for a quarter section of land at Cottonwood Hole. In the same year, he brought his bride, Mary Hallotte Laloge, to live at the ranche.
Two years later, Satanta and a band of Kiowas arrived at the ranche in a threatening mood. Laloge stood his ground threatening to blow the Kiowas asunder with a keg of powder. The bluff worked, and Satanta's band departed. However, Laloge and Martin, viewing discretion as the better part of valor, sold the ranche and moved to a French settlement in the Cedar Creek area of Marion and Chase Counties.
The new owner of the ranche was George F. Russell. How long he operated the ranche is unknown. The last record of his presence at Cottonwood Hole was in 1866 when he paid $25 for a dram license fee.
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.