Fort Coon
Edwards County, Kansas

     West of Kinsley, Kansas was a place where the original and later Dry Routes of the Santa Fe Trail crossed Big Coon Creek. Just to the southwest of the road across from where the Mongomery place once stood was the crossing. It can still be seen at this location today. In the photo below you are looking to the southwest from near the farm yard, the crossings are in the line of trees that are in the foreground. About one quarter of a mile southwest of the crossing is where a place called Fort Coon was located. Fort Coon was on the south side of the far set of trees that are on the left side in the photo.

Fort Coon Area
Fort Coon and Big Coon Creek Crossing

     At this crossing the Original Dry Route of the Santa Fe Trail and the Later Dry Route crossed Big Coon Creek. The Original Dry Route came from the east from a place called Forks in the Santa Fe Road southwest of Larned, Kansas about three miles, over the "dry ridge" running across the northwest corner of the Hillside Cemetery and down to the crossing. The Later Dry Route came from the north and crossed the county road just to the west of the farm yard to the northeast of the crossing. Ruts can be seen in the field to the west of the farm yard and in the Hillside Cemetery proving the direction that the two routes came from. In the front row of trees several cutdowns for the crossings can be seen in the creek bank at this location.

     After leaving the crossing both Dry Routes went to the southwest towards the town of Offerle, Kansas. Before reaching Offerle the two routes split. The Original Dry Route went to the north of Offerle to near Dodge City and then to The Caches. The Later Dry Route went to the south of Offerle going to a point about one mile to the east of Fort Dodge, at this point it joined up with the Wet Route as it was coming down the Arkansas River from the east.

Fort Coon Kansas Area

     "On the night of September first 1869, I was coming from Fort Larned with mail and dispatches when I met a mule team and government wagon loaded with wood, going to Big Coon creek, forty miles east of Fort Dodge, as there was a small sod fort located there, garrisoned with a sergeant and ten men. These few men could hold this place against twenty times their number as it was all earth and sod, with a heavy clay roof, and port-holes all around, and they could kill off the Indians about as fast as they would come up as long as their ammunition held out. But they were not safe outside a minute. They had been depending on buffalo chips for fuel, as there was no other fuel available, and as soon as the men would attempt to go out to gather buffalo chips, the Indians lying in little ravines of which there was a number close by, would let a shower of arrows or bullets into them. The reason why the men with the wagon whom I have mentioned were going to Big Coon Creek or Fort Coon as we called it, until a wagon train came by, and if they would not wait for a wagon train, by all means to wait until it got good and dark, as the Indians are inclined to be suspicious at night time, and not so apt to attack as in the daytime.The men, whose names were Jimmy Goodman, Co. B, Eleventh United States Cavalry, Hartman and Tolen, Company F, Third United Stated Infantry, and Jack O'Donald, Company A, Third United Stated Infantry, imagined I was over-coutious, and started back the afternoon of September fourth, 1868."
     "I, after parting with them, continued on towards Fort Dodge, where I arrived just before daylight, the morning of September second."
Source:
Dodge City the Cowboy Capital
Robert M. Wright, Page 108.

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