The Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail will conduct its fall meeting on November 7th at the Parish Hall in Spearville, Kansas. The business meeting is scheduled for 2:00 followed by the program at 2:45. Presenting the program will be Ron Parks, Director of the Kaw Museum at Council Grove. Mr. Parks will speak on The Kaws and the Santa Fe Trail. The public is invited to attend.
During the business meeting, we will be discussing our continuation as an official chapter of the Santa Fe Trail. During the Santa Fe Trail Symposium held recently in La Junta, Colorado, the constitution was amended to require all chapter members to also hold membership in the Santa Fe Trail. We encourage your attention to discuss options in regard to this amendment.
Chapter Happenings 1993
Officers elected for 1993 were:
President, Lon Palmer, Hoisington, Kansas
Vice President, Louis Van Meter, Burdett, Kansas
Secretary-Treasurer, Mildon & Ida K. Yeager, Larned, Kansas
Appointed Officers who agreed to serve in 1993 were:
Clara Goodrich, Historian, Larned, Kansas
Carl Immenschuh, Publicity, Larned, Kansas
David Clapsaddle, Program Director, Larned, Kansas
Santa Fe Trail Days
The Chapter participated in three separate events related to Santa Fe Trail Days conducted at Larned on May 29-30, 1993. A float depicting the trail marking project designed and constructed by Mildon Yeager received a nice reception in the May 29 parade as did the pageant titled "No Man's Land" on the same day. The theme of the pageant drawn from Marian Russell's Land of Enchantment depicted a typical camp scene on the Santa Fe Trail during the 1850's. Some fifty people participated in the production. On the 30th, the Second Annual Picnic was held at Camp Pawnee. Historical demonstrations included horse shoeing by Darrel Maddy, carpentry by Mildon Yeager, blacksmith by Carl Dilley, black powder shooting by Zacharias Bones and Roy (Rooster) Connelly, and stone carving by Bob Rein. The Chapter raffled off a stone post carved with the name of the winner by Bob Rein. The lucky winner was Margaret Furbeck of Abilene. Rusti Gardner presented an exciting account of the oldest profession in the West; and David Clapsaddle portrayed George Bent in a first person historic interpretation. The Chapter owes a big "thank you" to Willis Warner who provided non-stop hayrack rides behind his matched team of Percherons. Profit from the beefalo dinner totaled in the access of $1300.
Ten hard working people gathered at the 4-H Barn in Larned on August 28th to prepare ten markers for installation on the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road. These markers will be placed at obscure sites removed from public roadside but which never-the-less contain wagon ruts. These ten markers will complement the twelve previously placed near public roadside.
Several of the limestone post markers placed on the Dry Route were new posts quarried from a pasture near Munger, Kansas. That particular strata of limestone is rather soft and thus the posts suffered severe damage during the severe weather of last winter. Three of these posts have been replaced at:
(1) Larned Cemetery
(2) Pawnee Fork Crossing on the Larned State Hospital grounds
(3) Dinner Station south of Offerle Ks.
Other posts will have to be replaced at Rock Hollow and Big Cow Creek Crossing.
Santa Fe Trail Tours
Several Chapter members participated in the Fort Riley/Fort Larned Tour sponsored by Barton County Community College in April 1993. The tour followed the road from Fort Riley which became the eastern leg of the Santa Fe Trail when the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division reached Junction City in 1866. This road was the route followed by Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock in his 1867 expedition to Fort Larned and beyond to the Cheyenne /Sioux village thirty-five miles west of Fort Larned. The tour participants concluded the trip with a visit to this village site.
Chapter members also participated in the September Tour to La Junta, Colorado where they enjoyed the Santa Fe Trail Symposium. En route, the tour paused at the site of the Sand Creek Massacre near the little town of Chivington, Colorado. Highlighting the tour was the Chapter being presented The Award of Merit by the Santa Fe Trail in recognition of marking the Santa Fe Trail and the Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road.
These tours are conducted on a regular basis by David and Alice Clapsaddle through the auspices of Barton County Community College. The next tour, scheduled for April 16-17, 1994, will visit Fort Wallace and the Battle of Beecher's Island site. Interested persons may contact Elaine Simmons, Coordinator of Seminars, Barton County Community College, Great Bend, Kansas.
At the suggestion of Tim Burghart, chapter member from Offerle, Kansas officers of the chapter are making a serious attempt to hold the quarterly meetings at different locations throughout Pawnee, Edwards, and Ford counties. At this date, meetings have been conducted at Larned, Kinsley, Offerle, Lewis and Dodge City. If you would like a meeting to be conducted in your community, contact President Lon Palmer or any of the officers.
Santa Fe Trail Membership
Enclosed with this mailing is an application for membership in the Santa Fe Trail. Costs are $10.00 for individual and $15.00 for family. These memberships provide the opportunity to support the work in all five states in which the Trail is represented. Of course, all Kansans know that more than half the trail ran through our state. The biggest benefit, however, is the subscription for Wagon Tracks which comes with each membership. This quarterly publication contains a treasure of information about both historic happenings, and present day events related to the Trail. As indicated elsewhere, the Chapter does not require all members to belong to this national organization, and perhaps, it never will; but Wagon Tracks alone is worth the investment.
Second Annual Wet/Dry Routes Tour
By the date this mailing arrives at your home, the Second Annual Wet/Dry Routes Tour will be history. The First Annual Tour accommodating eighty people, followed the Wet Route. The Second Annual Tour will follow the Dry Route. Thanks to the Larned Conference and Tourism Committee which furnished the refreshments for registration and Barton County Community College which leases buses to the Chapter, we are looking forward to another educational and fun filled day on October 9. Our thanks go to the volunteers who prepared and served the lunch at Offerle, Kansas.
This is our first attempt at a newsletter. As it takes shape, maybe we can formalize the publication, even give it a name. If you would like to see the newsletter continued, say a positive word to Ida Yeager whose word processing skills made the publication possible.
Wet/Dry Routes Chapter Brochure
The Chapter has received a promise of $1,000 from the Larned Conference & Tourism Committee to print brochures concerning the fifty-eight historic locations as marked in 1991-1993. The basic text has been completed; and presently, directions to each site complete with odometer readings are being compiled. Such a brochure will allow trail enthusiastic to follow each of the five routes of the Santa Fe between present day Larned and the Soldiers Home (Old Fort Dodge). Contained in the text will be information with regard to public access to private lands. The landowners have been particularly cooperative, and we want to protect their property. That is one of the main reasons that the annual tours are conducted. At such times we can gain access to private property.
The traveling display which contains commentary and photographs of each of the fifty-eight historic sites marked by the Chapter has received a positive response at its many showings during the past year. The display has been exhibited at Burdett, Larned, Great Bend, Hoisington, Lewis, Lyons, Stafford, St. Johns, Offerle, Spearville, Kinsley, and Dodge City. More recently, the display was exhibited at the Santa Fe Trail Symposium in La Junta, Colorado. Chapter members Bob Rein and Mildon Yeager deserve a round of applause for their fine work in this project.
Did You Know?
During its fifty nine year tenure, what is now commonly called the Santa Fe Trail was generally known as The Road to Santa Fe or the Santa Fe Road. Such was in keeping with the language of the 19th century in which an unimproved route was called a road. In the South, an unimproved route was called a trace, a graphic description of terrain impacted by the traffic of vehicles and animals, not unlike the ruts still visible in all five states traversed by The Road to Santa Fe. On the other land, an improved route in the past century was called a highway, so called for the soil and rock being removed from the drainage ditches on both sides of the road and layered on top of the roadbed, thus elevating its height.
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