Dear Wet/Dry Routes Chapter Member:
Our January meeting was a big success, with over 100 people in attendance to hear Bill Chalfant speak on the Battle of Coon Creek. If you enjoy having a guest speaker, or have a topic you would be interested in learning more about, please let one of the officers know.
The club voted to accept the marker finance committee's idea for a fun, money making project. Our club will sponsor a Chuckwagon BBQ meal consisting of BBQ Beef, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Scalloped Potatoes, Bread and Beverage. In addition to the meal we will have many added attractions including a Buckskinners camp, a Buffalo Soldier interpretation, blacksmith demonstration, stone quarrying demonstration, stone carving demonstration, horse drawn buggy rides, and musical entertainment The cost will be: Advance tickets are $5.00 adult, $2.50 for kids ages 5-12 an under 5 eat free. The day of the event adult tickets will be $6.00 and kids $3.00. The BBQ will be held at Camp Pawnee on Sunday, May 3. Volunteers are needed for setting up, serving, taking tickets, clean up, etc,.
Our marker committee chairman has reported to me that all markers along the Wet/Dry Routes have been placed. I would like to thank all those who have given so much of their time, talent, money and labor in completing our marker project. Because of your great support we were able to accomplish this big undertaking in less then 18 months. Our Chapter should be proud to know that future generations will be able to find where the trail went in our communities, thanks to our efforts.
A dedication for these markers has been planned for Friday, May 29th at 1:30 p.m. at the Sibley's Ridge marker located one mile east of the town of Garfield, Kansas. David Gaines, the director for the National Park Service Southwest Region, will be our guest speaker.
I recently had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Gaines about certification of sites along the Wet/Dry Routes. The National Park Service is using a different system with certification of trail sites. Instead of the government acquiring the site and owning it, the landowner retains ownership. The NPS would approve the site and then work with the landowner on management of the site, preservation and what kind of promotion, if any, would be used. Some landowners allow visitors at their certified sites only on special tours sponsored by local organizations while others allow visitors by appointment only. One of the biggest advantages of certification is that the state offers liability protection for landowners who allow visitors on their property, but do not get any monetary gain from it. If any landowners are interested in finding our more about having their sites certified, please contact me and I will see that you get a copy of the brochure published by the NPS on certification. If there is some interest you would also have an excellent opportunity to tall with David Gaines when he is here for the dedication on May 29. A good article about certification was printed in the March issue of Farm Journal.
Our summer business meeting will be held on Sunday July 19 at 1:00 p.m. some where in Larned, Kansas. After we conclude our business meeting, David Clapsaddle will talk about the five different routes that make up the Wet/Dry Routes of the Santa Fe Trail. Then we will go on a tour of the pre-1859 Dry Route. There will be about 5-6 stops on this tour. I will let you know the exact location of the meeting and further details as the date gets closer.
Dr. Leo Oliva has consented to speak at an upcoming meeting about Captain Francis X. Aubry and the Aubry Cut-off.
From time to time there has been some discussion, even at my Mother's supper table, as to which is the Wet Route an which is the Dry Route. Some feel that the Wet Routes the Northerly one, because that is the route they would take when it was Wet. Others feel that the Wet Route is the one nearer the river, because there was always a source of water. While doing some genealogy research I found something of interest in reference to this debate. In the Book, "History of Zion Lutheran Church, Offerle, Kansas" on page three it states, ". . .In the latter seventies of the 19th century the fertile plain in western Edwards County and in eastern Ford County, lying between the Old Santa Fe Trail, which ran along the Arkansas River, and the Santa Fe Dry Route, or Cut-off, was settled by homesteaders from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin and other older states. . . ." And the debate continues. Keep doing that research and maybe by the 21st century we will be able to convince ourselves which is which.
I would like to pass along a couple of compliments that our club has received. From Bill Chalfant, "you are leading one of the more active and vital chapters of the Santa Fe Trail." And from Dr. Leo Oliva, "Your marker project is a good cause. Your chapter has to be one of the best along the Santa Fe Trail." It means a lot to have men of their status speak so highly of our young organization. I hope we can continue our active role in preserving this bit of history in our communities.
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.